Learning to use my first serious flash (430EX II)

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by milan.ilnyckyj, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. I am about to receive my first serious flash (a Canon 430EX II) and am wondering what sort of projects would be good for teaching me flash techniques.

    I have a Rebel XS, kit lens, tripod, 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, and a 50mm f/1.8. I am getting a Sto-Fen omnibounce along with the flash. I also have an Elan 7N body, if people think it would be worthwhile to try shooting some film, as well.

    What should I try before investing in brackets, umbrellas, etc? Which flash accessories should I consider buying first?

    Some possible project areas I have thought about include indoor portraiture, high speed flash, and macro. Any suggestions would be appreciated. All told, I want to learn more about lighting and photography in general, as well as produce some interesting and high-quality images.

  2. I'd start with indoor flash. Learn to bounce the flash off the ceiling or other surfaces at your disposal. A small room will not be a challenge so start there, then find bigger rooms. Eventually you will be used to bouncing off of surfaces that are 30 feet up. It can be done, and it's a much more pleasing light. Some situations will just not work with bounce but in my opinion it's the best thing for a beginner to learn.
    Set the camera to M
    Set the aperture to an acceptable depth of field
    Set the shutter to a decent speed (above your cameras focal length and bellow your X-sync speed [1/200] usually)
    Press the shutter release half way to meter, adjust accordingly. Your meter won't be able to tell what the flash will do (there's too many variables) so it just measures ambient. You will want to be underexposed. If your no where close to a proper exposure up the ISO. Experiment. You will get the hang of it.
    When all else fails use P mode {panic}
  3. Check out strobist.blogspot.com for what you can do with an off-camera flash. I tried mine out for the first time last week. Things will never be the same.
  4. Two things you need to do if you are serious. 1) Get a book called Light, Science and Magic and read it from cover to cover. 2) Go out there and start shooting. When you create an image with a digital camera it doesn't cost any money to look at the image. So just shoot to your heart's content and look at your images to see what the different lighting do to your subjects.
  5. I ordered a copy of "Light, Science and Magic" and plan to start experimenting extensively as soon as Amazon gets the flash to me.
  6. A related question
    I want to be able to use the 430EX off-camera, but I am confused about what kind of extra hardware I need. A shop I called said I need a $120 OCE3 off-camera cable.
    Are there any cheaper cables that do the same thing?
    Are there any affordable wireless options?
    I want something that enables me to experiment with light stands, umbrellas, etc.
  7. There are two ways to use the flash off the camera. One is to simply fire the flash and the other is to have the flash retain all the automatic exposure features (eTTL). The reason why the off camera cable is so expensive is because it has a unit that you mount on the hot shoe of the camera. That unit measures the distance of the subject and the amount of light reflected off the subject so it will tell the flash to shut off after the correct amount of exposure.
    You could use an inexpensive sync cable but you will fire the flash in manual mode and you have to do all the flash exposure yourself manually.
    Another way to fire the flash remotely is to use a wireless remote. Yet another way is to get a slave unit that will trigger your flash with the small flash on your camera. Neither one of these methods will do automatic exposure with your flash. You will have to figure out the exposure manually.
  8. I will read "Light, Science and Magic" and then decide what sort of equipment it makes the most sense to buy.
    Eventually, I want to have a couple of stands and strobes, so as to be able to shoot studio-type portraits in various environments.
  9. Here are some of my first experimental shots with the flash, a tracing paper backdrop, and a reflector:
  10. Yesterday, I finally got my hotshoe-to-PC adapter and started enjoying my wireless triggering system:
    I look forward to learning a lot more about lighting.

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