Shadowing - and Other Revolutionary Ideas For Speedliting - part 1 of 1 2 3 4 5

Published 01/08/2010


There is no doubt that all of the technology packed into our modern cameras, lenses, and lighting gear has made it easier for photographers to get more done with less knowledge and hands-on control. We've grown accustomed to letting our gear decide on the focus point and exposure settings - usually with frequent success.

What is not so certain is the quality of light that results when we slip a Speedlite into the hot shoe.

Novice photographers often react to their first, typically dismal, flash photographs with the thought that they don't actually need a flash - they just need to dial the ISO up to an obscenely high number. In response, I say, "even at ISO 12,600, bad light is still bad light."


As a professional, I have evolved to the point where I shoot Speedlites almost exclusively. My bulky monolights and heavy studio packs now collect dust. Speedlites are light, fast, powerful, and smart. I appreciate the speed and convenience of being able to wirelessly control any number of them from the back of my camera. I also appreciate the vast creative horizons that have opened to me through high-speed sync, a feature that cannot be duplicated by any other type of flash.

To those who have dismissed Speedlites as being, at-best, fill flash devices and-at worse-virtually useless, I say you are half-right. A Speedlite, in automatic mode on the top of your camera, can create useful fill light. As an alternative to dismissing the many other benefits that Speedlites can provide, let me suggest that a revolution in the way you approach lighting is in order.

So, here are four of my philosophies about lighting with Speedlites - along with tips on the gear that I use to craft many different types of light.

Create Shadows - To create interesting light, create interesting shadows. Most photographers think that learning to light is important. Let me suggest, quite sincerely, that you need to spend as much time learning to 'shadow'.

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1st Published 01/08/2010
last update 07/04/2022 09:16:58

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