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Speedlight Photography Basics

Lesson 1 of 21

Know your Speedlight: Nikon

Mike Fulton

Speedlight Photography Basics

Mike Fulton

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Lesson Info

1. Know your Speedlight: Nikon

Lesson Info

Know your Speedlight: Nikon

Mike fulton is here to teach speed light basics and I'm telling you he can go way beyond the basics if he could he's been a photographer for over twenty years and he does portrait's he does weddings I mean you name it he shoots it and he's also on the board of directors of the p p a so one of our most favorite organization so uh let's give him a round of applause might come on out thank you, sir, for wanting to you too. I'm really excited I am too I haven't taught a basic foundation class in a while and this is kind of the heart and soul of what I love so I'm excited about awesome me too and you know, you know, you were talking earlier on the speed like I I opened the you know that manual and I thought like I was a nightmare of foreign language we were actually because they translate it absolutely yeah so I'm looking forward to just getting in depth with basic so and that's the whole goal is going to be a very basic easy to understand course for anyone out there awesome great well enjo...

y thanks fund welcome thank you guys for coming um we're going to just start I'll introduce you I am a little bit that's my wife and I we actually have forty five hundred square foot studio down in about an hour south of houston run on the gulf coast is where we're from we do all kinds of work mainly high school seniors in our studio but we do families and babies and everything else and in weddings of course I'm a retired crime scene investigator which is kind of where I learned what I'm going to teach you because back in the day was all film and I had to learn flash because I couldn't just put the body back in the crime scene if I mess up on my photos so it was a foundation aspect I never had a clue what I'm doing today or what I was doing back then the small part of photography would literally control my life today so we're going to kind of go over it you confine me that's our main website we do have a free newsletter I don't ask for your anything we're going to spam you we sent out a couple times a year but you can go there and check this out all right so we're going to get going right ed because I know we have a lot of information and I want to make sure that we cover all the information and it's going to start off extremely basic we're going to go over all the bells and whistles of your flash and then we're going to build up this workshop until you actually will be using to three lights broad light short, light, full sun, the hopefully full son if we have it, we're in seattle, who knows? But either way, the concepts are going to be the same. So we're going to be photographing in here. We're gonna be photographing on the roof and that's what? I want to get across to you two things one you're going to learn flash, you're gonna have a simple understanding of the basic foundation of flash photography. What all the bells and whistles mean the buttons all the little things canon, nikon you can see over here, we have a lot of flashes and we're not going to go over all of them, but I want it in case you have a question, I want to make sure we have your flash available for we can answer it, and two were going to definitely teach you where to put the light placement because I heard some people have portrait experience it's a lot different in a way part of a big soft box, you have to be a lot more accurate with the light placement, and we're gonna go over that you can get the exact same results it's the same concept inside or outside studio with flash, and we're going to really show you how you can build that portrait with a flash by the end of this two day workshop you guys ready? All right, if you have any questions, you let me know all right? So let's start off. What do you actually need when it comes to flash photography? There's a lot of guys in the classroom so you'll probably fall along with me. Us guys usually want the biggest baddest in the best of the latest and the greatest that's just what guy mentality is but you really don't need that when it comes to flash you can start off with a very basic flash a very inexpensive just manual put pure manual flash we have some off brands that all their nikon that air off brands for night counter cannon but they worked within that system. These guys range anywhere between fifty to one hundred fifty dollars, so you don't have to have a lot to get started. I personally started off with this I start off with some some packs back in the day I started off with some other vivid tars I still have some vivid tars sitting in my closet that I use occasionally they're pure manual, we're going to get it out, but they're very inexpensive and they're very effective, so don't think if you're out there and you don't have these big flashes which we will talk about that you can't do anything in this class and I think that's one of the most important aspects that I wanted to bring to attention is so many times today, when you get on these forums or you're learning or you're sitting there listening to another photographer, they're going to have all this huge equipment because it in business for twenty years like me, you don't need that, and I want to start off right off the bat and saying, I understand we all started off somewhere and you could build up so that's that's the first thing. Secondly, then you have the big boys, the cannon than icon in the sonys I'm a canning I, but I also teach nikon also teach sony the concept is the same, so don't get into this nikon cannon, sony battle, the chevy four battle it doesn't matter, they're all great vehicles and they're all going to get you to the exact same place it's, the theory and the concept that I want you all to learn and we can get through it so again, we're going to concentrate a lot on the cannon and the nikon nikon is the nine ten the canon is the six hundred's that's, the top of the line, but they also could be pure manual, just as the ones we talked about before. All right, so let's, start off with a manual guys. What's some of the advantages and disadvantages excuse me with the manual and teo, the manual of the prices less, and I think that's great. If you're getting started, you can literally by two, three, maybe four flashes for the price of one full fledge can or not. And this is exactly the way I started again. I started in law enforcement, you don't have any money in law enforcement, so I had to budget accordingly. And so I found by getting multiple flashes, it would serve my purpose better. But with that, you had to learn again the system. So I started off with a bunch like a set of bunch of vivid tars they're they're easier. You basically, whatever the power, says that's, what's going to go out, and we're going to talk about the power and frack shins, and we're gonna simplify and all that other stuff coming up in a few minutes, and then your mork uncharged control. Where again, gentlemen, I found over teaching the class many years. Men usually like to be control. They want to know exactly what's going off on that flash, they want to know exactly what's going to go off on that camera, and they get frustrated if they don't have full power and control over that where the ladies usually once they learned t t l which we're going to talk about as well, which is through the lens meeting for flash photography it's a lot it's kind of the auto aspect of flash as long as it works they're happy they go about because they're more concentrated on making the photograph then worry about that the geeky technical stuff so we're going to try to find a happy medium since we have some guys and girls in the audience and we're going to go from there the full service flash and the full service flashes that I talk about arm or the candidate an icon in the sony, the tl, the manual, the nine tens and six hundred for the candidate night gone and the price is higher they're usually right around five hundred dollars give or take some there's a higher learning curve because there's a lot more functionality to it these flashes you're so smart much smarter than all of us uh the mathematics behind it which again, when we get into the tt ellen aspects of how it meters is absolutely astounding um does manual details that talked about and then mohr automatic control features this is ivan teoh guy now, but I also use manual and that's the other aspect that I want to get right out of the gate on this class is I don't care if your manual I don't care for teo there's a right and a wrong time to use both, and I want you to learn exactly when those right and wrong times are understand the functionalities, what manual is and the strength of that and understand the functionalities of tl in the strengths and weaknesses of that because it really, really helps. All right? Which flash is best for you in your business? This is a very personal question for me. I really dislike a lot of photographers when they get up on stage and they say you absolutely have to use manual you absolutely have to use teo. You absolutely have to use cannon. You absolutely have to use nikon. I don't care as long as you do the research for yourself in your business and you make that decision it's the right flash for you. So please understand that I'm going to get up here and talk about what I do since it's me teaching and what we've done in our business and it's a proven track record. But just because I might speak cannon just because I might speak night kind, it doesn't mean that I, like one or the other is just what I'm used to and I use. All right, so what all these buttons and icons mean we're gonna go over again the foundation of flash right now we're gonna go over every single little button that we have for cannon and every little single but we have a nikon whose but whose canon hear of that nikon we have one soul nikon okay that's good. I'm glad we have both I want that I didn't mean to pull yeah, but that's good the question in the off brand versus toe on brand absolute lashes, power output is there a big difference and does it matter? Great question can be a big difference but just like and the nikon brand since you're nikon you have the s p nine hundred and you have the s p six hundreds or seven hundreds now there's a power difference between those two but they're very regulated but the off brand generally are gonna have the same basic power output as one of the other main brains the technology is they're they're all about the same and you're going to get what's called a guide number and we could get in that little bit later but that's going to tell you how powerful your flash is and so but generally collector vivid stars some of your flash is made in china that are imported they're all about the same I mean they literally are emulating especially he's up here from china are emulating the canada nikon flashes because that is what the majority of our photographers in the world use so they do it so yeah alright learning the nikon speed hunt nikon nineteen this is the nineteen it is the latest and greatest before this can and six hundred came out the nine hundred came out and it was enough to almost make me want to switch over the nikon is a beautiful flash the nine hundred does have an achilles heel of it overheating if you have a nine hundred you probably realized that the nine ten has been fixed for that and it really really helps I don't know how much has been fixed I still hear some problems but it's a really great flash on and then the seven hundred which is the the junior flashed in a sense is really great for over it's solved the overheating problem do you have a nine ten or which model do you have a nine hundred and six hundred so do you have a overheating problem with your nine hundred if yes yeah it's a one of a flash but they did have that they have fixed it in the nineteen it has helped the six hundred and the eight hundred or field pinnacle I have both those up here is well if you have questions about their amazing flashes well too but we're going to go over the nineteen since it is the latest and greatest and it's really just the foundation you guys, since you're here, you're gonna have this, you guys online, if you buy the programme, you're gonna actually have this sheet as well. You can fall along, so hopefully it'll help you kind of retouch and learn the system, but I just want to kind of go over some of the buttons because this is its amazing I teaches class all the time or flash class for fifteen years now at least, and people don't know what some of the basic foundation functions of a flash are, and I also want to go over the basic foundations because you're going to realize that the cannon and icon are very similar, they don't change a lot. And so that again going back to that, I gotta have a cannon cannons better than icon and you, you, especially guys again, they get violent sometimes when you're trying to talk about one better than the other and it just really doesn't matter, I mean it's a personal preference and you just kind of move on so all right, so right off the bat, the flash air, which is this part right here I'm late on my clicker as we go through this it's just the main flash ed this is actually the mechanical this is really the bells and whistles of what's going to break also I found when you have a flash, if you drop this part down here is a lot more stable. This part right here is the sensitive part that you're gonna break, so you actually need to be a little more careful with that. You the flash and tilting lock release, but I know it sounds stupid, but these flashes rotate um, usually about one hundred eighty degrees and it's very good for bounce flash, which we'll talk about a little bit later and other aspects just try not to turn it too much because I have done this to where it's a little too come off in my hand before some flashes, so be aware of that. I know it sounds a little bit, you get crazier in a wedding and you're slinging it and it will break. So I'm going to try to give you some pros and cons that I've learned over the years and we'll go from there. The battery chamber covered this is seems very logical, but this is a very, very, very sensitive part of the whole flash. I have broken many of these on cannon an icon and the problem is when you break this, your flash is useless. For that session, you're not going to be able to tape it down. You're not able to do anything for the general part, so be very, very careful when you're actually popping this open and there's a little hinge that seems to kind of have to drop in papa don't force that open if you have a problem, work with it and it'll it'll finally open up for you. Hoops willing backward sorry batter chamber cover lock release again for canton. For nikon, you have a little push push button because of the older ones, the six hundred and eight hundred or a lot harder, and this is a lot better. Design the light sensor window for wireless remote flash so if you notice it's right over here, this is on the battery side for nikon, I will say I don't like this is so much a scanning because it's on the side, I'm dyslexic and it does kind of get me confused always have to remember which side it's on. I really like to confront better, but just know we're going to get into wireless later on in the program. This is what receives the signal for your wire when you're in wireless mode right here, not anything appear not anything here, this little part right over here on the side for a nikon, this little indention and I found by teaching workshops that when people are holding this up for wireless that's a perfect little finger group and so they put their finger over that little indention and then they go man this wireless stuff it's horrible I hate it I'm going backto way wireless transmitting device or something of that nature but it's very, very good so just know that's what's picking up the signal built in bounce car this is the little part that's in here if I can get this open because I don't have fingernails um anyway, we'll talk about in a minute there we go. This is a built in balance card we're going to talk about if users tomorrow but this is a built in diffuser in your flash and a lot of people don't even know what it is or they don't use it accurately and we're going to talk about how to use that accurately a little bit later in the program but just know that this is built in and then we also have right after that as you can see the built in wide panel they call it it's basically a diffuser so by default your flash puts out about a twenty four millimeter angled light pattern think about it is they can use your limbs twenty four millimeters here when you pop this down it'll go to about fourteen millimetres so it actually makes a little wider light. You're not get any more power out of your flash he's just going to disperse it a little bit so it can look a little softer. One word of advice, you guys, if you been this backwards and it snaps off, you're flash will not work properly. It will actually not meter correctly for using teo. And it will actually give weird power outputs even in manual mode. Sometimes so be very, very careful with this little guy and been in it backwards, it's, it's in both flashes. I really feel that it's a bad design flaw, that it, when it breaks, it can happen to that it is worse in the canon flashes some than the nikon flash system. But this really can't be again another achilles heel of your flash. Because you have this out like this and you go to put it up and you literally will hit it and it's going, so be very, very careful with that. Then you have your flash panel, which is your flash part right here and be very careful fuse, which will gain, will talk about diffusers. If you something, because these guys come with a little flash diffuser, can you go by if you're outside, maybe not so much because I know we have a lot of people. In seattle, so didn't get really, really hot here I live in top texas southeast texas it's miserable in the summer so I know I have a lot of people watching it in the hot areas you literally will melt this plastic front if you continually fire and not let it cool down that's why the nikon has a built in overheat aspect for it won't happen kanan has that in a sense, but you can override it really easy with custom functions, which we're going to get into show shortly but I have melted many of my flash fronts many cannon has gotten to know me very well through canada professional services me sending my flash is enough to get fixed for melted top so be very careful of that because when you put a diffuser on it doesn't allow it to breathe this much and so that heat builds up and it will melt that plastic flashed filter detector nikon the nineteen as a great system canon has followed it, but this actually comes with the filter set so you can actually like a jail set and it snaps on and it has a sensor here, so when you snap that on the flash knows that it's attached it's a great great little system autofocus assist illuminator right there in your red part right here you basically have some autofocus, so in low light and this is a great advantage period of some of the manual on ly flashes these guys will actually send out like an infrared beam of light which is not visible to the human eye you will on someone little actually see a red like cross here on people if you're in low light and well actually okay there's my person I know and the cannon it bounces back so I know it's ten feet away so the camera will focus ten feet away and little lot so it really, really helps that's a huge advantage of these new modern flash is part of the older ones the flat because in my crime scene days back up I literally I know it sounds bad, but if I'm photograph something in dark and and night which is still a great tip for today for photographers cared a little flashlight with me if you have an iphone or you can put a little flashlight app on and I would actually pop that flashlight on to give me enough like focus and turn that off and you can take the photograph ready ready light indicator and remote mode when you're in wireless remote when this isn't slave mode and so it's up in a corner somewhere this is going to be telling you that the flash is ready charge just like the red light when I turn this on just like that so when it's on my camera that one works when it's in wireless remote you have this and cannon has the same function well we'll talk about hearing shortly and the external battery our power plug right here underneath a little nikon is um a little plug if I can get it off again sorry that basically allows you to plug an external battery pack nikon with the nine ten has kind of got some of their nikon people and they put an extra little and we're going to talk about it you know they put extra little digit in their little notch that now requires a different battery pack some of your older battery packs will go into the nine tens but the new nine ten batter pack will not go back to the eight hundreds so just be aware that they say it's a voltage issue which I I agree with it could have problems on we'll talk more about that when we get into the external battery pack part of the program and in the light sensor for the non tt auto flash this is a nice little feature that canada I mean nikon has ifyou're in non ti tl on again we'll go into this it literally kind of helps you it kind of helps in a sense of teal aspect we're going to go into too much just know that it's some advanced technology they have in there and we'll go into a little bit a little bit later I don't want to get too far. Advance right now. External autofocus assist illuminator contact so again, this is what the part that actually fitz because basically the camera needs to know that this flashes on and they literally communicate back and forth much like your limbs that goes on your camera you have all those little so when it pops on, if your sensor gets dirty the lin's want autofocus correct or something that nature it's the same thing. So if you have an older flash or this flash has been maybe at the beach on the sand mud and these get dirty you will have some problems with your folks seen or shooting or something ages so make sure all these little sensors are clean and these contacts are clean. You were photographing the locking pin. This is, um, actually kind of like the night kind locking, paying a lot of people don't it's very simple. It just locked you slide it on it, locks over cannon in the older ones have a have a twist version and sometimes you can twist it so much that it kind of hard to get off. You kind of jiggle your flash a little bit to get off this this is a better system, I think then what the cannon system is for me the only problem you have is you need when you locked this it's really hard to show on camera but there's a little bitty pin that pops up right here that is the actual locking pin if you don't slide your flash on all the way and you locked this pin down you'll think it's on the top your camera seated and it's not in the first hit it'll come off and break because I broke quite a few flashes and so the screw down for cannon actually is a little bit better and allowing you not to do that where this is such a quick easy motion that you not come people have to be a little more where really make sure that flashes seated and then lock it down before you use it and then the accessory shoot contacts again this is all the little pins here kanan has its own little pattern nikon has its own little pattern they all do the same thing it's just different patterns but I literally can look at the bottom of this foot and I can tell that it's a nikon flash pair to a cannon flash which again we'll get into in a minute but there in a different pattern and so what they all do the same thing and then the mounting foot which we just talked about all right so that's the basics of that so let's go to the back of the nikon flash and then again, the flash head tilting angle scale this is really nice a lot of people don't use it, I use it all the time a lot of people just want to just either go here or here it hasn't angle I didn't use this for years because I thought it was absolutely ridiculous thing to have on the back of the flash and so one day I just literally said, what it's gotta be there, something that that's some reason it has to be there and so I started researching it and it actually is really nice when I I'm such a photo nerd I literally set there, which is what we're going to do a lot. I said they're did test shots on paper it's seventy five and sixty and forty five to see how the light patterns fall off and I really highly suggest you guys doing that as well in your house or something to really see what happens when you want half lighter, how it falls off because you can actually angle the harshness that direct light above and let it fall off on your person with different angles. And so it really helps if you want to get fine tuning, you know exactly what angle you're gonna be it and then the flash had rotating angle scale there's another scale which a lot of people don't know inside here that also does the same thing that tells you exactly how much angle rotation you're et which is really nice and in the sink terminal cover which is nice if you're going to hook up a pocket wizard or radio popper or anything else you have this seat cover this is a really, really see them in time going away from this type of cord it's ah it's an older technology hookup but again with so many wireless transmitting devices using this it's kind of difficult to get away from it but this is where you would hook up a wireless transmission device and in the sink terminal exactly what we just talked about and then you have the lcd panel which is of course obviously we have that on the back which is a great we'll go in a minute and then the flash ready indicator which we talked about is the rid the red button when your batteries charged up and then finally the locking pin it again for the for the mounting foot. All right then last but not least on the nikon is we have these buttons and this is I don't know what he was it difficult for you to learn this this flash the nine hundred with the buttons? I still don't know it exactly and that's exactly where I was going I was going to say this is an improvement I do feel that the nikon they took some positives and negatives. They took some positives from canon and made it a very nice on and off switch. The eight hundred six hundred is a little confusing when it comes to the buttons and you have menus and you have to go down, and I really think that they really came leaps and bounds with technology in this where one or two buttons does multiple functions and then the other, which we'll talk about, depending on what those air set on we'll display. So the mo button selects the flash mode, and I think that's kind of the heart of of this flash in a sense, it really gonna control many things, and then your menu button displays the custom functions. Custom settings excuse me, which are appear your function one, two and three buttons so your function one, two and three buttons. Depending on what these two buttons are set on, you will display so all your functionalities, all the control aspects are controlled by those so very much like the new cannon six hundreds, which will go into where you have menu buttons, where you just push him anyone and you too many. Three this is basically the equivalent again selects selects items to be configured, their sine function settings for each button difference according to the flash mode and the setting of each flash so very, very basic so don't get confused with all these buttons just know when you just these buttons different functionalities will come up on the top so did you learn this one? Pretty easy you learned this one pretty easy. I thought yes and in the test fine, but I mean that's that's pretty basic. You push it, it's going to test fire. I know that sounds basic, but it's actually important if you push this and the red light doesn't come back on it's battery issue and one thing you're gonna learn with these guys is you have to have a lot of battery power, especially in t t l mode and there's ways to be able to tell when your batteries are weak just from visuals. Alright, locking release, which we talked about. This is just you have to push this little button to get into master slave or off. I think, it's, this is probably the best design upgrade for the eight hundred to the nine hundred siri's to get into the master to the remote. It took a little a little getting used to with your menu system again. I love the the eight hundred. Um, I'm a cannon guy and I still have an eight hundred I think it's one of the best flashes that was ever created up to this date um until the nineteen came out with the nine hundred came out everybody was excited with achilles heel the overheating these guys were prized possessions I literally had workshops where these things seem to disappear and I had to go track it down. I mean, people didn't want to I could have sold this for almost the price of two nine hundreds at one point, because everybody wanted all right power switches again for the modes we talked about and then the selector dial which is right here very similar to cannon as well. You basically have a selected ill and in the center you have okay or set button so that is basically really quick the run down off all the nikon stuff. Yes. Do we have a question using nikon? Sb seven hundred so if you break a flash body near the mount shoe, is it cost effective to be repaired? And I think I might just add on to that what pieces can you break and repair slash? When are you pretty much out of luck? Generally, yes, it is cost effective to to fix a flash because they are anywhere between their upto almost five hundred dollars to seven hundred's a little less seven hundred I think is a great flash by the way it's less money but it has the master and slave feature in it which most of the in a sense, the junior flashes don't have, so I really, really like that. But as a general rule, because of the cost, they are cost effective. Fix. You have the nikon professional services. Cannon has the cps, the cannon professional services. If you have a bunch of gear, are highly just getting involved one of those, because they will be able to fix it. I know for me. I send all my flashes in rotation once a year, to canada to get fixed and and touched up, because I still have a bunch of five eighties and five, eighty ones. I mean twos and six hundred and so it's a business. And just like anything else, you have to keep your equipment up to here. And so, yes, the answer would be, yes, it is cost effective in short.

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..