For photographers who need longer battery life with Speedlite flashes, the standard has been very expensive Quantum battery packs. Typically around $300+ dollars (seen here via B&H). There are a few cheap external solutions that use 6x AA batteries (seen here on eBay), but they are merely extended power sources and often don't help to improve recycle times.
Now a popular product making rounds in the last year as an alternative is the GoDox external flash battery packs. GoDox also have a variety of other lighting products including large studio strobes and continuous lights. I had a brief look at these products over at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York, and these battery packs look very good. The Godox external flash battery packs are available for Canon, Nikon, and popular Yongnuo flashes as well found via eBay (Click here).
GoDox External Battery Packs for Canon Nikon Yongnuo Flashes
A honeycomb grid on your flash helps direct and concentrate light, and depending on the design of the honeycomb you can even achieve a very tight spotlight. YouTube member CAMPHOTOPIX shares his DIY grid build that is based on a bunch of cut straws. I'm not sure where this first started from, but it's an old DIY build that even I have tried years ago. It's very effective and you can customize the length of the straws for different effects. I also like his use of neoprene material for a very snug fit.
These grids were very expensive a few years ago, but if you lack the patience, you can now find similar style honeycomb grids for less than $13.00 dollars shipped. You can find them in 1/8" and 1/4" honeycombs on eBay (click here).
YouTube member Wandomphoto performs a distance test with the Yongnuo RF603n (the n is for Nikon), and claims some pretty good results up to 1/4 mile away. These are very basic triggers and receivers that lack all the other high speed sync and communications that other high end triggers offer, but are fairly reliable. I am still using the RF602 triggers which included one remote trigger and one receiver. I haven't upgraded because they are not compatible with the RF603. The RF603 made a change in design that makes them 'Transceivers' which is both a transmitter and receiver. That's actually a much better design when you need to keep adding another remote or another receiver to the kit. A pair of these will run you about $30 bucks, and you can check them out via eBay (click here)
So you want to move your flash off camera? Sure you can use inexpensive wireless triggers, but the biggest drawback to moving a flash off camera, is losing ETTL communication and High Speed Sync. Unless of course you're shelling out some serious cash for a wireless remote system like Radio Poppers to supports this. YouTube member Matthewrichey created a video showing you how to take basic Cat5 cables and connectors to modify those short off camera flash cables giving them variable length.
Although he took the time to make a video showing you what the end result could look like, this is not his original idea. You'll find people were doing this several years ago, and there's some instructional step by step info over at DIYPhotography.net (here).
Some event Photographers run with a Flash on top of a Monopod, so they can bring it up high or move it around before snapping a picture. To keep communication between the camera so you can adjust flash compensation, this technique would require several feet of cable. If you're not the DIY type, you could just check out some of the existing 33ft (10 meter) long cords available for not much more than $30 bucks, saving you from buying an expensive set of Radio Poppers (and not having to worry about batteries for the triggers).
There's been some recent comments about off camera Flashes and the cheaper RF-602 or RF-603 wireless triggers. If you decide to go this route, remember that the trigger fits directly underneath the flash. Once you have this set up you can screw a light stand directly underneath the RF-602 receiver's 1/4-20 thread mount, but this means your flash can't be tilted and it doesn't provide a way to mount an umbrella.
If you want to be able to angle your flashes and mount an umbrella grab yourself an umbrella bracket for Speedlites and because the RF-602 or RF-603 receivers don't have a shoe lock, you'll need to look for umbrella brackets that have a built in shoe lock. Hopefully this will save you from buying the wrong ones. Check out the video below for more information on this. [Thanks Carl]
I just received my Octagon softboxes that are used as a light modifier for flash photography. They set up super fast like umbrellas but function more like traditional softboxes. I'll do a video later about how easy these things go together with my Speedlights.
500 LED Video light - Pop up Softbox
Normally you would use a strobe in the brolly, but the slotted design can be used for other light sources. Gabriel is already experimenting with using a 500 LED video light panel inside (photo above). He had to add a clamp to hold the umbrella in place. It blocks a bit of space, but should still help to change it from a small light source to a larger softer light source. Could even help with the multi-shadow issue that LED lights can sometimes cause. I'm curious to see the results. [Thanks Gabriel].
They also come in a large square version that still pops open like an umbrella. You can find more information about these following the link to the original article (click here).