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StrobePack, The DIY Portrait Studio You Can Wear!

By Anthony Thurston on July 24th 2013

We all know that your camera’s built in flash is a terrible light source, and that a single on-camera flash is the way to go. But what if I told you that you could build your own mobile lighting studio, which you wear on your back – curious?

Photographer Mark Kaplan recently wrote about his “StrobePack” in a great post over on DIYPhotography. “The basic goal of the StrobePack, is to provide high-quality lighting at night and in low-light conditions, although it can be used in daylight, it really works best with low ambient light.” Mark says.


The rig was originally designed for use Dragon*Con in Atlanta in 2011, and started out as a Military ALICE pack frame with light stands duct taped to the unit. The next year in September, a custom cross beam was fabricated which allowed for the strobes to be mounted securely to the ALICE pack. The unit currently holds 2 SB-600s with 24” umbrellas as modifiers, triggered by the Phottix Odin System.

The Odins solved the last big issue in the project, which was remote power control, since once the pack is on my back, I can no longer reach the strobes.

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All I have to say is that this is pretty awesome. I would never be caught dead wearing a rig like that, but I think the concept is neat. Though I can see it being an issue in places with larger crowds where the size of the rig could be a problem. That said, the results look great! To learn more about the rig head on over to DIYPhotography and read the full post.


[via DIY Photography]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Great article .

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  2. Basit Zargar

    Nice article.

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  3. Runolfur Gudbjornsson

    This article made me think of Eric Schwabel :) and his awesome Human Light Suit project at the Burning man festival back In 2010.

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  4. Jacob delaRosa

    @Mark Kaplan Have you ever tried shooting on axis with the light directly above your head? You might be able to save some space that way. Seen some photographers shooting burning man that way.

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  5. SohailNazish

    Love to try it but bit worry about size

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  6. Mark Kaplan

    Thanks for writing this up!

    Size is definitely an issue in more crowded spaces, I’m working with my LaJudice Rigs on a new version which will hopefully solve the biggest problem, the crossbar, our solution adds some mechanical complexity, but should yield even better light control.

    The StrobePack is really meant for large events, such a conventions or outdoor festivals, but I’ve successfully wielded it in smaller venues, depending on how heavy the attendance is.

    One thing it is not, is “subtle”, which is why I decided to take the opposite approach and make it as visible (and audible) as possible. The result, is a change in the observer/subject dynamics, rarely do I have a ohoto of someone without a giant smile on their face.

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