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I am about to embark on 'Dog Photography' having previously done mainly landscapes and wildlife. I want to work in peoples' own homes with portable lighting. I have purchased a Lastolite softbox and a black/white vinyl backdrop. I have a Sony α900 camera and mainly use a Zeiss 24 - 70 mm lens. My flash is a Sony HLV-F36AM, with a remote speedlight trigger (PT series) which I bought on eBay. But it doesn't appear to be strong enough, as I have to have a shutter speed of about 1/200, ISO 400 and f/5.6 on the black background. I have tried using the Manfrotto Spectra LED 500S on the opposite side to the softbox which helps a bit but it's all hit and miss especially as dogs move!

Can you tell me how powerful/what type of flash unit would best suit my needs? I didn't really want the expense of another Sony if possible, as my project may not take off enough to pay for itself. I looked at a Nissin on Youtube which looked good but having read lots of your forums I'm not sure now. What do you think?

  • The higher intensity of light is going to help, but I don't necessarily think flash is going to make it any easier than constant lighting because of the dog moving. I reckon the key is getting the dog to sit still :) It's easy with puppy photography, make the puppy run around a lot to make it tired, then there will be a point where it starts to sit still for a time before it goes to sleep :) – laurencemadill Feb 28 '17 at 14:21
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    We generally avoid answering questions like "what's the best _____?", since that's both highly opinion-based and tends to change as new products come to market or older ones are no longer made. It sounds like your key question is about how much power is needed in your situation, and how to find a flash that matches that, right? – mattdm Feb 28 '17 at 14:40
  • Possible duplicate of How many EV will a softbox knock down off your flash? – mattdm Feb 28 '17 at 14:42
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If a speedlight isn't enough, chances are good you'll have to move up to more expensive, bigger flashes, which in turn may require bigger, sturdier support gear and modifiers. Most folks would typically recommend a studio strobe, and if you're on a budget and in the United States, one good option are the Paul C. Buff lights, such as the Alien Bees or Einsteins. Another option is to get cheap Chinese-manufactured strobes off eBay/Amazon whatever, but the quality and light output of these varies.

Another option would be to look at the Godox "bare bulb" battery-powered Witstro flashes. These are rebranded under a number of names, such as Adorama's Flashpoint Streaklight and Flashpoint eVOLV. They're roughly the equivalent of ganging two or three speedlights together, and they have bare bulbs, which spread out the light in a pattern that's similar to a studio strobe, and which can fill modifiers like softboxes better. The upcoming AD200 (aka the Flashpoint eVOLV at Adorama) is the same size as a speedlight.

Also, both the AD360II and the AD200 have built-in receivers that can be used with an X1T-S transmitter to enable HSS and TTL from a Sony camera with a multi-interface hotshoe. You may be able to get it to work with an α900 with an ADP-AMA hotshoe adapter.

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