Thank the flash gods that I brought my flashes. They have gone largely unused, until I had to re-learn flash photography on the fly while being in the world of Powerlifting Women. 

After three months of refreshing the skills, practicing and prepping, I found myself back at the Iron Sisters Strength Camp for the third time in four years. If this is the first time you’ve heard about it, it’s a Powerlifting Camp for Women. Check out their website at to find out what they’re all about and also check out their Instagram, @ironsisterhood.  This year’s camp was at Crossfit Opus, in Hamilton. Check them out and a shout out to the gym owner Denise who was awesome. 

This was the first time I offered photo services to participants, basically full resolution digital photos and also the first time I shot at the gym. With a ton of practice under my belt, I was more than ready for this and I shot indoors already. But as the first hour went by, I realized I raised my ISO to 6400 to get the shutter speed high enough. Suddenly, sensor noise became a real issue. 

I did not do a location survey. I know, one should always do it.  It wasn’t so much of a mistake, as it was a time budget limitation. Travelling to Hamilton from Toronto by Transit is two hours each way on average. So it’s hard for me to justify it at the time.  I had shot in gyms before but not in a gym in this layout where it was really dark. It had enough for lifting, not even close enough for photography in natural light. 

So it was up to my Godox VS 860 II and AD 200 Pro to shed some light and though it was rough to figure things out, eventually I got the look I liked and delivered good results to the clients. I used a diffusion umbrella with the AD 200 Pro to provide me with fill and flood light while I had the on-camera VS 860 as the key light. With the flashes going I was able to shoot at 1600 ISO with solid shutter speeds and higher f-stop, sweet. 

The strategy on Saturday was moving around station-to-station to get the shots for the paid clients while getting everyone else. If I was working out, it would be an awesome fat burner routine. But it used up way too much energy, stress and time. When that happens, you miss important shots and I missed a lot because of that. 

On Sunday, I switched it up and just stuck with one station, set up lighting for it and stayed put since the groups were rotating around stations. That worked a lot better. I only moved the AD 200 a little as and it gave me a bit more time to figure out the best angles. 

Both flashes ran off lithium ion batteries which meant I didn’t have to worry about carrying a lot of AA batteries. They almost lasted the entire day on both days using near full-power strobes, very impressive! 

I love wireless flash control. Love it. Wireless operation is king and affordable now thanks to the tech out there.


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