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Simple colorful portraits

With NANlite Pavotube Led lights!

Remember those narcissistic self-portraits I did a while ago with NANlite’s Pavotube led lights? Well, I thought it might be interesting to share a behind the scenes video and my thoughts on these lights, without me in front of the camera!

The comfort of your home, the bad weather the joy of having all my gear nearby, was part of the reasons why I started these "Tiny home sessions". Tiny home because I have a tiny apartment, and we are using a small portion of it as a home studio. We do not have the headroom to fully consider this as a studio. The ceiling is pretty low, and the space itself doesn’t allow us to use huge light stands. I did use a huge one for this session and it was a bad idea. No fancy backdrop, I am using a black fabric that is hanging from a microphone stand. I will only use one lens, a 50mm lens on a full-frame body, and you don’t need to know which brand. And instead of using flashes, we are going to use continuous lights… 2 Pavotube 30c led lights and for some shots the Forza500 to be exact. You do not need that much power for this type of work so keep in mind that you can use a Forza 200 for example and you will do fine. The idea is to make quality portraits, to play with colors, and all of this at a budget that is fairly low. Now I am telling you this because people often complain online saying that they cannot create professional work without breaking the bank. Now although this setup ain’t cheap (again the Forza500 can be replaced by a less powerful light from the Forza family) it is less expensive than the combo Fujifilm GFX100 and Broncolor lights and modifiers I usually carry with me. Since I’ve talked about this light in the past already, I am not going to read the manual and give you all the specs of these lights. But to summarize it all, I was interested in the length of these lights, they are 117cm long have a CRI of 95 and a TLCI of 95, adjustable color temperature from 6500-2700K as well as a full spectrum RGB and pre-programmed special lighting effects, that will only be useful for video, but more on that later. Most of the videos online will talk about their use in video productions, which I understand, I am currently using them for all my youtube videos now and I sometimes add like right now the Forza 500 and the parabolic 120. I even used it in recent video productions, another video is currently in the works, that we will be filming next week, I cannot wait to share these videos with you! But right now let’s concentrate on photography. How do they perform? Does the internal battery hold up? Does it have enough power? Will I use them in future works? Let’s find out. The 1st setup is simple, 2 Pavotube led lights, and both are placed behind my model and set at 2700k.

Maeva K. (Toulouse I France) 50mm f1.2 1/100sec f/1.2 ISO 200

We then went a bit further, turned the light in the back yellow, and placed one at the front with a blue tint. Since these lights are opposite to each other they work well together. Then I decided to go back to 2x 2700k light in the back but with a brighter light at the front at 5600k.

Maeva K. (Toulouse I France) 50mm f1.2 1/80sec f/1.2 ISO 200

To spice things up I Added the Forza light with the fresnel and barn doors for more control, I added a colored blue gel on it and decided to create these shapes around eyes and face. Of course, you may have recognized Maeva who I’ve worked with multiple times before. She’s an ex-Gymnast so we had to make these bendy portraits too.

Maeva K. (Toulouse I France) 50mm f1.2 1/80sec f/1.2 ISO 200

Maeva K. (Toulouse I France) 50mm f1.2 1/80sec f/1.2 ISO 200

With a little bit of photoshop, we did a now-classic shot in my work, I hung my camera from the ceiling and we went back to lighting Maeva with only the 2 Pavotube led lights.

Maeva K. (Toulouse I France) 50mm f1.2 1/80sec f/1.2 ISO 200

I recently purchased the Nanlite RC-C1 to have a quick access to the main features of my lights when they are out of reach. If I had to complain this would be the main one… I wish there was an app to control these lights, one that is reliable, and that will let you pilot all your NANlite fixtures from a far precisely. I heard that one was on the way, so let’s wait and see, I hope I will be able to test that soon. This is more a video on the Pavotube so the only thing I will say about the Forza 500 is that I wish it had longer cables… Because although I was able to do almost whatever I wanted at home, it’s a whole other story on set. Plus we are in 2021, I love bi-color portraits, make it Bi-color? Please or should I get my hands on the just-released 300B? The batteries of the Pavotube led lights to let me shoot anything photography all day. If I need a single source I can pair them, link them with a cable and sync them. One of the 2 will be set as the master light and control both of them. NANlite has this great accessory the Double PavoTube Double Bank that allows you to mount both lights side by side. You also have barn doors and egg crates or grids, exactly like the ones you put on your softboxes for more control over the spread, and the beam of your light which is always useful. I prefer the single Tube holders when I use them separately, because they give me more freedom, and I can place them at the angle I want in seconds. If you follow me on Instagram well, you probably have guessed it. I love these, or else I wouldn’t use them as much, and show them in my IG stories. I think they work great for portraits, and these long tubes even without diffusion give a pleasing soft light. I am currently trying multiple effects, combinations with flashes, different accessories, for my portrait work, and since I haven’t posted much of these on the blog, I will do so shortly. I hope I will also be able to try these outdoors and on location, someone whispers in my ears that this should happen soon, so stay tuned. And of course, I will share my thoughts on the good old debate flash/strobes versus continuous lights! But more on that in a few weeks. All the links to the gear mentioned are down below. Stay safe!


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