Chef Keira Moritz with a friend in front of Pacci (credit: Frank Lazaro
RA Sushi. Photo by Frank Lazaro. MIDTOWN – RA Sushi is positioning itself as a bachelorette party destination with new packages like the 2 Carat, which costs $30 and…
Self Portraits with Pocket Wizards
In the last two days, I have gotten several emails about how I use my Pocket Wizards to remotely fire both my flashes and camera at the same time. The setup is simple and easy to use – perfect for doing a self-portrait. With the new year, many folks may be starting 365 projects. For me, I use it to do a random self-portrait and I also use this setup when I do photobooths at events. This allows me to interact with the folks in the booth and still fire the camera. Another neat thing I like to do is, setup the camera on a tripod, setup lights etc then call in my twin boys, hand them the remote and leave the room. I have gotten some killer photos this way and they have a lot of fun. So, the neat thing about Pocket Wizards are that they can do more than just trigger a off-camera flash.
With the right cord and settings, the Pocket Wizards can act as a wireless remote trigger in addition to trigger any off camera flashes. You’ll find that the ease of setup and the flexibility it will provide you will go beyond just doing a self-portrait and you may be able to integrate it into client work. Now, this how-to is going to cover the basics to get the Pocket Wizards setup and what you will need to get this work correctly.
What you Need
At a minimum, you’ll need three Pocket Wizards; one for the camera, one for your flashes and one hand held. This number is assuming you’ll be using an off-camera flash. If you are using natural light and/or no flashes, then two Pocket Wizards will do the trick.
You will also need a Pocket Wizard motor drive cable or an eBay equivalent. Essentially you’ll need a miniphone to whatever motor drive port is on your camera. The official Pocket Wizard website refers to these cables as “remote camera cables.” For me, I have a Canon 5D, so I need a cable with a Canon N3 connector.
See the photo to the left. This is the same port that you would use if you had a corded remote trigger. This is all the equipment you will need to fire your camera wireless using Pocket Wizards.
The first few times I tired to do this, my photos were coming out dark, although the flashes were firing and the camera was setup correctly. After some research and digging, I discovered that there is one key setting that can be easily over looked that will cause this issue, but I will cover that below.
First, on the top of the pocket wizard there are two ports: Camera/Flash and Flash. Typically, when I am using the Pocket Wizards to just fire a flash, I run a miniphone to PC port to my flash or miniphone to miniphone. I plug the miniphone end of the cord into the one labeled ‘flash’ and the other end into the flash, mount a Pocket Wizard to the hotshoe on the camera and I am ready to go.
With this wireless trigger setup, you’ll have to use the Camera/Flash port instead with the new remote camera cable. Setup is simple; mount the Pocket Wizard in the hot shoe as you normally would and plug in the remote camera cable into the motor port on your camera and the miniphone plug into the Camera/Flash port on the Pocket Wizard. Set the channel to 1 and the Transmit mode is set to ‘both’.
Next, if you are using a flash, setup up the Pocket Wizard as you normally would. Cord from the flash to the Pocket Wizard, plugged into the port labeled ‘flash’. Here is the gotcha I mentioned above, make sure you set the channel to 2 and Transmit Mode to ‘both’. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but this is how it works. Only the flashes need be on channel 2, the camera Pocket Wizard and the hand held Pocket Wizard need to be on channel 1.
With a Pocket Wizard in hand, press the ‘test’ button and your camera and flashes will fire. If the response seems sluggish from when you press the ‘test’ button to when the camera fires (or doesn’t fire), check your Pocket Wizards batteries. Again, make sure if you are using a flash, that the Pocket Wizard connected to the flash is set to channel 2!
And that is it, setup is done and happy shooting.