If you use a lot of flash in your photography, you no doubt go through batteries like a fiend. In my experience, rechargeable batteries are definitely the way to go, but I’ve heard a lot of photographers complain about recycle time. I’ve sworn by (and continue to swear by) Sanyo Eneloop batteries for my flashes (AA) and RadioPopper wireless triggers (AAA). Sanyo recently released a new high capacity version of these extremely popular batteries (especially among photographers), and while it may seem like a good idea to upgrade in order to increase the recycle time of your flashes, it does, as one would assume, come at a cost.
The original Eneloops have a capacity of 2000mAh, can be recharged up to 1500 times, will keep at least 75% of their charge when stored for up to 3 years and come at a cost of approx. $19.99 for a set of 4 AA’s ($29.99 with a charger.) This means that I don’t have to keep track of, and cycle, my batteries in order to maximize their power and lifespan. And when you have 12+ sets of AA’s and 8+ sets of AAA’s, this just makes life a heck of a lot less complicated.
The new Eneloop XX’s boast a 2500mAh capacity, but only have a lifespan of 500 charges, only hold up to 75% of their charge for 1 year, and come at a cost of approx. $29.99 for a set of 4 ($39.99 with a charger.) For some, the trade-off of lifespan for power might make sense, but unless you do a lot of shooting at full power, it might not be worth it for the average shooter.
I might invest in a couple sets of Eneloop XX’s for shooting in situations like bright sunlight where full power is often a necessity, but for most shooting situations where less than 1/4 power already produces fast recycles, I see little need to sacrifice lifespan, durability and $$$.
1) If you have a lot of batteries and have a hard time keeping track of which ones are charged and which are not, consider picking up a couple of small, different coloured camera bags (point & shoot style). You can often find last years bags in discount bins. Also consider getting a green one to indicate charged batteries and a red or black one for discharged batteries.
2) I also carry a compact battery tester in case I need to double check the charge on my batteries. You can find these on eBay or at your local hardware store and average about $5.
So why not use a splash of colour to enhance their portraits! In the images below, I used Honl Photo’s Speed Strap and coloured gels on a Nikon SB910 (with the wide angle diffuser pulled out) to add a pop of colour to the background. I chose colours that would accent their personalities, clothing and eye colour. The lighting setup was a simple 2 light arrangement. The main light was another SB910 in a 26″ Westcott Octagonal Rapid Box (with diffuser panel) to camera left and at a 45 degree angle. Both lights were triggered by a camera mounted SU800 and the RadioPopper PX system (no line of sight required).
The key with kids is to try and keep it fun. Let them make some funny faces in return for some genuine smiles. It might not always work, but when it does, the results can be great.