A few weeks ago, I blogged that I just bought some new Speedlites from Canon! Well, I am still excited, but not as excited as I thought I would be.
This review/tutorial is for people with Canon cameras that are older than 2011.
I have a EOS-1D Mark V. It’s a big fat camera and I love it. But I bought these flashes under the impression that I could use them to their fullest – I cannot. I only have the ability to use them on MANUAL mode. And in certain situations, that is PERFECT and ALL I need. Really! Detail shots and portraits are the perfect example, but I was hoping to have a dynamic change in my reception shots. I’ll really just gain consistency with firing and that is all until I update my camera! Do I NEED to update my camera? Not immediately, but they do only last so long! So although I’m bummed that these flashes won’t work the way I had thought when I made the purchase, I will have gained consistency. And that is valuable!
Here is a mini tutorial on how I plan to use these flashes just so you can get an idea of what I’m working with. I have a light on camera, and a light off camera on a stand. Pictured below is my set up. I have a mini softbox to soften the light JUST a touch so I’m not bare bulbing my subject. It also appears like a spot light if you accidentally shoot into it – not a piece of equipment or the harsh speedlite that it is.
Idealy, you start with a light meter, but I’m just going to start with the “black box” technique. I learned this from Casey Templeton when I learned to use speedlites manually. Basically, get to the point where you have a black photo – in the series below, you can see that I have a TOUCH of ambient window light, but the flash will overpower this!
PHOTO 1. ISO125 // f2.0 // 1/200 – this gave me a black box – the lightest black box I wanted to go.
PHOTO 2. I’ve now turned on my flashes. They are connected wirelessly via the radio transmission, but are on MANUAL because my older camera does not allow they to work on the ETTL [Auto] flash settings. The catch using manual is that they both will reflect the SAME settings no matter what, where as ETTL will change depending on where your subject is in relationship to the camera. Idealy, I’d want to use ETTL at a reception because people are always moving! But I’ve used Manual before so this really isn’t a huge hinderance to my game. Anyway, they are both on 1/16th power and are located the same distance away from the subject. Overall, it is a pretty flat photo. It’s lit, but with the light is “boring”.
PHOTO 3. In this photo, I moved the slave [the light on the stand] 1/2 the distance to the subject, making it 1 stop brighter. This allows the highlight [compare the petals and the back of the vase to PHOTO 2]. It is a more dynamic image than the second. This is similar to what I would have at a reception, but I’d allow more ambient light in to get the “glow” of a reception! IE, I’d see more in the “black box” image.
So, now what? Let’s play with some variables. The only photo with 2 lights impacting the image is #3.
I really love lighting with speedlites because they are light, easy to change, unobtrusive, and give a good pop of light for their size. I’m excited to bring this “new” set up to weddings to really work the environment I’m given and manipulate the light! What are you using for lighting?