All right, so, speed lights. There's a lot of different speed lights available. The entry lights are for the people who maybe don't have a built in flash and they just want a little kicker flash just to help illuminate things that are directly in front of you. They don't have any bounce capabilities, so it's kind of limited in what they can do. We have intermediate level flashes, which I think are often pretty good choices for people who want to get involved with this type of work. They're going to give you some options. A little tilt and swivel so you can bounce against ceilings and walls, sometimes they'll have little infrared AF assist beams that will let your camera focus under low light conditions, and many of these will allow you to work wirelessly if you have another flash of that style, or you have a camera with a built in flash that has a wireless system so that you can put your cameras off to the side without a lot of cords and cables running all over the place. If you use fl...
ash a lot, you're photographing large groups, or you need to shoot in rapid sequence, the top of the line flashes typically have faster recycling times because they're more powerful. They're going to have external plugins where you could have an external battery powering your flash if you're going to be shooting for a long period of time. They have extra little features, little bounce mini cards and reflectors and so forth all built into them. They'll have syncs so that you can work in studio environments, and with all sorts of lighting equipment, and little diffusers so that you can work with wide-angle or even fish-eye lenses, and these, too, will often have these wireless connections. Canon and Nikon started with these wireless systems, and it's grown and expanded to pretty much all the systems out there, so there are some good options. I have seen some really elaborate photographs of people who have been hired by the manufacturers and have been given tens of thousands of dollars of their expensive lighting gear to fire something all TTL, and I'm just thinking: "Wow, you could have done this "whole thing with a few hundred bucks and basic flashes "if you would have been willing to use manual." And they were clearly doing a set-up shot, so they would have had a chance to test it. I think spending a lot of money on these flashes isn't the best choice for most people. You could actually go buy some decent lighting equipment for the price of three or four of these flashes, because they do tend to be quite a bit of money. But, for an event photographer, somebody moving around a lot, these can be really, really handy. So, strobe units. There are some more manual units out there. This old style was called the potato masher, because it looks kind of like a potato masher handle out there, and they were known as nice, powerful flashes that had a good kick, and wedding photographers had those for a long time, and I still see them on, there must be a prop house in Hollywood, because in a lot of the movies they have news reporters, and these people that clearly aren't photographers, but they're posing as them, use this. But, they are very powerful, as far as a hand-held device. When we get into the studio, we have mono lights, which are lights and power units all built in, and this is kind of nice because this is just one unit, you plug it into the wall or a battery pack, and it's got everything you need in there. The more serious photographers will have flash heads, and then they'll be plugged into the power source, a power pack or a generator, and this is going to be able to control more and send more power to these flashes, and so these flashes can be really, really powerful, and one of the advantages of these is that they can fire very, very quickly compared to some of the other speed lights, as well as being more powerful, so you could shoot a model spinning in a dress at a very fast shutter speed, and having a lot of light on them, so the flash is happening at just a thousandth of a second for freezing motion. One of the things that these companies are going for is the fastest flash sink that they can get. There's a lot of other things that we're not going to get into, really, in this class, but there are ring lights so that you can actually shoot straight through the light so you have, really, a seamless, shadowless area if you were doing a closeup face portrait.