Last year when I wrote my off camera flash eBook, Going Fast With Light, I mentioned an essential piece of gear that I often use: The 30″ Lastolite Trigrip Diffuser. This useful tool is great for shooting portraits outdoors under direct sunlight, or popping a flash through to get a softer blast of light. What makes the Trigrips so nice is that unlike most reflectors, they have a handle, which lets you hold them in position with your off camera hand while you’re shooting.
Here’s a perfect example of how I use the Trigrip: Outside. Portrait. Sunlight. Too bright. Squinting. Shadows. Grab the Trigrip Diffuser, hold it in such a way that you block the direct sunlight hitting the subject, and you suddenly have softbox quality light outside, that’s much more pleasing for portraits. Super simple, and it only takes about three seconds to grab it and hold it into position. Ok, maybe 10 if you have to take it out of your bag, unfold it and then hold it up.
McNally uses Trigrips all the time and raves about them in his books. He’s even got his own signature model of the Trigrip that features different color reflector sleeves and a velcrdo cutout window for creating striplight effects.
However, for as great as the 30″ Trigrip is, it’s just a little too big to fit inside most camera bags and backpacks, even when folded up inside its case. I’ve clipped them onto the back of my pack before, but that’s not always convenient, so more often than not, when I head outdoors with my camera, I leave at home.
Enter the new 18″ Lastolite Mini Trigrip! Now that’s what I’m talking about! Same design, same handle, but almost half the size. Best part, it packs up small enough to easily fit inside just about any pack or camera bag.
Suddenly, the Trigrip becomes a whole lot more useful. You can actually carry it around with you in your camera bag and have an incredibly useful wherever you go. As you can see from the photo below, the 18″ is definitely big enough for shooting head shots and head/shoulder/upper body portraits, products, macro, location assignments, etc… And if you’ve ever seen the size of the 30″ Trigrip all packed up, then you can appreciate just how small the 18″ mini version is when folded up in the second photo.
Ok, to be fair, the 18″ Lastolite Mini Trigrip is not entirely new, just new to me. It actually came out last year, but I just didn’t find out about it until this year’s PhotoPlus show. Wish I’d have know, I would have put this one in the book instead of the 30″ one. At any rate, if you like to go fast with light, then the Mini Trigrip is one of the most usable, affordable and portable light shaping tools that you cold probably have.
As with the other sizes, the Mini Trigrip diffuser comes in either plain white (diffuser), 3551 model, or as a combination diffuser/reflector with either white/soft silver, 3552 model, (shown below) or white/soft gold finishes, 3553 model.