Photographer Paul Gero is no stranger to working under tight deadlines. In the 1980s, he worked for The Chicago Tribune and The Arizona Republic, covering anything from U.S. politics and sports to civil unrest in Haiti. For the past 15 years, though, he’s been shooting weddings and portraits, transitioning his photojournalist eye toward families and newlyweds from his Southern California-based studio, using his acute reflexes to capture fleeting moments that relatives will look back on for generations.
So, at WPPI 2018 in Las Vegas, when he asked to test out a new camera, he was confident that, even within the one-hour time limit he was given, he could create quality portraits for his portfolio.
He and model Carolin Feigs ventured out to the Las Vegas strip for a nighttime shoot. To alleviate some of the stress that can come with using an unfamiliar camera, Gero also brought his assistant, Enrique Malfavon, and his reliable LED lighting kit, consisting of several Lustra L50s from PRL Lighting.
The strip can get crowded with tourists and security, so Gero wanted to be sure to bring equipment that wouldn’t be a hassle to work with. While he knew a strobe would produce a “very prominent popping of flash” that might attract unwanted attention, Gero says, he didn’t want to sacrifice light quality. With the attachable L50 softbox, he had a lighting solution that was a bit more discreet and that met his standards for color accuracy and illumination. With it weighing just 15 ounces, the Lustra L50 is both compact and lightweight, making it an ideal fit for “working lean and mean and doing these kinds of guerrilla shoots,” Gero says.
The Lustra L50 also provided the versatility that Gero needed for an unpredictable environment like the strip. He initially added several Lustra L50 LED lights to his kit to help light his video shoots, but, pleasantly surprised with the intensity of the light, Gero began using it more and more in his everyday photography.
Accessories like the softbox or filters make the Lustra L50 LED work as a main or complementary light source, or as a key, fill or backlight. It also allows for the option to use a 7.2V NPF L-series style battery that can last up to three hours, so Gero wasn’t worried about battery life while he was out and about. “I wanted to shoot as much as possible with as much variety as possible given the time restraint,” Gero explains. “Being able to dial power up or down made the L50 the perfect choice for this assignment.”
While this former photojournalist is well versed with available light, Gero was grateful for the additional light source; it produced images that were “more refined, with better color and skin tone,” he says. “The light from the Lustra L50 just blended so well with the ambient light in the scene.” It never hurts to have a piece of gear that requires far less testing or tweaking than a strobe in this environment, Gero notes. “The Lustra L50’s constant light is a great solution for still shots and video and would be a great addition to any photographers’ toolkit.”