Recently I did this photoshoot and decided to add another light as an experiment. Now usually I shoot with 4 strobes, all of which are AB400′s. I added a 5th light which had a great brand name, very heavy and should have been able to handle the job.
Unfortunately it did not. With my shooting style I shoot quite rapidly. I allow the models to free pose in order to avoid stiff poses. I shoot frames whether I think the pose is good or not, because sometimes, once you look at it on screen it really WAS a good shot. Why miss it? But the point is, when I really see a model HIT the right pose, something that looks so super sexy and just ‘right’, I snap very rapidly: a slight shift of the hips, flick of the eyes, raise of the chin can make the difference between a ‘keeper’ and a shot that pops out.
In this case however, the rapid recycling times of the AB400 were able to keep up with my shooting style, but the extra ‘quality brand name’ light could not. In fact, after a few rapid fires it would signal an ‘overheat’ condition and we’d have to stop for a few seconds to allow it to catch up to us. This totally threw off my timing and the whole creative process.
So, just something to learn from my experience. Try to make sure your lights can keep up with your style. Even if they aren’t all the same watt-seconds, at least they should be close enough so it doesn’t slow you down. I know I’ve had a few people at my workshops comment on the difference of shooting studio strobes vs. speedlights; once you see the difference you may switch too.