Skip to main content

photo & video

How to Shoot with your First Flash

Lesson 12 of 28

Types of Flashes

Mike Hagen

How to Shoot with your First Flash

Mike Hagen

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

12. Types of Flashes

Lesson Info

Types of Flashes

So we've got OEM-style flashes, meaning original equipment manufacturers. You've got, you know, the Nikons and the Canons and the Sonys. Basically, these are dedicated to that brand. So you can't necessarily put a Canon flash on a Nikon camera and expect to get all the functionality out of it. These flashes are the most expensive speed lights you'll buy typically. There are some others, you know, from like Metz that may be a little bit more expensive; but typically you're paying 300 to 600 bucks for these. I talked this morning to some of the folks in the audience; and some of you have, like, the Canon, the 600EX or maybe the 430EX. Most of my flashes, I paid 300 to 500 bucks for them. So they're not cheap; they work really well. They integrate with every function of the camera. So if you wanna make sure that the flash is always gonna work with your camera, buy a Nikon flash for the Nikon camera. We also have what I would call higher-end, third party flashes; and these are flashes, you...

'll find them on Amazon. You'll find them on eBay. Typically companies like Flashpoint. Flashpoint is, I think that's Adorama. You know, B&H, they also have their kind of house flash; and these are what I would call fully dedicated. They actually integrate very well with the Nikon system. They work very well with the Canon system or the Fuji or Olympus. They're designed to work with that camera body. So, but they're about a third to a half of what the big, kind of, Nikon or Canon flashes are. So I have, I actually, I actually don't have any of these style of flashes. They work well, though; they do. They work really well, and don't shy away from them. It's a way, it's a great way to save money on your flash, especially if you wanna get into two, three, or four flashes in your system. Then we get into what I would call the budget, budget flashes; and these also work great. I was on Amazon the other day and I saw, there's this huge, like, this new world of flash photography, 30 bucks for the, what's called the Amazon basics flash; 30 bucks! You know, Altura, Neewer, all of these other, I think they're probably made in China or Taiwan; I'm not sure exactly where they are, but they're all imports. They actually do work pretty good; but, remember, you get what you pay for, you know. You may not get longevity. The buttons may not always work properly. But if you don't need a fully dedicated, like a full TTL or wireless control, this could be a really good way to go. I own some of these. In fact, that one I have over here, I think, was like a $35 flash; and I've used it in my system, and I'll talk about the limitations later today. So you can get other flashes; and you don't have to spend a ton of money on other flashes, especially if you're shooting manual flash mode.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

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. 

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Single Flash Lighting Diagrams

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Single Flash Gear List 100 dollars

Single Flash Gear List 250 dollars

Single Flash Gear List 1000 dollars

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


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!


Fantastic course - Mike is an engaging and entertaining teacher and this course was just what I needed to start using my external flash with confidence. I have had my external flash for a few years but have rarely used it as mastering all the settings was daunting and the results I got were inconsistent. This excellent course changed all that and I'm having great fun taking much better shots with my flash. I highly recommend!

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.