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Lastolit Hilite....which light??

Skippy2 12 22
22 Oct 2009 12:05AM

I am interested in purchasing the Lastolite Hilite background with train and was hoping someone may be able to advise me as to which light would be best to light up the background - I am also looking for a second light with softbox if anyone could give me any suggestions on this.

I'm relitavely newish to photography and just exploring lighting at the moment.


Skip xx
cameracat 18 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
22 Oct 2009 12:16AM
Have a look at Lastolites site, They have videos showing the HiLite in action, I'm fairly sure they also make mention of the recommended light for the job, Infact you have a option to use one or two strobes to illuminate the HiLite.

Seem to remember the Video shows it in use with 1 & 2 strobes, Can't be sure though.

Here is a link, Have a look....Wink

EDIT; I should point out that you will need a key light as well, But you probably know that anyhow....Smile
BobL 16 3 United Kingdom
22 Oct 2009 7:36AM
I have recently purchased a Hilite, I have 2 D-lite 4's from elinchrom, and using only one in the Hilite and one soft box gets great results, variations are endless. Bob..
Skippy2 12 22
22 Oct 2009 10:00AM
Thanks for the advice guys......Bob - my photographer friend has the D-lites with soft boxes from Elinchrom, I think they may be the same ones are they about 500?

Skip xx
JasF 12 31 Wales
22 Oct 2009 10:53PM
Hi Sharon.

Im in a similar position and will be purchasing both the 6x7 HiLite with train and a lighting setup next week.

I have been researching this for the past 3mth's whilst getting the money together, and have received some great advice which hopefully will save you the crazy amount of time that I have spent on the forums :O)

Although we potentially may have complete different uses, here's the basics in a shortened version..

The HiLite is an awesome piece of kit when used for what it was designed for... confined spaces, small event work and portability.

The train will be difficult to achieve good results out of the camera and "will" leave a faint line where it joins the HiLite, however it is very easy to fix in Photoshop or similar and there are endless YouTube clips on this subject.

Folding it up is also a niggle for some people, though everyone that I have exchanged posts with have said that with very little practise it is achieved in under a minute.

Is it worth buying...? Definitely, especially if you need to work in smaller areas .

Lighting.... This is an area that I came close to over researching!!

Depending on your intended use and the size of area that you are working in will depend on the power of lighting that you will need.

For good all round quality against value for money and superb advice and service I have chosen Elemental. (

Danny, the owner of Elemental is very active on this forum and extremely helpful. Take a look at the M Series as it's about as good as money can buy for it's price tag and has received endless positive reviews both on here and a few magazines.

I made a 4hr trip two weeks ago to their office as they have a working studio there and hold monthly meetings, all that I can say is that the experience was amazing.

Getting to see/touch/use the lights in a professional environment whilst getting to fire questions at someone who really knows what they are doing was a very valuable experience. You will be advised correctly whether your budget is 200 or 2000 and there's no hard sell!

Im going back up next Thursday and will be returning with a car full of kit...

I looked at Elinchrom and was put off by the cost of both the lighting for what's in the box and the modifiers which are way overpriced.

On a final note, all I can say is that the Hilite is good for what it was designed for and you can spend endless hours online looking for lighting to find that Elemental really are the best value for money out there.

Hope this helps and good luck with whatever you decide on

Take care.

Skippy2 12 22
22 Oct 2009 11:08PM
Hi Jason,

All the info is a great help and thanks ever so much mate. Money is kind of an issue at the minute as I only work part-time as a senior theatre sister(nurse) since having my little boy and i'm also having to self fund my forensic science degree which is on hold at the moment (taking a year out).

I have a Nikon D80 and three lenses (18-55mm, 55-200mm and a 50mm) but need to buy the rest of my equipment to start!!! I've been on a couple of short courses and have two booked for the new year and also have a family member and a close friend whom are both professional photographers, so a little help there i guess.

I have to do a big photography module for uni for my science degree which was the reason for converting to DSLR but have found over the past 6 monyhs that my passion now follows photography, so I will just see where it leads and take it from there.

Good luck Jason and keep me posted on how you are getting on. Going to look those lights up now.........oh, and BTW would love to see some pictures when you are set up.

Skip xx
JasF 12 31 Wales
25 Oct 2009 7:32AM
Hi Sharon.

For portraits you have a great variation of lenses so there's a big expense saved already.. If you look at the last upload in my portfolio that was taken at Elemental Studios with a Canon 50mm Prime.

It was my first attempt so technically there's probably a million things wrong with it, I was there purely for the experience and to check out the lighting gear :O)

Once Im setup next weekend I'll keep you posted on my experiences..

Take care

Skippy2 12 22
26 Oct 2009 11:34PM
Hi Jason,

Thanks, that will be great.......going to have a look at your pics now.

Sharon xx
Skippy2 12 22
26 Oct 2009 11:43PM
Love the photos Jason, have left a couple of comments and votes.

BTW - how do you present your pictures with the white outer edge and the black background (not the background in the photo itself) IYKWIM is it done in photoshop? Just asking because i like the style of your presentation.

Sharon xxx
stevekhart 16 4.5k 3 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2009 1:21AM

The train will be difficult to achieve good results out of the camera and "will" leave a faint line where it joins the HiLite, however it is very easy to fix in Photoshop or similar and there are endless YouTube clips on this subject.

It's not difficult, it just takes a lot of light! Wink For my event work I prefer to use 8 lights but can get away with 6 when doing full lengths with the train. You need:
2 lights in the hilite
2 lights on floor stands lighting the join between train and hilite
Either 2 or ideally 4 lights with softboxes to light the subjects (2 up 2 down). Using 4 give beauty lighting - it lights the front area of the floor and also lights under chins. Doing it this way gives you white background shots that are ready to print. HTH.
JasF 12 31 Wales
27 Oct 2009 6:53AM
Thanks Sharon.

Border - Once I finish any post work in Lightroom I export into Photoshop for any final adjustments and to apply the border. I only use the border for my portfolio here and Flickr.

Once in Photoshop, increase the canvas size to 40cm x 40cm, then create a new layer and fill with black. You then need to drag that layer below the photo layer which will sit the photo on top of the black background...

Double click the photo layer which will open the layer style panel. Go to the bottom and click "stroke", change the size to 5 (try different sizes to gain your preferred look) then choose the colour.

Im not sure how you are with Photoshop so the above may not make any sense if your fairly new to the programme? If so, send me a PM and i'll try and do some screen shots to create a walk-through.


27 Oct 2009 7:20PM
hi jason,
I have too recently purchased the hilite and am in the middle of looking up lighting can you please tell me what you did eventually purchase and how your lighting setup is with the hilite,Do you use just 1 light in the hilite or 2 and what sizes,Also what size softbox?
Cheers Richard
Skippy2 12 22
27 Oct 2009 10:44PM
Jason - have sent you a PM mate.


Shaz xx
JasF 12 31 Wales
28 Oct 2009 8:18AM
Hi Shaz - Have sent you a reply :O)

Hi Richard - I pick my kit up tomorrow, but I have already been and had an evening in the studio at elemental and tried out the kit first hand.

I was fortunate to meet another EPZ member there too who is using elemental lighting with a 6x7 HiLite. In most cases she is using a single 300w (sometimes 600w) in the HiLite and a 300w key light.

If you are using the HiLite in a small area such as a home studio, a pair of 300's should be fine. Elemental do some great kits at very affordable prices.

Im looking at their new digital range, which is 3x 500w, stands, background support system (for larger venues), softboxes, bags and wireless triggers. I will be using a 120cm Octagonal softbox and a 32"x48" softbox with beehive attachment, umbrella and 70cm beauty dish :O))

I'll try and post some images of the setup on the weekend ?

I'll be ordering my HiLite on Friday so probably wont receive it until early next week, I'll post some more setup shots at that time.

To be honest Rich, I have been hitting the forums and speaking to people in the know for the past three months researching this one as I have to get it right first time. I really don't believe that anyone will beat elemental on the whole deal, ie, quality/whats in the box/advice/service.

Im looking forward to another session at their studio tomorrow and more importantly returning with my kit :O)

Take a look at their M Pro Series and the Visico Digital Range (

Skippy2 12 22
28 Oct 2009 2:32PM
Jason - where abouts is Elemental studio? have looked at the website and the lights look great and as you say reasonably priced.

Shaz xx

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