IN THE BEGINNING                    6:29 AM  2-13-2014     TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA


My name is Al Jacobson,  I have been addicted to making/designing/tinkering/blowing up photographic flash products as a super way of keeping happily active for most of my life.  

My love of photography, over 50 years, and the elusive hunt for the once in a lifetime shot keeps me going. You are stalking an idea, a theme or an occasion and the challenge keeps you focused and looking for the trophies to hang on the wall.

I have been building on a very limited basis for the specialized work of advanced amateurs, paparazzi, wedding shooters and the sports guys for a long time.  It didn’t make me rich financially, if I had paid myself, I would be broke.  Like most hobbyists it never became a full time job, but richer in the sense when your hobby allows you to meet some very special people and fiddle the music you like.

I like simple, easy to use, gear that works and after being a pilot for 28 years I have a dislike for a lot of buttons, led’s, blinkers, gauges and switches.  After you have pushed the buttons, bells and whistles and work on electronics ... an hour in a 65 HP cub can be like ice cream... Thats why I made my own battery packs initially with likeable simple designs and I like to share those ideas and ideals with others.  

It’s through this sharing with great photographers thats my form of social media.  No Farce-book, no Nit-twits, just good friends and the occasional travel project we put together with others. 


I work with flashes and power supplies, with almost everything photography wise thrown in on a secondary basis….If word of the BLACK BOX, or the cure for the fumbling, inadequate, inconsistent use of AA batteries got you here, you are saved. You are in the right place. I built the Black Boxes because I had a need and I share these upgrades with others.

This section deals with products I designed and built for myself to be simple and rugged. The Black Box, and the smaller Tuxedo are power packs for the most common strobes on the market today, and also fit many legacy units.  Fifty plus years ago I made my first packs. Crude bags holding conglomerations with telephone, RC, lamp and hobby parts.

But this gear is different. Both in process and performance from the cheaper methodology like NiMH powered packs composed of AA batteries you take out and refill. Isn't that what you wanted to get away from? Bumbling, fumbling, unpredictable, AA cells. Lithium AA cells are better but still not right. Just ask Boeing and your cellphone supplier about Lithium.

On the other side most pro gear is too expensive period. 80% of the top money in this game is probably shared by less than 20% of the folks trying to make it.  

In one year alone 8,000 new wedding photographers signed up with one of the professional organizations.  When registration lists were checked two years later about the same number had dropped out.  

It can be a tough game when you are the one on the stage or podium and just realized you can’t sing… or dance.


A guide for " Do it Yourself " with great inexpensive products you can build yourself that work as well as the commercial overpriced stuff does. 

Just the local hardware store and common everyday tools build inexpensive gizmos to make your life easier.  From box holder to flash gear you might just have what you need sitting in your house, the tricks are "exposed" and many may be just the thing you need in an emergency.  

For most, all you will need are Allen wrenches, actually one, box wrenches, a pair of pliers, you get the idea.   Don't have any knowledge of these tools, ask your wife, obviously she fixes the things around the house.  

Newer technology and  always improving, we went back to the drawing board and while maintaining our standards in Gizmology, we are now able to offer offer the New Heavier Light Stand adapters for Black Boxes and Tuxedos. 


The Wedding Book for Beginners and Pros alike contains sections on business and practice for the new and used Photographer.  You learn a lot in 55 years.  I am an intersection of knowledge picked up from photographers all over the world.  It's amazing how freely they offer good advice which I readily share, usually with a touch of humor and sarcasm.  

No sense of humor, then go read the phone book. I will tell you what I think and it will be truthful, no manufacture owns me and a few would like me to go away.  It's ingrained for me to slam shams and scams. I write columns and blogs on bad food and bad people all those things you talk about at the water cooler you weren't supposed to.  So bad photo gear comes easy…

The Wedding guide and Business Plan are updated daily. It is a lot of information. Better to read it, learn about the forces, mental, chemical, and physical effecting this trial of your patience, rather than have to pay a shrink when you have a breakdown.  

It explains the people structure and the pitfalls, what to look out for and how to prepare to be smarter than the "Bridezilla's" of today. 

The Wedding Guide shares those thoughts and ideas I started writing about over fifty years ago.  In structure, its alive, because Weddings haven’t changed, only some bad actors debuting for their roles on “ Bad Girls” or some other “Kardashian Reality” show.

The second section is the most complete series of both mental structuring, and good business sense to succeed in this business or any other for that matter. 

Much of it came from field training I wrote and practiced for a large corporation which is still in business. The number one failure in the Wedding-Event game is you.  Prospecting for new clients probably stopped after you shot your cousins Wedding.  The business is like farming, don't plant seed, don't expect a crop.

The third section is really pointers on gear and will be expanded significantly. I see a lot of dumb trends being pushed missing the whole thing about Weddings, it's not about you,  it's about the bride. The gear you select and use are tools, in the hands of a buffoon, they are useless, expensive toys won't save you, it's the simple ideas and tricks that work under stress conditions.

Disclaimers and Safe Browsing

This website and my book  “The Guide To Weddings”  has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and we make no claims it will cure any disease, or malady caused by shooting photos’s at Weddings or at worst someone from the wedding shooting you.  

No photographers, brides, grooms, horses, sheep or canines were injured during the writing of this book and if you cannot afford an attorney, my nephew will be available at the usual exaggerated attorney fees for malpractice cases so I can get my cut.  We use two, sometimes three ICONS to represent certain circumstance.


 NO SMOKE NO BULLSH*T - You are about to get truth.

Thoughts Deader than Casey's Balls


WE are sorry to hear CALUMET PHOTO  "Where the PROS used to go”  is "Gonzo Borelli", or Brooklyn slang for GONE, Chapter Seven, the Big Liquidation one. They shut out the employees, no warning, locked the doors and left their people out in the cold, literally, being in Chicago.  One word, pardon my french….B*stards for treating people, longtime employees…like they did. Ownership with no class… 

And also on another ominous note Cord Camera, which opened in 1954, will close its last of thirty locations said store manager Jamey Oser. “Virtually everything” in the store will be 25 percent off, he said.   Oser blamed a myriad of factors,  Internet and big-box store rivals, smartphone cameras and few photo print orders — for the end of an era for the company.

They follow Wolf, Comp USA, Ritz Stores and now Calumet, with Radio Shack losing 20% of their stores (which I predicted with my slick comment about taking of the R and you have “adios hack”) JC penny in trouble and so forth.

>>>>>>    MY OTHER WEB SITES <<<<<<

Things not spoken about except at the water cooler"

"How to get thrown out as a food critic, tell the truth"

"Country Served"

"Professional Factory Gunsmithing and Plating"

"Make your Indicator like New"



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Updated 6 hours ago


Hello Alan,

As we discussed on the phone, I ran a virus scan of your site to determine if there was any malicious content that was being flagged by Google. This scan has come up negative. 

If you ever need any help from our end, please let us know.


Daniel V. |


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