I’ve been a professional photographer for over 10 years now and my passion is portraiture! The coolest thing about shooting portraits with off camera lighting is having the ability to shape the light and shadows on your subject and their surroundings. It doesn’t matter if you are on location or in the studio. A few tips for creating the look you want is to learn how to control the ambient light in the scene or to simply overpower it or blend the strobes with the ambient. There are 2 ways you can do this. First, you can use a variable ND filter, basically adjustable sunglasses for your camera. You can darken the ambient light down to a point where you are able to set your camera to ISO 100-200 and get a shutter speed of 1/250 sec, which for the X-T2 and X-Pro2, is the flash sync speed. This allows you to shoot with wide apertures to get the bokeh you may want to make your subject pop from the background.
The second thing you can do is to use High Speed Sync (HSS). A lot of FujiFilm users have been annoyed by, and rightly so, the inability to shoot reliably in HSS, if at all. Well, I’m here to tell you that there are now a few ways you can shoot in HSS with FujiFilm cameras. The way I currently achieve this is by using Godox flashes and strobes like the TT600 and AD-600BM with a Cactus V6II and an X1TN on top set to center pin mode on the X1T. The Cactus should be setup to FujiFilm camera system, Nikon flash system and Force HSS settings. Once you do this you need to have the Cactus trigger learn the Fuji HSS algorithm. Set your camera to 1/1000 sec and take a photo when prompted to do so by the Cactus V6II. Now you turn on force HSS by pressing the command dial in on the V6II. You should now be shooting in HSS. The last thing I do is set the flash or strobe to HSS setting by pressing and holding the HSS button until the HSS icon appears. Now you can shoot at 1/8000 sec on your FujiFilm with no issues. The Cactus interprets the HSS signal, sends it through the hotshoe to the X1 trigger, which sends it to the AD-600 or other Godox strobes. Some of you may not want to stack triggers on your camera, so in that case simply buy 2 V6II triggers and use a mini phone cable to trigger the strobes. One on camera, one on the flash.
Third option – Godox, aka Flashpoint in the USA, is releasing a new FujiFilm dedicated hotshoe flash called the TT350, which is currently available for preorder in Adorama.com. Soon after that release they will make an X1TF for FujiFilm. So, why buy the TT350? I personally don’t like having a flash on top of my camera, but it will be the first official offering for Fuji users that can do HSS with Godox strobes natively and it can be used as a commander to control flash power remotely from the camera. I will not be using the flash on camera as a flash, but rather as a Commander to shoot in HSS. I highly recommend that you update your firmware on all of your flashes and triggers to ensure maximum compatibility.
What light modifiers do I use and recommend with the Godox AD-600? My absolute favorite light modifier is the 35″ Westcott Zeppelin with Bowens mount. My second favorite light modifier, and it’s slowly turning into my favorite surpassing the Westcott Zeppelin, is the Fotodiox 60″ Octabox with eggcrate fabric grid. At $99, you can’t beat the quality and soft light that this double baffle large light source provides.
There’s another light modifier that is significantly cheaper than he Zeppelin and it’s called a Rice Bowl. It has an adjustable arm like the Westcott to focus or spread the light around and is a great alternative to the Zeppelin if you are trying to save some of your hard earned cash.
The last 4 modifiers I use on a regular basis are the Westcott 50″ and 28″ Apollo series softboxes, 60″ Softlighter II and grid spots of varying degrees.
Thats all for now, I hope this helps someone to finally achieve their dream of HSS with FujiFilm and below are some recent photos on location and in the studio using his gear.
Bushido Photo, LLC