Tagged: flash

Recommendations

This page is for product recommendations that I’m making to friends and blog readers. They’ll be listed here first, until I’ve had a chance to write an extended article about it. Check them out! Every time you click on one of these referral links to a featured retailer like Amazon.com and B&H Photo and Video, I get a small referral commission that helps keep this site running, and it comes at no additional cost to you. Thanks for any support!

* Selfie Stick: You know you want one!

* GoPro accessories: Just about every accessory you need.

* Profoto BatPac Portable Power Source: Order yours from B&H.

* Rokinon 14mm Ultra Wide Angle Lens for Canon. Order yours from B&H or Amazon.

Here’s the most recently article written based on a request for product recommendations. Check it out! Gear for a Serious Portrait Photographer

Gear for a Serious Portrait Photographer

In photography class this week, one of my students wanted to discuss what a solid upgrade for a serious portrait photographer might entail. Here’s what we came up with for a Nikon user:

* Nikon D810 DSLR Camera (Body Only): A serious DSLR with full frame sensor and excellent low-light performance. Order yours from B&H or Amazon.

* Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED: An excellent “walkabout lens” for everyday shooting and wider shots incorporating the subject’s environment. I use the Canon equivalent of this about 75% of the time on my DSLR. Order yours from B&H or Amazon.

* Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F/2.8G ED VR ll: This rugged telephoto lens is for when you’re farther away from the subject or you want to shoot in much tighter and with the pleasing effect of lens compression. I use the Canon equivalent of this lens a lot as a second lens when covering events. Order yours from B&H or Amazon.

* Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm F/1.4G: It’s always useful to have a fast prime lens with a wide aperture to create beautiful portraits and background blur (bokeh). Order yours from B&H or Amazon.

* Nikon SB-910 AF Speedlight: Flashes are not merely for providing a fill light. The ability to add light to a scene means you can shape the light to create a mood that matches your own creative vision. Order yours from B&H or Amazon.

* Nikon SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander Unit: You’ll need this as branch out in flash photography and want to have more control over your lighting setups. Order yours from B&H or Amazon.

Gosh, what a fun shopping list! =] Additionally, if a photographer wanted to get into nice strobe kits at some point, this is the one I’ve been daydreaming about:

* Profoto D1 Air 500 w/s 2 monolight studio kit: This is a portable lighting solution with some serious power and solid construction. Order yours from B&H or Amazon.

Anyway, please let me know if you can think of anything else that a serious photographer might want to consider when upgrading their main portrait kit!

Finally, here are the Amazon Holiday Deals in Electronics and B&H Holiday Gifts & Deals pages to check daily for deals this season.

Don't forget to check out the Recommendations page for the latest products that I'm showing to friends and blog readers based on their requests. I love talking about this stuff, and every time you click on a referral link from this website to a featured retailer like Amazon.com and B&H Photo and Video, I get a small commission that helps keep this site running, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support, and please contact me if you need any recommendations!

Basic TTL Flash Strobes: Super Quick Review

Should I buy an external flash? What’s a flash with good features and price?

If you’re in a big hurry to get an external flash, go ahead and just get the YongNuo YN-468 II for Canon or the YongNuo YN-468 II for Nikon cameras. Otherwise, keep reading to better understand why you should even care about getting this accessory.

There are lots of reasons to have at least one external flash in your camera bag. The primary reason to get something better than the built-in flash on most cameras is that built-in flashes produce in-your-face lighting that is considered unflattering, uncreative, and sometimes downright ugly. Direct flash is responsible for most cases of red eye, hard shadows on the wall behind your subject, and distracting reflections from shiny surfaces in your scene, among other problems that diminish the quality of a photo. Using an external flash gives the photographer added versatility by allowing the light to be “bounce” into the scene from a nearby wall or ceiling instead of directly from the camera’s point of view. This can result in more pleasant, softer lighting and natural-looking portraits.

With that in mind, most budding photographers probably should get an external flash that supports TTL metering, which is a kind of “auto” mode for flashes. When the external flash with TTL is mounted on the camera’s hotshoe, the camera’s computer helps calculate how much light to output through the flash at the moment that you take the photo. In TTL mode, the main control a photographer has over the flash power is to increase or decrease the flash compensation level, usually with the + or – buttons on the flash unit. For example, if you took a photo of a kid at a birthday party and the background of your photo looks good but your subject in the front is lit too brightly by the flash, you can press the – button to decrease the flash power for the scene before shooting again.

The external flash I have tried that has the best price-to-features ratio is the YongNuo YN-468 II TTL Speedlite. There is a YongNuo YN-468 II for Canon as well as a YongNuo YN-468 II for Nikon cameras. It sports a basic TTL mode as well as a Manual mode for when you want exacting control over the flash power. If I knew nothing else except that you wanted to try an external flash for your Canon or Nikon DSLR, this would be my recommendation.

If you want to save some money and you are comfortable using the Manual mode of your camera, then you may also want to investigate the YongNuo YN-468 II, which works for both Canon and Nikon. Keep in mind that it truly does not offer any “auto” mode, so you must dial in the exact flash power that you want. That’s the level of control that I want, so I appreciate the simplicity and price of this unit. I often use up to four YongNuo YN-468 II units in my professional work, but it took years of training, experimentation, and practice to consistently achieve the results that I want in my flash photography.

For a further discussion about flash photography gear, please see the “Gear for a New Strobist” article.

Don't forget to check out the Recommendations page for the latest products that I'm showing to friends and blog readers based on their requests. I love talking about this stuff, and every time you click on a referral link from this website to a featured retailer like Amazon.com and B&H Photo and Video, I get a small commission that helps keep this site running, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support, and please contact me if you need any recommendations!

Gear for a New Strobist

One student recently asked me about what gear to get if he’s just getting into flash photography after watching me work on-location. I wanted to share the thread for others who may be similarly interested.

What do I need to get started in flash photography? I want adequate gear at a student photographer price.

Though flash photography is a challenging field, you don’t need a lot of fancy gear to start! The combination of gear I recommend provides excellent performance at a very reasonable price that should fit any budget:

External Flash: I own six YongNuo YN-460ii external flash units because they are just that good. They have the same power output as the much more expensive Canon 560EXii. However, they are fully manually operated, so there won’t be fancy features like ETTL (Auto) flash modes or a battery power indicator. But the power levels are super easy to adjust, unlike the more complicated flashes. And if I break them at a shoot, I don’t have to cry.

Wireless Transmitter: The CowboyStudio NPT-04 Wireless Flash Trigger work well for me — I’ve never bothered trying Pocket Wizards, which don’t have much benefits if you’re using cheap manual flashes anyway. If you are using multiple manual flashes and want to save some money, considering getting the 2-Pack Flash Triggers.

Flash Stand Bracket / Umbrella Holder: Manfrotto 026 Swivel Umbrella Adapter: It’s super solid.

Umbrella: You really don’t need anything fancy. Get cheap ones like the CowboyStudio 43-inch Umbrella and replace them if they break. =]

Light Stands: CheetahStand C8 light stands are AWESOME. Super useful for when you need to move your light around a lot, like on-location portraits. Slightly less important if they’re going to stay put for a while. One annoying thing is that due to the very design of the mechanism, the CheetahStand hates being on uneven ground and the legs have a hard time deploying in grassy areas. So I’ve had to figure out ways to use my foot to engage the mechanism in grass, and sometimes I have to get creative with securing the stand if the ground is not even. But if you have an assistant, then none of these issues are a big deal. =]

Gels: Rosco Strobist Collection gels give you probably all the colors you’ll ever need for color correction / matching, and creating different moods. Use CTO / orange gels to simulate sunset, or purple & yellow on two different strobes to create a dance club look. If you don’t want to get a fancy gel holder, you can easily attach them to the flash using gaffer’s tape.

Okay, that’s all I can think of to get you on your way!

Don't forget to check out the Recommendations page for the latest products that I'm showing to friends and blog readers based on their requests. I love talking about this stuff, and every time you click on a referral link from this website to a featured retailer like Amazon.com and B&H Photo and Video, I get a small commission that helps keep this site running, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support, and please contact me if you need any recommendations!