What is next?

Many people are looking for the next big thing to revolutionise lighting as we know it. But is it sometimes wiser to consider what you already have?

Alexandra Izeboud

Like me, you come to Lighting Rumors to get the latest scoop about flashes, triggers and more. Most of the people are always looking for the next big thing that will revolutionize lighting as we currently know it. However, maybe it is wise to sometimes consider what you already have, and not what you need to buy next.

At 23 years of age I do not consider myself old, but in the last few years I have seen how lighting has changed. How easy it has become to try it, but how difficult it still is to master it. I started with a SB-800 and a PC-PC cable, just to bring the flash off-camera. No light meter, no monoblocs, no fuss. I became a strobist, and it felt cool.

Model: Alexandra Izeboud. Picture by Robbert Dijkstra
Model: Alexandra Izeboud. Picture by Robbert Dijkstra

For me the evolution began with a cheap 433 MHz trigger and CLS. Neither of them was reliable; to use them you required a lot of patience, especially if you wanted to try difficult things. Don’t get me wrong: I was very happy with them, but they would always fail on me at the most important moments, making me seem very unprofessional. The SU-4 mode on the SB-800 saved me several times.

2.4 GHz triggers made things easier. Triggers weren’t a problem any more; they just worked, no matter the distance. But it wasn’t enough. Photographers tend to be lazy people, and during a shoot you do not have the time to walk to your flash, change to power, and try again. We need TTL, we need remote control. We are currently at this point, TTL triggers popping up everywhere, made by companies that never have been heard before of.

The only this that remains constant in this story is the flash itself. Flashes and triggers are getting smarter, but the quality of light is still up to the photographer. You control the position, the direction and decide the light modifier. In my opinion this became harder than it used to be. These days the number of people that are trying to be a photographer are immense, and the need to differentiate yourself amongst the rest has become even more important. For most photographers their creativity and ingenuity is what differentiates them. Smarter flashes and triggers can assist you in your creative process, making things easier, but they do not make the photo for you.

What is the next big thing? Get creative and tell me. I will see what kind of creative project I will think of next.

Robbert Dijkstra

Robbert Dijkstra started making pictures when he was a little boy. Since 2007, he has been balancing his life between being a professional photographer and a student of mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Delft. View his work at picturelab.nl.