Considering adding a Speedlight to my kit

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by alissa_volbeda, Nov 14, 2016.

  1. I am not an expert, but just starting to learn and I want to add a speedlight to my kit, but I don't know where to start. Im tyring to take some indoor 'in-use' product shots.
    I have a Canon 6D and was suggested the Canon 430eX III RT. That speedlight seems good from what I've read, but I'm not for sure. Additionally, I have no idea what I would need to to be able to use it off camera. I'm looking for any suggestions.

    Really know very little able triggers and such... Do I need a transmitter or anything to connect with the flash? And which style is recommended?
    I'm starting with 1 off camera flash, but if I want to go for a 2 flash system how do they interact/ does a 2 flash off-camera system make sense?
    Does a off-camera flash need any extra battery?
    Thinking about a soft box because I'm used to them, but should i just start with an umbrella or similar first?

    Looking for recommendations on light stands, soft boxes, umbrellas, transmitter, flash mount, or anything else I need.
    Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!
  2. You posted these questions three days ago in a different forum. Have you looked at the answers?
    Find it here:
  3. Yup. They were helpful, but another member suggested posting here as well. Just looking for any help I can get.
  4. A system speedlight is nice to have in general. - No Canon experience here beyond SCA 300 & film bodies, where the AF assist beam only worked when the central AF spot was selected.
    Speedlights need batteries. - I recommend Eneloop rechargeable ones that self discharge slowly in case of AA & AAA cells. - Everything else is too much hassle and annoying.
    Maybe read through the Strobist blog?
    In general you have multiple options for triggers and stuff:
    • You could use optical slaves to fire additional manual lights. - They work fine as long as you are the only photoghrapher at the scene and use a similar dumb manual flash to trigger them. - With a system speedlight you generate a pre flash before you'll expose your picture. Chinese ones are about 6Euro/$ including shipping.
    • You could go for cables and have somebody trip over them and tear your light stands down or curse them for being too short. - cables come in 2 variants: sync cables for dumb flashes and others to use TTL flash control.
    • Radio triggers: Needed at weddings & such where others use flash too. Maybe Canon have their own system for them or an optical slave system for TTL flash and it was surely cloned by Yongnuo & similar brands.
    Maybe elaborate the product shots you are planning to do a bit to get better information. - It makes a difference if we are talking about a laptop used in a tiny room with white walls or industrial machinery bigger than a single truck load in an endless hall with distant and dark ceiling.
    If you are doing bigger than tabletop products and plan to print big, which might require shooting at your basic ISO setting, I recommend looking at the guide numbers of flashes and getting the stronger ones. Stuff like softboxes will eat light; about 2 f-stops. Bouncing flashes eats light too; distance flash wall + back to subject minus again probably 2 f-stops.
    I am not sure if softboxes are a bright idea. - I use them in the studio, but an umbrella is easier to set up and cheaper.
    Light stands come in various kinds. - If you have others walking around you might like sturdier ones? - How high do you need them? do you have the means to transport them?
    For an ultra portable kit, I'd get a couple of the music sheet stand inspired ones. For occasional use out of a car's trunk you can't beat the pricing of Chinese mass produced studio gear. For regular use somewhere I'd look for heavy footed stands on wheels. Harder to trip over them and easier to move them, but I don't fancy hauling them across the country on my motor scooter or carrying them anywhere in general.
    Figure out which path you want to go lighting gear wise.
    Cheapest would be dumb manual heritage speedlights on optical slaves, maybe even bought used. - they require chimping trial and error maybe even flash metering but can get most jobs done if you have time.
    I haven't tried E-TTL solutions seriously. -They work for the occasional shot with a mid range flash in an umbrella triggered by the camera's built in one, or manually pointed towards the ceiling, triggered the same way. In my Pentax system I have to adjust exposure compensation in each ETTL slave individually.
    If you are hauling lightstands and softboxes, why not get monolights instead of speedlights? - maintaining a bunch of (spare) batteries for speedlights sucks. - I mean; yes, you can charge 4 AAs within 2 hours but your 3 flashes need 12 of them and backup, so you are down to buying 3 chargers. And you need some of the smarter ones to weed out faulty individual cells...
    3 of your Speedlights + a Canon ST-E3-RT trigger unit (no clue if you need one or if your camera has something built in - read it's manual?) are already 1000Euro/$; no batteries chargers lightstands and modifiers included yet! - I see 1k5 Euro/$ spent without shopping like crazy.
  5. AJG


    If you're going to be working indoors you will have access to power which makes AC strobes a better choice for many subjects. Two big benefits: modeling lights which can help you visualize your lighting effects and a lot more power to enable stopping down when you need depth of field and need to use base ISO for maximum quality. This will necessitate heavier light stands and a flash meter for best results, but the pictures can be much better when you learn how to use the equipment, and the cost won't be a lot more than getting dedicated battery powered flashes. The trade off will be more weight, power and versatility in reflector choice versus lighter weight and lower power. Your choice...
  6. "Im tyring to take some indoor 'in-use' product shots."​
    Alissa, not many people use speed lights for this type of professional photography, except perhaps those trying to sell speed-lights. : -)

    Andrew Gillis' post above tells you why.

    So, it depends on how serious you are about doing such work, how often, and if you will continue with it and/or expand such assignments.

    Also, sometimes it helps if you reference the type of images you make, or provide a link to some shots that show what you would like to do. Is is much easier to recommend solutions with such provided information.

    - Marc
  7. All very helpful.
    Yes, shoots in garages or living room-sized space with occasional outdoor scenes. When I said "indoor 'in-use' product shots", I may have been better off saying lifestyle images with models; focusing less on the products and more on the lifestyle. These shoots being maybe once a month probably within a 50 mile radius from me.
  8. +1 on reading the 'Strobist' blog.
    It is a very good start for using shoe strobes for most work.
    While some people use the proprietary TTL system strobes from Canon and Nikon, there are a LOT of people (including me) using older strobes with good effect.
    If you are in a controlled environment (no one else firing off flashes), I use optical slaves to trigger the remote strobes. I find them more reliable than the less expensive RF slaves.
    The strobist recommends an umbrella, because it is a lot more portable and a lot less expensive than a soft box. A soft box can be a pain to assemble and disassemble, so it is more suited for studio work than on site/location work. But with an umbrella, you do not have the control that you do with a soft box.
  9. The best advice I received from George Simmons my professor from UCLA learn how to shoot with light first. Also look at some YouTube videos on off camera flashes. Trust me it helps. High Fashion Photographer Dino Mosley

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