First studio portraits using the Westcott Spiderlite TD5 system

7 02 2011

I got to use my new Westcott Spiderlite TD5 2-light kit system for the first time last night when I photographed my friend Karen for her website and business promotion. She owns Karen Wyatt Skin Care in Burke, Virginia. (See how pretty her skin is? You could have skin that nice, too—book an appointment with her now!) Although I usually use strobes or my Nikon Speedlight setups in my studio, I became an instant fan of these “constant” what-you-see-is-what-you-get cool lights. I can’t wait to experiment with them more!

The TD5 system uses five fluorescent bulbs (in each light) to provide daylight balanced light, but without the intense heat that my old Lowell Tota-lights would produce (which reminds me—I should sell those things since I never use them!). My main light had a 24×32 shallow softbox and the other softbox (used as a hair light in most of the shots) was a stripbank measuring 12×36. My only complaint (and it is a small one) was that Westcott didn’t include any instructions on assembly. The one sheet of paper included showed us how to screw in the lightbulbs. Duh. We figured it out despite the lack of direction—smart women that we are!

Scott Kelby, my favorite Photoshop guru and an all around genuinely nice guy, highly recommended them after seeing wedding and portrait photographer Monte Zucker use them at a seminar. (A Washington, D.C. native, Zucker died of pancreatic cancer in 2007 at his home in Florida. He was 77).

I met Scott Kelby way back when he was teaching his wonderful $99 day-long workshops, right before he founded NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals). Scott is the editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, editor-in-chief of Layers Magazine, training director and instructor for the Adobe Photoshop Seminar Tour, President National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), CEO of Kelby Media Group, and the author of a slew of bestselling technology books (many of which I own!). I attended the very first Photoshop World Conference & Expo in Orlando with my friends Cammie and Paula (can’t remember the year, though). I’ve been a member of NAPP ever since and try to attend at least one day-long workshop each year. Check out Scott’s website/blog here. I’m a die-hard Scott Kelby fan!

Check out the seminar schedule for the Photoshop CS5 for Photographers Tour with Matt Klowkowski here, the Photoshop CS5 Power User Tour with Dave Cross here, and the Photoshop CS5 From Focused to Finished Tour with Ben Wilmore here. If you have the opportunity to attend any one of these workshops, it will be the best $99 you’ve ever spent! NAPP members pay just $79 for the day-long seminars. If you’re serious about photography and Photoshop, consider joining NAPP. You’ll receive Photoshop User Magazine, which is $9.99 per issue if you buy it at a bookstore—the $99 annual membership includes that subscription and many other discounts—including savings on hardware, software and NAPP’s excellent DVD training series.

In the two videos below, Scott talks about the first time he used the lights, how they work, and he also announces the holiday light kit special from Westcott.

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