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Why Speedlights?

Lesson 30 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

Why Speedlights?

Lesson 30 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

30. Why Speedlights?


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


Principles of Light


Speedlights vs Strobes


Compressing the Scene


Location Lenses and Lenshoods


Metering Modes and Back Button Focus


Natural Light Reflectors


Lesson Info

Why Speedlights?

I'm very excited about today because four years I use speed lights but didn't know what I was doing I could make it do it but I didn't know why so teaching this is going to make me and learn a lot more well I think there's a lot of people out there who'd do that who can occasionally get lucky with it and get a great shot but are I don't have that consistency because when you actually understand what you're doing you khun intentionally decide I want to do this and this and this instead of oh hey I got a cool thing which is fun but not what you need when you're working with glance fantastic alright clickers here take it away excellent thank you so good morning everybody so I was looking at that that map that he was talking about that I posted and yesterday there is this metal dot in the middle of like looked like I was looking the middle of the indian ocean I'm like oh it's a computer error and this morning I went I looked and I zoomed in and there's like a tiny island the great where it...

was so there's like people from all over literally a tiny island in the middle of the ocean far from anything I think that's really cool and makes me really excited so thanks for everybody for tuning in today we're going to talk about speed lights and that little intro that I just said to him is completely true I shot weddings and events for a long time and I could make my flash do things like it could light somebody but I didn't really know why or how it just kind of it worked and sometimes it would screw up I just move things around and then hope it would fix it so it was really interesting to really dive and deep and understand it even more so that's what I hope I can help you with today all right so just as for anybody who hasn't watched everyone who's watched the last two days already knows all this what we keep harping on the point that we keep focusing on is when you use a light the point isn't just to throw light at your subject which to be honest I did that in the beginning because I just figured it made me look fancier if I could use light on location but our goals really are the following to improve the quality of light on the face you can make the light harsher or softer you can also go ahead improve the direction so you can shape the face you could make it more dramatic taking control over that direction sort of letting it just be whatever it is the next school is to balance or control the intensity so how bright or dark is that light what are the ratios between the front light in the back light and that might be from your strobes but it could be the ambient light could be reflector and then finally it's just established a mood or stylistic effect so these are our main goal so everything that we talked about you just keeping in mind that I just don't throw light at it use it to achieve these goals to make better portrait's better pictures of individuals so here's why speed lights we talked about this yesterday but I am as a fashion photographer I'm more often and using a portable studio location lighting and so why would I do that over speed lights one would speed lights be better and they're definitely times where speed lights are a lot easier and that is definitely for those of you who shoot events and weddings maybe you're hiking to the top of the mountain and you're going to do a session of there you probably don't want to take a whole bunch of studio lighting so the first main benefit of speed lights is they're lightweight and portable and then also you do have a lot of control over them if you know how to use them it's it's not going to be any really that much less control than you would have using studio strokes on location you're changing the direction of light and then you can get really really creative and it has something built in called high speed sink which is really awesome we're going to talk about that a little bit later all right so these are the two big names speed lights for cannon and nikon and I know there are plenty of people out there who don't use these two main brands that's totally fine because guess what the speed like that I will be using is neither of these um to be honest I found like I tried the new six hundred I found it a little bit too complicated it's great because it could do everything and I had all these bells and whistles but to do the basics of what I wanted it was more complicated than it should be so I started going looking for another solution and so I'll tell you about what I use at the moment on the other downside of using the big you know canon and icon brands is that you'd definitely pay for it um for example I believe the six hundred is like what would you say five five forty nine and that's without the thing that makes it trigger off camera and that's a couple hundred dollars extra the upside of using named flash is the one that matches your cameras you know it works it's meant to work with all the bells and whistles of maybe how you can change the output of the flash and camera it's gonna work when it matches that camera for sure sometimes when you go with off brand those features disappear because they're not meant to work together and maybe you have to do work around so yeah these are made to work with your camera they have these are the most advanced they have all the bells and whistles to do everything you want but I did want to let you know if this is this is a one a one class maybe spending the would be about seven hundred dollars to get this system working maybe isn't the right place for you because you just want to try speed lights out so I'm gonna give you some advice of some other brands to take a look at and where to start if you're just getting into speed lights all right so this is the flash that I particular system that I'm going to be using today don't worry about all of these numbers but the reason I wanted to put this light up here is this gives you an idea of what's included in the bonus material in the bonus material I went through all of the different speed lights and strobes that are on the market not all of them there's no way I could possibly do that but it has the schematics so you can see this type of information like how much does it cost what capabilities that have what is it's recycled time how much is it way what's its guide number all of that stuff so the one that I'm going to be using today can I have that flash over there please um is the foe takes mitro plus perfect thank you and the reason that I think it's a good to teach for a one a one class is first of all it's significantly cheaper then five forty nine or whatever the whole system would be and this particular flash is made in a version for both cannon and nikon so all the buttons will be exactly the same every flash is a little bit different this is definitely one of those things were russell billick yep check your manual because every flash is different every way you hit buttons but I'll be sure to touch on essential concepts for example there are a few different things that work a little bit differently with the night conscious and versus a cannon system all address that just so that you don't think you know certain things are universal that aren't so what I like about this flashes it does everything that I needed to so for me what that means is I can put it on manual settings you can put it on tt l settings we'll get into that I can have it be a master or a slave trigger I can also use a wireless radio communication instead of line of sight we're going to talk about that it has a high guide number which means it's just a strong as the candidate nikon ones so when it comes down to it that's that's a majority of what I do it has high speed sync aie conduced rufus coptic effects so maybe there's other bells and whistles that exist that it doesn't have but I don't use them and all the work that I do so this is what we're going to demo with today and I also wanted to mention beyond the big ones there are things that are actually in between speed lights and strobes there's like hybrids between them for example we talked about the b one yesterday maybe one is absolutely a strobe but it has teo capabilities which makes it kind of like a speed light but the one that really is a cross between is a quantum flash which you may have heard of as a q flash and the difference is where the biggest difference is its has in between a power output it's more power output than you're going to get with a speed light but it's less than what you get with higher powered strobes sometimes the queue flushes air actually stronger than some of the less expensive or lower wattage strobes it's smaller so it is portable more portable than a studio strom it also has a bunch of little adapters just like you would have in a studio stroke that you can put on the front of it so I can add a little soft box I can add different sized dishes so that makes it more like a studio stroll but it fundamentally is a speed light why would you use this well this is going to be for if you want the portability of having speed lights it does tt l it does manual but you want more output so very commonly wedding photographers would use cue flashes for example lighting a group they don't want to take studio strokes but they do want to light a group they want to have more a little bit more off to the photo to the power of the slashes they'd have a couple of those two light very large group or let's say that you want one speed light in the back of a church for shooting a wedding pointed at the ceiling to light the whole church gonna have a hard time doing that with a speed light but this is at least one hundred equivalent of about one hundred fifty watt seconds so you're going to get a lot of power out of it so that's something that you might look at and it's in the range of the newer candidate nikon speed lights if you count you know the triggers and what nights it definitely you pay for its more but if that's what you need then maybe that's a good option for you as well all right I sew for all of you out there that are interested in knowing what else exists there are third party flash manufacturers meaning it's not canan icon a limpet likes not the main brands and so the big ones are faux ticks at nissen um and young you know flash is ok so these these flashes you have the thing is they have different models and some of the models don't have what you actually need like they might not have detail capabilities they might not have high speed sent capabilities until you go ahead and buy special triggers but then once you buy the special triggers your getting yourself up to the price of the originals so I wanted to talk about if you are looking to go with another speed light what are the things you should actually look for to make sure it has good capabilities ah lot of people love these flashes because they're very very inexpensive like I think one of them is like eighty bucks but if you just want something for example just to be able to fire as a slave on manual and just put out whatever output you want it to and that's all you need you're better off paying eighty bucks than six hundred if that's mainly how you're using a speed light so it's why it's good to know how they work and then figure out no I don't need all the bells and whistles maybe I just need that eighty dollars flash or the hundred dollars one hundred fifty dollars one that has the tt oh um like I said when I use this photo because it has everything so these are some of the features that if you're looking to buy a speed light that you want to check to make sure it has and maybe you don't need all of these but this is this will help you get accomplished what you need ideally should have high speaks high speed sync capabilities that's going to allow you to go faster than your cameras top sink speed we'll get into that later but I use that all the time for shooting in the middle of the day to be able to shoot faster shutter speeds and have wide open apertures narrow deficit field it doesn't have that you can't do it you're kind of stuck you do want to have manual anti tail capabilities we'll talk about how that is it sexist exposure but if it only has manual maybe you're do events or receptions and weddings where you need teo for the type of work you're doing so that might be the better the better way to go you do want to look at the guide number long story short the guide number is a reference for how strong the flashes it doesn't mean anything intrinsically to us but you want to compare it against other ones you don't want to really really weak flash for example most of the big brands are about one ten toe one eighty guide number you don't really it's like not really relevant to know what it means anymore just know the bigger the number the more flash up with paris so if you need a lot of flash output look for a higher number you also want to figure out how you need to get that flash to trigger is it a system that has its own wireless trigger are you going to have to go buy some specialized pocket wizards are you going to have to get some other system does it have to be hardwired look how do you get it to fire so you want to look at that maybe you don't like I said maybe you don't own pocket wizards and it won't fire without them and then you're getting back up into something expensive um and then lastly take a look at recycle time the recycle times that are listed when you're looking at the flashes our once there's a full power flash how long does it take to get back up to full power before it could flash again sometimes some of the less expensive flashes will take quite a long time which isn't going to be very good if you're photographing events in movement so those are some of the considerations if you're looking at third party flashes the big name if you're going to get you know the most current candor nikon flash it's going to be the best they have and so you already know it has the best possible for your camera all right so this is today's demo gear so I said I have the foot takes metro's plus and then this is the odin trigger here built into this flash I don't need to attach anything to make these talk so I can control and set my my flash on manual or tt all from here I can change the flash compensation from here I can change the manual flash output from here I can set the flash to high speed sync like everything that I need to do I can do from this trigger there's another one that's just the mattress without the plus that one you need something that goes on the bottom that makes these to talk it is less expensive but then you have to buy the little adapter so this is the way that I would go for this one so we're going to talk about triggering capabilities and what you're looking for today just so in case anyone out there on the internet is wondering what I'm using when I'm taking all these pictures what's my camera settings the whole time amusing eh valued of meeting single shot mode not continuous on dh then manual or aperture priority I use manual the whole time but I will address how you could use aperture priority so those are the camera settings for today's demonstrations

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Keynote 3
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This class was amazing. Lindsay Adler is a great presenter...I learned so much.....I love that she spoke about natural light..strobes and speedlites. Wonderful information. I purchased this and I am glad I did. Great job Lindsay. Jean


Lindsey Adler is one of the best and most engaging photography instructors in the USA. I highly recommend this lighting course. It felt more like a 101 and a 102 course than just a basic course. She teaches in a way that makes learning alot of fun and the amount of time & effort that she puts into her video and class presentations are second to none. Her classes are well worth their weight in gold and you will walk away with a wealth of knowledge!


Lindsay is amazing , I love the way she explains everything!! This course is filled with GREAT information and helps you better understand natural lighting,strobe and flash. Thank You Lindsay, please keep your classes coming!

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