Urban Off-Camera Lighting Kit for Street Portraits


For the upcoming San Francisco Street Photography Workshop, We'll be working with two Bay Area models for urban portraiture. As we explore the plethora of nooks and crannies in the city, we're going to need some off-camera lighting to create the effects we want.

The rig I'll be using folds down to 19.3 inches. It weighs just a few pounds, yet can be extended to over 6 feet high. The entire lighting rig fits in a simple drawstring bag that's less than 2 feet long that I can throw over my shoulder.


This setup will work with any camera that has a hot shoe. So regardless of what brand workshop attendees have with them, they can take advantage of off-camera flash. And the best part is, the entire kit cost less than $239, and that includes the aluminum folding stand, adjustable swivel head, radio triggers, and the flash. Here's the parts list.

The Manfrotto NanoPole Stand is a real improvement over my traditional light stands, especially for outdoor work. The center pole can be detached from the feet providing a boom for lighting or audio. The adjustable "leveling leg" makes it easy to keep the stand vertical on uneven surfaces. And the sandbag hook allows you to add weight to the base of the stand for more stabilization.


I'm also impressed with the Snap Tilthead with Shoe Mount that attaches to the stand quickly and accommodates just about any type of speedlight. There's no need for hot shoe adapters since that's built in, and the spring-loaded smart-tilting mechanism prevents your flash from crashing downward on to the pole.

To have a complete lighting setup that collapses to less than 2 feet of space and weighs a mere 4 pounds is perfect for city shooting. I even have room to pack a Rogue FlashBender Kit to help me shape the light. These modifiers work much better outdoors than umbrellas and soft boxes that are top heavy and can make your stand tip over.

I'll share some portraits after the workshop. It's going to be a blast using these tools in San Francisco.

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The Manfrotto NanoPole Stand has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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