Speedlights on location BTS video

Aug 24, 2015 | Flash, Fujifilm X, Location | 12 comments

Here is a short behind the scenes video showing how I used a few Speedlights to make a commercial shot for Riders Bristol of their one-off Harley Davidson 48 custom. This bike is now offered for sale should you wish to put some magic in your life.

Speedlights: 4x Cactus RF60 and 1x Nikon SB900 with a Cactus V6 tranceiver
Camera: Fuji X-E2 with 18-55mm zoom
Project coordinator: Len Martin
Transport: Clevedon Motorcycles

More information after the jump…

I used a Honl petrol green gel to light the background

I used Honl ⅛ grids on two of the flashes to create pools of light on the bike. Flash set to B was used to light up the crankcase of the bike as the matt black paint on the Harley just soaks up the light.

The flash brackets are these Gemini brackets. I usually use them with brollies. There are also three of these brackets.

No metering was used. I set the background to be about 2 stops under and added the background light (D) to taste. That worked out at full power. I then switched that off and lit the rear left of the bike and the front tank areas. I found both flashes looked best on the same setting so I assigned them to ‘A’ at ⅛ power.  The front wheel needed some life so I added another low flash and assigned that to C.

Once it was lit I made this video and too the shot. I also fired off some close ups for my client for advertising purposes.

Please feel free to comment below.


  1. Sean Gannon

    Love BTS videos. No matter what the subject, you can relate this to any type of photography. Always lighting the background is often overlooked by photographers. Nice to see how easy a video can be produced as well. Lovely work Damien!

    • Damien

      Hi Sean,

      Thanks for your kind words. My background as a cameraman at the BBC was a good grounding for iPhone BTS shoots :)

      Cheers, Damien.

  2. Tom S.

    A question/comment/observation: It looks like the Cactus trigger is a bit large and makes it difficult to adjust/access both the shutter speed dial and the shutter itself. Did you find this to be the case?

    • Damien

      Hi Tom,

      The Cactus is quite large and yes on some Fuji cameras with the flat top design the shutter speed needs putting in T mode or the X sync position first then put on the trigger. With T mode the shutter speed is controlled on a wheel (you choose which one). On the X-T1 the Cactus does not obstruct the shutter speed dial. The good news is the Cactus works perfectly on all Fuji cameras without any faff. Cheers, Damien.

  3. Prasenta

    The green gel to light the background is brilliant idea..
    I just learned about photography and how you make background light getting new knowledge to me.
    Thank you for sharing with us…

    • Damien

      Thank you Prasenta,

      Stay inspired.


  4. Carlos Castille

    Damien, those stuff you do with speedlights just blows my mind……………brilliant! Can not wait to see what you do next. Love your work!

    • Damien

      Thanks Carlos :) Stay inspired!

  5. Scott Varga

    Damien, Thank you so much for your blog and videos. I learn so much here!

    • Damien

      Thanks Scott,

      I hope you enjoy our new format. Kind regards, Damien. :)

  6. Colin Tedder

    You make it look so easy! But that just shows your skill.

    • Damien

      Haha, it is easy Colin. Just get each Speedlight to do a specific task and then adjust it to taste.

      Stay inspired and thanks for the kind words, Damien.


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