Canon has announced a shiny new speedlight. The Canon 470EX-AI. It contains a new feature that’s apparently supposed to make life easier for those who use on-camera flash, but I’m really not entirely sure why. That feature is a new motorised head which allows the flash to re-orient its head when you “double half press” the shutter button. Call me cynical, but this seems to be a solution looking for a problem.
In his previous tutorial, Malaysian photographer Andrew Boey showed you why a white wall is the only backdrop you’ll ever need. After turning white to black, in his latest tutorial, he teaches you to get all kinds of vibrant colors from a plain white wall. You don’t need a backdrop or Photoshop, but some speedlights, light modifiers and color gels.
As some of you already know, I recently developed and released a brand new lighting workshop called Creatively Simple Lighting. In that workshop, one of the core foundations of what I teach is how to get creative with simple lighting and simple lighting doesn’t get any simpler than when you use Speedlights. At their most basic, Speedlights can simply sit on top of your camera and illuminate whatever is in front of you. If you want to get a little more creative however, the first thing to do is to get that flash off your camera and step into the vast world of off-camera flash.
Off-camera flash is where it gets interesting and it’s very easy to throw a cheap softbox on your speedlight and take some pleasant yet fairly basic shots. So how do we make it a little more engaging without spending a fortune? Well, as part of my workshop I wanted to prove that all the setups I was teaching could be achieved with a couple of Speedlights and some very basic modifiers. The following article is the result of me dusting off my Speedlights and playing with some homemade modifiers to see if I could create some engaging and creative effects without it costing me a penny.
The flash market used to be rather simple. You go to one company for speedlights, usually your camera manufacturer or a specialist brand like Metz. Then, you go to another company, such as Bowens and Elinchrom, for strobes when you needed more power. The strobe market stayed largely stable, but then Yongnuo came along and upset the speedlight scene quite drastically.
Last night, as I was in bed, browsing Facebook on my iPad, as you do, I ran across a post over on Flash Havoc. Described as “something of an open letter to Yongnuo”, I thought it seemed to hit the mark pretty well on many points. So, here’s some of my own thoughts.
David Hobby is the man who started off the whole strobist movement. He literally is the Strobist. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him on video, and he took a bit of a break from the site for a while, too. He is now back, with a new free Lighting 103 course, focusing on colour.
The Phoblographer caught up with David recently at the Fujifilm Festival in New York City. Naturally, out came the camera, for David to impart some of his wisdom. Specifically, it’s aimed at those thinking about, or looking into getting their first flash.
The Profoto A1 speedlight we told you about a few days ago is now official. And yes, it’s just as expensive as we expected. At $995 buyers will have a pretty high level of expectation from this little flash. But it looks like it will stand up to the job just fine, and fits nicely into the existing Profoto ecosystem.
It looks to be about what you’d expect from a speedlight made by Profoto. But, what’s particularly interesting about it, is the shape of the head. But not only the shape, it appears to essentially have its own built in MagMod style accessory system. This review from photographer Neil van Niekerk walks us through the unit, its specs, features and capabilities.
If you’re new to studio portraits, there’s just so much to learn about the light. Also, you have a choice between strobes/speedlights and continuous LED lights. If you can’t decide where to start, the latest video from Joe Edelman could be helpful and get you on the right track.
In this video, Joe breaks down the differences between these two types of lighting. You’ll learn their main uses, and also why it’s good to use one or the other in different situations.
Well, this is an exciting bit of news. It looks like Profoto will soon be announcing their first hotshoe flash. Yes, that’s right, a Profoto speedlight. It’s a bold, but inevitable, move, I think. The existing flash companies have to do something to survive and compete, or they disappear. There’s so much more gear available now, and a lot more pressure on companies to innovate and really deliver what users want instead of what the company simply wants to sell.
Well, it looks like Yongnuo finally jumped on the Lithium Ion battery powered flash train. Releasing its first Li-Ion powered speedlight, the YN686EX-RT, the new Yongnuo is designed for the Canon RT system. The flash was first mentioned a couple of months ago, but now it’s available to buy.
The YN686EX-RT features a 2000mAh Li-Ion battery, capable of producing over 750 full power flashes on a single charge. It integrates a 2.4Gh transceiver that can act as either a master or a slave for Canon’s RT system. But, it will also work as an slave in Nikon’s CLS/AWL optical system.
The camera’s hotshoe is generally the last place you want to place a flash as your main light source. Sometimes, though, it can’t be helped. It’s common at weddings and events where you’re constantly walking around looking for the shot. It’s more about the memory than the quality of the light. Although that doesn’t mean we should neglect it entirely.
This video from photographer Ed Verosky shows us three ways we can modify the light coming from a flash on top of our camera. Ed admits that none of these solutions is ideal, but then putting a flash on the camera isn’t ideal, either. But these can go some way towards reducing that harshness of a bare, direct on-camera flash.