Bag of Lights · DEDPXL

Over the years my lighting kit has evolved from one system to another. I’d have this brand of hotshoe flashes and this brand of strobes. This one worked great, that one was ok, etc. I’ve been searching for one cohesive system and I finally settled on Phottix gear.

The one thing that has really simplified my life is having one trigger that works seamlessly between hotshoe flash and strobes. I know there are several systems out there these days and I looked at all of them and settled on Phottix for the balance of price, durability, and ease of use.

Profoto and the like were out because they don’t incorporate hotshoe flashes into their product line and I don’t know of any flashes that work with their triggers. Godox was high on my list because they have a pretty impressive line of flashes and strobes and triggering systems but my biggest concern with them were the batteries and their durability. I know many people who love the Godox line but I’ve talked to enough people who have had issues with them for the long haul. I feel they are a step up from Yongnuo but haven’t yet hit the fit and finish that Phottix has. Phottix gear has come a long way.

I know that LumoPro released a flash that is compatible with Phottix triggers but I wanted to keep ALL of my lighting gear in one family.

I want streamlined simplicity in my life so having everything under one brand was important to me.


I still have my two Alienbee 1600 heads and my two Einstein heads. Those now live permanently in my studio. I’d say that 75% of my work is done on location so my priority was getting my location kit perfected. This really is the best lighting kit I’ve ever owned. It’s simple. It’s all one family. With the exception of the MagMod gear I can use any of my modifiers on any of my lights from flash to strobe and they are all controlled with one trigger. No more separate receivers and sync cords. I also now have the ability to separate my lights into groups and turn groups on or off from camera. I can’t wait until the universal Odin comes out and then my lighting kit will be 100% done and complete.

The beauty of all of this is when I get an assignment or I book a personal shoot my bags are already packed and ready to go. I don’t have to spend any time coming into the studio and deciding what to take. I’ve already decided and it’s already packed with the slight exception that I might throw a strip into my Lightware bag. It doesn’t always live in my bag because my bag is already putting at the seams as it is.

I can’t say enough good things about the SMDV speed boxes. I’ve used so many different modifiers over the years from so many different brands and I can say that I think these are my favorite so far. They are durable. They are efficient with light. They are easy to set up and take down. The downside to these speedboxes are their bulk in my lightware case. I’d have more room in that case if I went with traditional octas or softboxes with speedrings but I HATE speedrings. I always have. I’ll take the bulk because I can roll up to a location and within seconds my modifiers are ready to go.

Here’s a recent shot using the 70cm speedbox on Ludacris and the Bowens mount fresnel on the plate behind him. This was for a cover shoot for Jezebel magazine.


For the cover shot I used the 110cm Speedbox directly over my camera and I put a flash on the ground with the MagMod MagSphere behind him to add a little glow to the back wall.


Oh. BTW. Luda is into photography. He’s currently shooting with a Canon 5d3. 🙂 He’s a GREAT guy. Loved working with him on this shoot. He taught me a little trick that I’ll be blogging about later.

So there’s my bag of lights. If you have any questions about any of this hit me up in the comment section below!

Here’s a list of the most important parts of the kit.

Modifier Bag – Lightware – (I have the 48″ version of this)
Think Tank Logistics Manager

Phottix Indra 500
Phottix Indra 360
Phottix Mitros Plus  Flash (I use the Canon version)
Phottix Stratos II (Triggers)

SMDV 110cm Bowens Mount Speedbox (I ordered their grid from their web site.)
SMDV 70cm Bowens Mount Speedbox
Phottix Double Fold Umbrella
Impact 60″ Umbrella

Bowens Mount Fresnel

MagMod Basic Kit
MagMod MagBeam Kit

Manfrotto 420b Boom Stand
Lumopro Travel Stand
Tether Tools Table

Godox S-Type Bowens Hotshoe Bracket
Lee Filters Gel Pack

I use Eneloop AA batteries for my flashes.
External Flash Battery Pack (Not in the video)


Zack Arias

A full time commercial and editorial photographer, Zack shoots everything from bands to CEOs to ad campaigns. A gifted teacher and communicator, he has an uncanny ability to meet and connect with all types of people.

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