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New Photographers: A Flash ( Speedlite ) Should Definitely Be Part Of Your Gear

B And H Presents: "How to Master Flash Photography for Location Lighting, with Bob Krist"

This post is not about the video above. The video is simply a tool for any photographer reading this to better understand flash photography. FYI, I have not watch all of it, but I could tell in the first few minutes that it was valuable.

The #1 piece of gear that I notice new photographers not owning is a flash (speedlite). Since many new photographers don't own a flash, they rarely know how to use a flash. Yes, there is a learning curve to using flash properly (watch the video), but new photographers should not say they are a natural light photographer simply because they are afraid of flash photography.

I'll admit that flash photography is not right for every scenerio and sometimes shots come out better with natural light. However, there are times in both very low light and outdoors with fill light that flash photography can save the day. One of my favorite outside shots is shooting with the bright sun behind the subject and using flash to fill the front of the subject. I also do a lot of low light candid event photography that is just not the same without the use of a flash.

Since I'm a Canon shooter, I will give some examples of flash models below. However, Nikon, Sony and other brands also have their own flash brands and there are also 3rd party brands available. But before I dive in, let me share 3 basic things to look for in a flash:

1) HSS - High Speed Sync (HSS) allows for shooting outside at a higher speed than the camera sync speed for a flash.

2) TTL - This allows the flash and camera to communicate with each other saving time fumbling with manual settings.

3) Tilt Head - This is nice because it allows for bouncing light from the flash and not being forced to shoot straight on.

Flash ( Speedlite ) for Canon Users:

High End: Currently the Canon brand 600EX-RT is the top of the line Canon flash which sells for around $500. As a full time professional photographer, this is my flash of choice.

Low End: Yongnuo basically copied Canon's system above and came out with a YN600EX-RT for $125. So depending on whether $500 for the Canon 600 is in the budget, it may be best on a tighter budget to get TWO Yongnuo 600's for $250 and save $250. Buying two provides a backup flash.

There are several other brands available like Metz, Nissin, Vivitar, Flashpoint and many more.

I highly recommend getting a Collapsible Lightsphere as seen below which sells for about $60:

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David Williams

About The Author: David Williams is a professional still photographer and videographer focusing on corporate and commercial work. His love for still photography began in 1982 while still in High School. David started making money at photography in 1982. David and his wife Brenda started working together in photography in 1988 when they met and were married in 1989. Brenda is the photo editor for the business. David and Brenda have two daughters in their 20's. Please be sure to get a quote for services if needed: our goal is to respond as promptly as possible. You may also call David direct at 919.628.2902. You may share this content using the larger social icons above this bio section. You may find David on various social platforms by clicking the smaller icons to the left of this paragraph under David's headshot. Please visit our home page as well.