digital photography tips with Digital Photo Mentor Darlene Hildebrandt

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Tips for using Canon Speedlites

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How to use flash is something I get asked about a lot. I do cover it in some detail in my live workshop on Available Light and on my Photo Travel Tours, but if you can’t make it out to one of those here’s some links on some great how to tips, especially for Canon shooters. If you use another brand or model a lot of the information still applies but I’ll give some alternative links for Nikon and more generic lighting help as well.

Syl Arena – Canon Speedlite Specialist

Syl Arena is a specialist in using and teaching how to use, Canon flashes. I stumbled upon this video of a two hour talk he did where he covers a lot of material including: what flash to buy and why, the different features of each model, using remotes to fire them off camera, using high speed sync to freeze things in mid air, (like smashing pumpkins, which he’s a bit famous for) using multiple flashes at once and how to do ratios.

Without further ado, here’s Syl!

Additional resources and reading

Speedliter’s Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites

I’m going to assume you found that extremely informative, as I did and that you want more. In the video he mentioned a few things including his books and his web site. You can find links to those below

Lighting for Digital Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots (Using Flash and Natural Light for Portrait, Still Life, Action, and Product Photography)

Syl’s web site, PixSylated (yes I agree, very “punny”)

Some videos and link to Joe McNally’s site. Joe is a shooter for National Goegraphic and has over 30 years experience a lot of stories. He is known as a master of lighting!

Below is a link to two of Joe’s books also on lighting, and using small flashes.

Action steps – what to do next

Well, after you watch the video above that is! Go make some images using your speedlite or small flash and report back. Was this helpful? What challenges are you still having? How can I help solve them?

Now go photograph something!

Disclaimer: the links to products on this page are affiliate links in most cases, and yes I do get a small commission from each one sold. What that does is it allows me to continue writing articles for free on this site and providing information to at no cost to you, but unfortunately life is expensive and I have to pay the bills and I like to eat too. I hope that if you wish to buy one of these items mentioned you will use the links provided. Thanks for your support.


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