Shoot: Using Flash Benders


How to Shoot with your First Flash


Lesson Info

Shoot: Using Flash Benders

One of my lighting heroes, his name is David Honl, H-O-N-L. And he, I think, he's the one who created this years ago. It's now been bought out by another company, but they're called flash benders. They're really cool and they fold down small. One of the big complaints that I get from people who want to do flash photography is all this gear takes so much space, how do I pack it with me. You know I'm traveling to, wherever, I'm traveling to India and I want to do flash and I want to do it well but I don't want to carry all these big boxes and reflectors and all that. So I recommend this. It's made by Rogue, R-O-G-U-E, and they're called flash benders. And the reason why is because there's actually bendable wires in here that allow you to shape the flash bender in a way that makes sense for you. So once you shape it, it'll stay that way. You can also make a snoot out of it. So we'll talk snoots here in just a minute. There's just a lot of options. And it's really light-weight. It then fit...

s in your camera bag, too. It just fits flat in your camera bag. So, it takes almost no space. But the quality of life in this is really nice, so let me show you how that works. We'll go back to this one. Are there different sizes of those? Yes, it's been a long time since I bought this. Quote, yes. So bigger's better. Bigger's better, (laughing), you know the answer. Yeah, buy the big one. This is gonna be hard to manage so I'm gonna set this on the floor. If I had a camera strap, it'd be hanging around me, I could do it. But the way this works is, it's got a little Velcro thing here in the front, and then you just snap it around to the side like that, cool. And then... bend it forward like that. And that's pretty slick. It's light-weight, easy to work with, and as long as you don't tip it upside-down and shake it, it probably won't fall off. Just make sure and pull that nice and tight. Okay, let's take a picture or two with the flash bender and see what that looks like. You notice I'm kind of going back and forth between manual and T-T-L. I'll just go back to T-T-L and see what happens. My main reason for doing that is just to show you it's okay and there's nothing to be afraid of. You'll get good results as long as you understand them in both cases. So I'm gonna go back to T-T-L, and I'm gonna set my exposure, my flash exposure for... Let's do this, hit "OK." I'm gonna hit my flash exposure for zero E-V. So I'm back to zero E-V, just to see what the camera gives me starting out. Okay, flash bender pointed up, horizontal composition, and here we go, one, two, three. (camera shutter clicks) Let's go to full frame. Okay, nice, pretty gentle. Nice soft shadow below. I like it. Let's try a vertical shot and see how that works. Okay, one, two, three. (camera shutter clicks) Yup, we got it. Oh, yeah, good, once it rendered well. So that's a nice looking shot, too. It even looks like it's almost, almost off-camera. Pretty close to looking off-camera 'cause we're getting some nice shadow on his side on the right side of the frame. So that's cool. So flash bender is a way to cheat on-camera flash. You can almost do a family reunion this way. I don't know that I'd necessarily do a professional, paid portrait session with this. But, maybe if you're outdoors and you've got some nice ambient light or maybe your indoors at night and you light the house lights to kinda warmth in the background, you can use this as a kind of kicker flash just to kind of fill in a little bit of the shadows. So, flash bender, great product, easy to use, folds down soft, decent looking portraits, on-camera flash.

Class Description

Every photographer encounters situations where the light on their subject is less than ideal. A small flash can have a huge impact on your photos and is easier to use than you think! Photographer Mike Hagen joins CreativeLive to show you how to use your external flash quickly and comfortably. Mike will walk through the different flash options available and how to sync your camera and flash. He’ll walk you through different scenarios and demonstrate how your flash can improve your shots. After this class you’ll walk away knowing: 

  • How to set up your flash with your camera and what to look for when shooting 
  • How to use a flash in scenarios like event photography, portraits and tabletop photography 
  • Which light shapers work best for your work and how to utilize them 
  • How to use your flash off camera, working with TTL cables, wireless triggers and other gear
  • Techniques for using modifiers like umbrellas, softboxes and reflectors with your off camera flash 
Don’t get stuck in a low light scenario without the confidence and tools you need to produce an amazing image. 


Yasemin Soyen

First of all I am very happy to discover Creative Live and since then I learned, enjoyed many classes! This week for the first time I was in the live audience and their sincerity, hospitality made the experience even more valuable. About this class, it was a pleasure to meet Mike Hagen. Besides his wide knowledge, creative thinking and information sharing, he was a very humble, nice teacher, with great positive energy. Thanks everyone!

Candy Smith

This class was fantastic. Mike is excellent under pressure when things don't go perfectly, love his style and grace and how encouraging he is to his models, great mentor. I learned so much about using flash, and my pictures are so much better.


Mike, is a fantastic instructor. I have taken other flash photography classes, but I find Mikes’ to be the best laid out, clear and concisely demonstrated class, with great detail and not overly "techy" terms to confuse the listener. Though lots of technical information is shared, it is done in a way anyone can understand and follow along. Great examples explained, to help apply what we are learning to real life scenarios. Like Rear Sync Curtain explanation, really helped distinguish the difference and why.
 Great sense of humour too!
 Hope Mike, will be back to teach more classes, maybe a sequel… one on multi flash use? 
~ Christine