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Speedlight Photography Basics

Lesson 3 of 21

Buttons and Functions

Mike Fulton

Speedlight Photography Basics

Mike Fulton

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Lesson Info

3. Buttons and Functions
Mike reviews the features on the outside of your camera flash and explains what to look for in your next one.


Lesson Info

Buttons and Functions

And here's the battery pack that we talked about I can't I know I'm staying on battery power lot but the advantage of these flashes is the portability aspect over the strobes you know I know instructor come a long way you have small little battery packs and everything else but these air still so much more portable so much lighter and so much easier to use in the whole scale of things so I can't stress to you enough battery power batteries everything again just maybe get away from the lithium so I know if stressed that again but I want to make sure you get away from him and not use him and then again knowing the outside your flash just the base which we talked about and I want to show you the difference we showed earlier but how you have the different foot um and this is one reason what kanan and that kind don't talk to each other so they have their own communication they're speaking in a sense the same language but a different dialect maybe once from texas and ones from boston so they ...

don't quite understand each other but they know they think they're speaking english but they don't quite get it and so they won't actually all that does the same thing that's just a little bit different power all right and then no one the outside your flash again we went over this a little bit the flash and you'd be amazed again we talked about it I don't want you to break it off this will go all the way around a hundred eighty degrees I'm generally but try not to put this on your flash and shoot like this all the time shoot with the power head correctly you will get better results generally with this I know it's not even if you manage and you put it backwards people have a problem sometimes I know that sounds basic but I've had students just go crazy and they're trying to figure out why and so use the flash for when you need to and then just be able to twist when you need and we'll talk about why it twists a little bit later this is one that cannon has a lot of people aren't aware of what you can actually push your flash farther down just that little bit it's just literally that much and a lot of people don't know why that's there I didn't know why I was there for a long time and I finally read the manual like a smart guy because men don't like to read three directions or ask directions it is for when you photograph people up close if you have put someone up close you can drop this down and again it's just very little seven degrees you could drop it down and it's made for up close portrait photography a little bit now here's the problem when you lower that you're going to have a little icon that pops on your lcd and your flag it's gonna be a flash and it's gonna blink again I've had some of my students come up and think their flashes broke or it's going to explode because this blinking but it's just you come over and all you do is you just pop it up and it's fine so a lot of people don't aren't aware that on the cannon um to be honest I don't use it that often but it is a nice feature tohave because if you have a diffuser something else that usually kind of does the deed for you but I'm a really strong believer in trying to get away from as much as I possibly can especially when I do weddings overseas or I travel the less that I could bring the better off I'm going to be and so the more I learn about all the bells and whistles of these guys the better off I'm going to be for my photography hey mike my flash has been broken for years I guess it's not now eh so why does that light flash what is that it's an indicator for you the one when you have this down your time because I've always been like can I use it when it's flash yeah no it's going to work fine it's just a indicator for use the photographer for your your flashes telling you hey idiot you've got your flash head down push it back up and you'll be fine because it will change the angle if you're photographing up close it will change the angle of your life I know seven degrees doesn't sound like a lot but it can be if they're up close because that doesn't give the time for the light to spread and so it is an indicator is just a visual everything on this cannon and icon flashes has a visual art for the most part and so this is just their way of indicating that your flash head is down and it's such a minute change that you will hardly will ever know that you did it so if you have your flash up and you push it down right there I did it and you have to just push it right back up good all right again the red plastic area this is not if I put this flash actually will use an old five eighty two or five eighty one because it's a little easier for demonstration if I put this flash and slave mode it's gonna blink that has nothing to do with the communication of your flash all that's doing is telling me when this is up in the corner that it's ready to charge it's the same thing is this little guy nikon has the same thing so when this is enslaved remote mode, this right here has nothing to do with anything else but letting you know it's a visual earth that it's ready to go, it doesn't do any auto focusing for you alert it does nothing else to it. So a lot of people put their fingers right here and hold that light up thinking this is whats picking up the signal when reality this is what picks up the signal your fingers are, and so just be aware that that has nothing to do with it will break this's an old you can tell my old esti tu that is broken and they will pop off everything pop off and come apart and you can't pop things back on, and it usually works pretty well, but just be very careful when I say that not can't get it back on, but be very careful with this, because if you do mess that up, pops off or something breaks, it can mess up your you're focusing at night with a flash, it will focus on different thinking it's ten feet away when you're five feet away. And so if you're in t t l mode, which is automatic meeting it's gonna put out too much life or not enough life because the camera's going to think you're subject is not the distance that it actually is, so be aware that and the foot this is something that my wife actually told me about this is the radio popper foot which I use but in your flash I just never even comprehended this but in your flash there's a little pocket that comes in the back of your of your pouch that has a little slot in foot and most people never even look at that most people never even touch it most people never even used it and my wife even said and she's a maid she's a better photographer than me she goes it took me two years to even realize that I had that and then I was wondering what the heck no I use it for I use it all the time is wedding because I mount my flashes on this foot this is again the radio papa it's not the one that comes with my flash but I literally just mount my flash on here any brand were pretty much work and then now khun sit it down from on a countertop I'm on a dresser when I'm getting you know the groom's getting drafted the other brides getting ready I could have my flashes in multiple locations so it's nice and then the other thing is it has the the monitor the amount for your tripod or mono pod or a light stand which we're going to talk about a little bit later so I can actually madam in different locations be aware the older cannon feet are all plastic they don't have a metal insert bad design because one little hit of your lights stand it will snap in your flash will fall so I highly suggest if you have an older cannon foot you can go online by a nikon foot for many years that was the only piece of nightclub not kind equipment that I owned and I was getting you know, by my cannon friend just was just giving me a hard time but the nikon has a metal insert and the radio popper part has a metal insert as well and so it sounds such a small, insignificant part but with the five hundred dollars flash it on top of a light stand that will really save you some money. The other part that I want to be aware of is they are just a little insert we got another one here so they're just a little insert and if you tighten down so they're just pushed in there and they're glued so if you're screwing this on a tripod or a mono pod and you keep screwing, you keep screwing your actually unscrewing it from your mouth and you're pulling it right out so you're thinking I'm gonna get it tight I'm gonna get it tight I want to get it and you just keep and then you're gonna pull it right out it's going break so be aware that as well because I've done that before and you'll see in fact on that one I just pulled out it's actually out a little bit from someone doing that and so you just have this kind of screws back in and make sure it's back to working okay? Sorry I'm losing my will be here there it if any questions I know this is basic stuff it's foundation we're gonna build upon it, I promise. All right, this is the cannon and it shows you have the custom function. You have a little light bulb and then you have a slash custom function. Many your flashes have these two functions for one button, so when you see that little flash right there that little slash it means that button does two things the one on the right you push it and release it, the light comes on so the one on the right of the two two buttons you push it and release that's what it does something over here on the zoom. If I hold this button down for three seconds, I'll get into the other menu the other functions of that flash. So now so that's an easy way for me to be able to know which one does what so all the flashes for the most part do that even on the new six hundreds nikon has a similar feature, but they'll have to functions if you see a slash so then six hundreds, as you can see on the far photo booth circle, if you turn it on, you actually see the very first thing it will have zoom and slash custom function so you basically hold that button down wants to change the zoom, you hold it down for three seconds, it'll get to the section second functionality. Many people don't even use that. They don't even know how to get into a custom function when you don't know how, I don't even understand what that slash means. And so I wanted to go over that a little bit with you the one but they also don't get is the multiple exposure, which we'll get into a little bit later, so just know when you see that slash on your flash, that button is going to do two functions. The first one is a touch and release, and the second one and get out of that mode is you hold it down and it will actually get into the second menu makes sense cricket, cricket, bueller, bueller, you have a question, sir, we get it, okay, so you look at your flash just wanna make sure you're good. All right, custom functions in your flash this is a big one um and it's something that I suggest effective when you purchase this course you're gonna have some information custom functions for both cannon and nikon I hadn't forgotten about you guys um it's something I didn't know for years was in my flash I knew they were in my camera body but I had no clue that they were in my camera flash and once I read up on and they're in the manual which is we never read the manual and as they said, it's it's written in japanese and translated in english and so sometimes the translation is a little hard to understand but the custom functions is very, very powerful. You're five fifties for the old cannon has some, but they're a little hard to use but your five eighties and five eighty two and you're six hundreds to make it even more confusing for some reason can and if you have a five eighty one in a five to pretty much have the same custom functions but they're different numbers which makes no logical sense me, I'm sure there was some logical sense to whoever created the flash, but they're really to me is a user there's no logical sense if I memorized the first thirteen fourteen custom functions and now I have to learn that six is now eight or eight is now six so just be aware of that as well, but I'm gonna go over a few big ones and again to get into the custom function, but we just talked about for the cannon. You would just literally hold down that button where it says the c f m stands for custom functions the first hold it down, and it'll get you into menu. It looks very similar to this. The first function, the first number is, oh, one through thirteen or fourteen, depending on which flash you have, and that is the actual function the custom function number, the second number will be a zero or one zero means it's turned off, not active, and one means that that custom function is active that makes sense. They try to simplify it as much as they could, and so the way you would get to it is once you're in you're custom function menu is that dyle and control so I would get in my custom function menu holding down the button. I mean my custom function menu. If I want to change the custom function number, I would simply rotate the dial to get to the custom function that I want, as you can see in this flash, if you're zooming in, the number one has turned on for a number for six. I want to turn that off I would hit my dial and I would turn the dial all turn. Turn the zero. The dial tone is one goes to zero and then hit the center button again. Now that custom function is turned off what these do is allow you is a photographer to fine tune your photography when it comes to flash photography custom function six is a big one. Custom function number one is even a bigger one for us. This has been fixed on the six hundred. It has been fixed night kind. You don't have to worry about it because not kind has a lot of custom functions of the nine hundred too. But the problem with these old five eighties is when I'm in slave mode especially if I'm in remote moved and I have this flash sitting over in the corner. I don't use it for a while it's gonna go to sleep just like it doesn't top your camera well, when it's on my camera I just hit my shutter button. It's gonna wake it up didn't happen with slave flash at physically walk all the way over to it turn it off, turn it back on well that kind of defeats the purpose if I want a pre mount a flash out of the way for a reception or if I want to hide it somewhere or if I have it on a countertop and there's the bride getting ready and I don't want to walk over everything so custom function number one if you turn it on it would allow this flash to stay on all the it didn't go to sleep the only time we'll go sleep in when the batteries die which is another reason why I'm so so adamant about battery power so custom function are born eternal in all my flashes I just leave it on when I turn the flash off turn the flash off and that's when it's when I know it's off that helps because the function number eight or number six opinion on what flash you have is going to be what we kind of talked about earlier about the question we had I think it was love cat that basically allows me the flash capacitors to fire whatever is built into it this is really important for what if god offer when you're shooting the bouquet toss I use it all the time because how many times is a retired when you shoot the locate off they throw it and you shoot five times and you only get two or three flashes because the flash by default as I said earlier will on ly fire when the capacitors are fully charged. So what this custom function does is allows whatever is built up in this flash it will fire. So if it's one fourth power and you just get a little bit alike. But it's in that perfect plot with okay is perfect in the air. You'll probably be able to correct it in post which I'm a strong believer not trying to do. I want to get everything in camera, but with today's technology it's, you can do that that's part of photography today in the old days I never said the old days in the film days I never could have done that. But today it is part of your of of photography and so it's very, very powerful. I use that all the time and then I use it on the entrance or exit anything that there's lots of action that I need some flash. I always said that. But be aware again, this is what's going to save you or brewing your flash from overheating. If you have good, strong batteries, you will overheat and it will melt when have my my workshops and I have our flashes and we teach, like, three day workshop just nothing but wireless flash and we put him in smaller groups, and I always use my flash is the wireless flash because that's usually what's going to get damaged and I don't want one of my students flashing it damage I turned that function off because the first time I left it on and they're two or three people in there just shooting away and the flash gets hotter and hotter and hotter until it melts or what's happened to me is and we'll talk about when we get in the zoom you can there's a zoom function which actually is a mechanical function in the flash where this actually will zoom inside in and out which changes the direction of your light we tried to change the zoom but what happens when these flashes get hot everything inside swells and so as we were trying to change the zoom it was just building up pressure building up pressure building up pressure in the entire flash blew up in my hands I scream like a little girl and ran off because I thought a bomb had gone off because literally it was when the five eighty two came out I had just got it it was brand new and I was like this is gonna be great new flat and within two hours the workshop had blown up in my hand literally there's like ten feet away parts of the flash for there so be very careful when you shoot a lot using this function you will burn up your batteries I mean your flash and then the last one, which is kind of nice for me to change my power and I don't know if you can zoom in on this I want to try to do it it also have to do generally to speak I mean to change the power is to hit this button, turn the dial and hit the button when you're doing manual or tl flash that's all you have to do if you're doing wireless, which we're gonna get into eye or on your camera which will be in the next segment is I just adjust the power here and it raises or lower the power of my flat well what's nice about this function is it takes away the center button also I have to do is turn this dial to adjust my power. So for wedding photographers this is in viable information because if I have something fast and take the shot and it's too much power, I can just little real quick and shoot it takes away that one little step animal photographers that you set up flashes the news that new cannon sixty is amazing if you don't have it, it has built in wire us even the new cannon seventy seven zero d the lower and has built in wifi I'm like a little kid again when it comes a wildlife because most photographers when they start the shoot landscape for wildlife because they don't cried they don't yell back at you when you mess up and so I'm in the back and we got squirrels and birds and I'm setting up my camera all over my backyard and it has a little app that you can actually use on your phone and you use live you so I'm sitting in my damn drinking a beer, taking photos of wildlife in my backyard and it auto focus is and does everything you could even take flash photography with it. So I've been able to sit out there amount flashes wirelessly, I know it sounds such a photo nerd I know, but wirelessly and khun be able to take those photos and just power everything from inside. So that's something that's really, really neat is that our change only to all flashes or if you have several flashes out there, are you only going to be able? Are you gonna be able to change them one by one? You can depend, you could do both, you can change both, which is an oration voters will get into, but I like tio set them all on the same channel, all the same power, all the same group, in a sense, and so when I just wanted just all and we'll talk about while I'm doing that because it takes away a lot of the mathematics um I enjoy mathematics. I know that sounds weird, but I have degrees in science, and so it doesn't scare me, but to a lot of people ratio scared the heck out of him. And so I think the mohr you khun, take away thinking about the equipment, thinking about the rations, thinking about anything to create that light, and the more you can interact with your clients, the better photographer you're going to be because in today's age, selling the experience is so much more important. Many times in the actual photograph that you provide them is long as you provide them with a quality photograph, you're going to be in good shape, but you've got to sell that experience great, because if you have the best portfolio in the world and they hate you, they're never gonna come back. And so I found leave him all the same channel, just one. So when I raise this, it'll raise him all up it's a better option.

Class Description

Join Mike Fulton for a comprehensive course on speedlight photography — including how to use this versatile flash system to increase efficiency and expand your creative ability.

In this course, you’ll master all of the many buttons and features of speedlights. You’ll learn about each of your flash’s settings: manual, TTL, direct, bounce, off-camera, and more. You’ll explore the relationship between your camera and your flash, so you can move away from shooting in auto mode and toward capturing more nuanced, dynamic images. You’ll troubleshoot common flash issues and gain confidence manipulating the light from your speedlights to get exactly the look you want in your photographs. Mike will also cover the lighting choices that take an image from being just nice to look at to being highly marketable.

This speedlight photography course is the definitive experience for anyone ready to become an expert user of this powerful, adaptable lighting system.



Someone should tell this nice guy, Mike that he should restrain his comments and do his homework and structure the course and sticks to it. Of 100s of pictures he took not even one was inspiring or great shot. Yes, he did say that "I am not going to make good image", why not I ask? I do believe he is not only a nice individual but knows the tech side, not sure if he can make artistic images.

a Creativelive Student

I am in the midst of watching this class through the videos I purchased and am very impressed by how in depth the information is. VERY happy with this purchase. I like Mike’s ability to make concepts easy to understand and also that he shows you by example what he means. As a direct result of watching this class, while visiting family yesterday I found myself looking at my grandson’s face as light was shining on him through a window and thinking to myself, “Oh, that is short lighting and when he turns his face it becomes broad lighting.” Thanks, Mike. Can’t wait to see what other gems of understanding I have in store for me in the rest of the class videos.


Excellent course, especially when I learnt something within the first 5 mins of watching it. I have found Creative Live courses to be very thorough in detail and equally practical in application. 10 out of 10 Creative Live support has also been 💯 % helpful Thanks guys..