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-   -   Cool-flo or strobes? (

HughesInNC Mar 23, 2009 8:17 AM

We are currently setup with 2 Alien Bees (800's) and some old Britek lights that we use as kicker lights. I ordered a series of DVDs from Photo Vision last week and finally had time this past weekend to watch them.

They (Ed Pierce, specifically) go "behind the scenes" and show you professional photographers on location or in studio shooting weddings, portraits, maternity, glamour, etc. etc. One of the things I've noticed is that a LOT of the photographers use cool-flo lights and a reflector instead of strobes. The work is impressive. One area where I can see the use of cool-flo is better than strobes is new born photography. But, at the same time, the work of Frank Doorhof is very impressive, and he uses strobes.

So, it got me thinking, who uses strobes and who uses strobes, and why specifically? Why did you select cool-flo over strobes?

NHL Mar 23, 2009 9:06 AM

-> It's all in the power... ;)

With today high-ISO dSLR you can get away with "cool-flo", but if you need higher contrast, or outdoor shoots, strobes are still the way to go.

"Cool-flo" is also much simpler to use :cool:

wsandman1 Apr 1, 2009 6:38 AM

Most "high-end" photographersuse strobes because of the amount of light they can produce. Even to the point of "overpowering the sun".The advent of dSLRs with output at ISO 800 nearly as clean as ISO 100 film, the use of cool lighting is starting to increase even in the pro ranks. It is a very complicated and time consuming process to set up and meter strobe lighting effectively. It also requires that you know how to meter, manually white balance; plusyou don't really know what your photo will look like until the photo is taken. You are also limited by the recycling speed of the strobe soaction shots aresomewhat limited.Cool or any constant lighting is very easy because your camera can be set to the color temperature of the lights. You also see the scene exactly as it will be captured.

Storbe Pros - more powerful most likely the ultimate destination as you grow

Stobe Cons - expensive, high learning curve, need other equipment besides lights (meters)also need assistants to keep the shoot from taking too much time.

lomitamike Jun 1, 2009 9:27 PM

Interesting topic.
I have been considering a strobe setup for quite a while. Getting started for your first strobe setup is quite a bit to figure out. The cool-flo lighting on the other hand seems to make things a lot easier (fewer parts). It also seems to be quite a bit cheaper. Something new to look into.

benjikan Jul 14, 2009 11:56 AM

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You are talking about two totally different technologies here. Cool Flo cannot achieve the output power that a 1600 watt second strobe can provide for competing with the sun in close proximity and giving you 2 stops more on your subject to make the background really rich and saturated. Flash gives you a lot of creative opportunities that cool flow cannot accomplish. I often mix cool flow and flash for some pretty outrageous results. I once mixed HMI Cinema lights, Flash, Tungsten and Cool Flo for a shoot and was very pleased with the outcome.

Ben :-)

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