November 27, 2014, 06:42:38 AM

Author Topic: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?  (Read 6865 times)

Synomis192

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 111
    • View Profile
    • Tumblr/Photoblog
New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« on: December 15, 2012, 04:43:31 AM »
Well I finally invested in some stuff for off camera photography. I know that flash photography is a different from of photography that requires more practice. I just wanted to know if there's a site or a book that I can study to get better with my off camera flash. I currently have a "DSLRkit" Radio Trigger that I bought from ebay. It's like a combination of a Yungnuo and a Neweer radio control flash. I like it. I only have one flash so far and it's the Canon 430exII. I don't have an RC control in-camera because my camera was the last one to not have one implemented (Canon T1i)

So what's my next step? Should I practice using just one flash or should I purchase another flash like a Yongnuo YN560? Help me out fellow strobist :D
Canon 5D - Fine Art/Workhorse
Canon T1i - Modded for Video!
Canon 1DmkII - Sports/Wildlife

canon rumors FORUM

New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« on: December 15, 2012, 04:43:31 AM »

verysimplejason

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1367
    • View Profile
    • My Flickr Account
Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2012, 04:58:22 AM »
I learned much from this site.  An umbrella (first light modifier you should own) is very useful.  Learn first from one light then gradually progress towards more light.  I'm using the same camera, Ti1 or 500D here.   I'm also a beginner with strobes so let us welcome each other to being strobist.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

TriGGy

  • Guest
Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2012, 08:13:14 PM »
practice with one strobe first, that will help you get started one step at a time. By the time you feel already limited creatively with just one flash unit, then it's time to move on to two (then practice with it), then three. Three should be fine for most of us, but I know a few togs who'd want more Speedlites all the time (they borrow, beg, etc to get more Speedlites).

Buy or borrow some books like "Understanding Flash Photography" by Bryan Peterson and there's another called "A Speedliter's Handbook" by Syl Arena. I've been using SLR's since '85 but I do admit I only discovered that there are actually two types of exposures (ambient and flash) only a couple years ago. LOL.


Brand B

  • Rebel SL1
  • ***
  • Posts: 89
    • View Profile
Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2012, 08:51:05 AM »
I learned much from this site. 

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

Second this.  I learned a ton of stuff from his tutorials.

RC

  • Canon 7D MK II
  • *****
  • Posts: 608
    • View Profile
Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2012, 09:49:00 AM »
Syl Arena's Speedliter's Handbook is a must have for off-camera flash.  Perfect place to start, I wouldn't buy anymore flash gear until you dive into the reading.  You will likely want to pick up an extra long ETTL cord soon.  Oh and stick with 1 flash for a while, lots of tips and setups for single flash in the book. 
 
http://www.amazon.com/Speedliters-Handbook-Learning-Craft-Speedlites/dp/032171105X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1355668510&sr=1-3&keywords=syl+arena

LostArk

  • Rebel SL1
  • ***
  • Posts: 91
    • View Profile
Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2012, 10:22:39 AM »
Controlling the Light: Beginners Guide to Off-Camera Lighting and Control

That video is the single most informative resource for beginners I've come across.

hd02fatboy

  • Power Shot G7X
  • **
  • Posts: 9
    • View Profile
Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2012, 10:27:27 AM »
Ive been doing college sports photograhy mainly daytime football and track for a few years now.  So, I am fairy new to using off camera flash as well. I have both books mentions above. I first had Petersons book and it was very informative. Then I got Syl Arena Speedlights handbook from our library a few weeks back.  Out of the two, I am constantly using Syl Arena Speedliters Handbook. My opinion is that the Speedliters Handbook is laid out very well giving several examples for each discussion.  It also shows examples of camera settings and flash settings,light placements.  I really perfer the Speedlighters Handbook. Up to the time of getting this book a few weeks ago, I was hesitant about using off camera flash, mainly cause I didn't take the time to really learn it.  I have a single Canon580II Ex and relied on the infrared line of sight wireless while reading this book. Works great for learning, but last week I found and ordered  the new Yongnuo Yn-622c wireless trigger for $85. Nothing for me to compare its functions to, but it allowed me to move the flash anywhere I want without the line of sight restrictions of the built in infrared.  So my point is the Speedliters Handbook and the way less expensive trigger is allowing me to be way more functional and creative in playing around and trying different lighting from the book that I would have done otherwise.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2012, 10:27:27 AM »

RS2021

  • 5D Mark III
  • ******
  • Posts: 720
    • View Profile
Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2012, 10:31:20 AM »
A lot of resources on youtube...but try first with one off camera flash. Start with a simple inexpensive cord. There is so much that can be learned right there...changing positions of light source, mixing ambient light, setting power levels when ettl is a bit off (which happens in real life)...bouncing, cheap diffusers, etc etc...

When you get your second or third flash, this sort of hands on experimenting with just one will put you way ahead of the guy who goes and buys the Ferrari but doesn't know how to take a corner. Equipment is always good to have...but technique trumps it every time :)
« Last Edit: December 16, 2012, 11:27:57 AM by Ray2021 »
“Sharpness is a bourgeois concept” - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Jamesy

  • 5D Mark III
  • ******
  • Posts: 726
    • View Profile
Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2012, 10:59:19 AM »
The resources mentioned in all the posts above are excellent. I have been going to Strobist.com for years and have read the Syl Arena book.

Good advice to get an umbrella, umbrella swivel-adapter and a stand. A cord is cheap and handy but the YN-622C's mentioned are excellent for the price.

Start by learning the effects of one light, in close/far from subject and at different angles and power settings. A nice second light source is a reflector. Again, keep it simple when learning as a small change in your setup will be more apparent. Shoot in manual too

Kristofgss

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 67
    • View Profile
Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2012, 11:28:09 AM »
One more vote for Syl's book here as well. Something else you might want to look into are the lastolite portable softboxes. They have a kit with stand, softbox and flash holder. It's called ezybox and it's very good quality. I've had mine blown over by wind, tripped over it, had kids push it over and it survived alll those things with no problems. It's more expensive than an umbrella, but I like the way you can play around with it. For me, it gave much more predicatble results than putting the speedlite somewhere and trying to bounce it.

TrumpetPower!

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 951
    • View Profile
Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2012, 11:54:51 AM »
In addition to Strobist, it's well worth mentioning Neil van Neikerk, the master of on-camera flash:

http://neilvn.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/

So long as you've got a camera-mounted flash, you might as well know how to get the most out of it.

Something else to consider: if you're going to go to the bother of hauling around all the gear you need to do off-camera flash right (stands, umbrellas, softboxes, backgrounds, etc., etc., etc.), you might as well get a real studio flash, such as one of the superlative AlienBees units. It'll be cheaper and it'll put out a hell of a lot more light. The only downside is that you can't mount it to your camera. But there're always hotshoe flashes for when you need portability....

b&

AudioGlenn

  • Canon 6D
  • *****
  • Posts: 351
    • View Profile
Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2012, 01:08:02 PM »
+1 for "The Speedlighter's Handbook".  I've read it a couple of times already.  It had LOTs of great info.  I like strobist.com too. 

Start with the reading, go play with your flash, read some more, play again.  It's made a world of difference in my photography.

(Side note) One major thing for me: learning how to sculpt light and make "interesting shadows" has helped me realize that for MY style of photography, I don't need ALL the prime lenses Canon has to offer.  I used to think that was the only way to get good low light pictures.  With the use of 2 or 3 flashes and a good 2.8 zoom, and maybe some light modifiers (umbrellas, soft boxes, diffusers, etc.),  I get much more flexibility, and don't have to worry so much about noise.  The shallow DOF I get from a 2.8 zoom is more than enough for my style and is saving my tons of money not having to buy all the prime lenses I initially wanted. 

5D mkIII  |  40 f/2.8 | 8-15 f/4L | 24-70 f/2.8L II | 70-200 f/2.8L IS II | 1.4x III TC | 600ex-rt | 430 ex ii | EOS M+22mm f/2 | EF to EF-M adapter

Area256

  • Rebel T5i
  • ****
  • Posts: 138
    • View Profile
Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2012, 01:32:39 PM »
Not to echo what everyone else is saying, but a umbrella + light stand kit is a great place to start.  Since you have radio triggers, no need for a TTL cable (unless you are in situations that you have to have TTL), manual works best most of the time anyway since it's repeatable - you just have to walk over to your flash to change settings, but that's normally not a big deal.

Along with the light stand + umbrella kit, I'd recommend getting some cheap gels (some color gels for effects, and CTO/CTB gels for colour correction).   After that add a reflector before another flash, and learn how to use that.  I've found most of what can be done with two flashes can be done with 1 flash + $30-40 reflector.  5-in-1 reflectors work best, since you can use them as a flag as well - I own a few.

If you plan to work outside with your strobes for portraits, consider investing in some ND filters, or a TTL radio trigger/TTL cable that will support highspeed sync - then you can do nice shallow depth of field portraits.  Personally I use ND filters to keep my shutter speed down, and then buy cheap manual flashes.

The resources listed already are great, and most of all experiment!  Experience is the best teacher when it comes to mastering strobism and lighting in general.
6D, 24-105mm f/4L, 100mm f/2.8L Macro, 50mm f/1.4, 40mm f/2.8, lots of strobist stuff.
Flickr  500px

canon rumors FORUM

Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2012, 01:32:39 PM »

picturesbyme

  • Canon 70D
  • ****
  • Posts: 255
    • View Profile
    • AtlanticPicture.com
Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2012, 02:07:15 PM »
Controlling the Light: Beginners Guide to Off-Camera Lighting and Control

That video is the single most informative resource for beginners I've come across.

+1 on Erik (with a K), that's a good start.

didn't want to post another one but agree on Syl Arena's stuff too.. Good guy, awesome photographer, I like his presentations: http://www.youtube.com/user/BHPhotoVideoProAudio/videos?query=syl

..and of course Zack Arias   http://www.youtube.com/user/creativelive/videos?query=Zack+Arias
like his blogs too...
« Last Edit: December 16, 2012, 05:59:57 PM by picturesbyme »


canon rumors FORUM

Re: New to off camera flash, any tips/guides for beginners?
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2012, 03:02:54 PM »