Utter the words flash photography to any new (or even some quite seasoned photographers), and the look of fear will wash over their faces before they run and hide. Many photographers think flash photography is either far to difficult to master, or much too expensive to break into. We are here to tell you that those statements are fake news. Modern flashes and monolights are incredibly affordable, and with just a little practice and learning, you will find there is nothing to fear about flash photography. After the break, we will share some excellent learning guides and some of our favorite lights and modifiers.
Now is the perfect time to learn a new skill. If you are stuck inside while the Coronavirus does its thing, use the time you have to teach yourself. Investing in yourself and learning new skills will keep you fresh, and put you ahead of so many other photographers out there. Learning how to light correctly is vital if you want to excel in this game. Relying on natural light is fine, but it also means you are at its mercy. Take control of the light, and you will be able to shoot anywhere and at anytime. Check out these cool lighting tutorials, and take a quick look at some of our favorite flash photography gear below.
Flash Photography Books
There is nothing better to invest in than yourself. If you really want to get ahead of the pack when it comes to flash photography and off-camera flash you’re going to need to have an understanding of how it all works. The books below have been written by some of the very best in the business, including Scott Kelby and Vanessa Joy. So, take a look and see if you want to learn from the masters.
The Off-Camera Flash Field Guide
This easy to read tutorial by Sam Adams will walk you through off-camera flash in a step-by-step approach. You’ll learn everything from basic setups to camera settings, and there are even lighting diagrams too. If you have never used a flash before, this is a good book to grab and read.
Buy now: $9.99 for Kindle
The Flash Book: How to fall hopelessly in love with your flash, and finally start taking the type of images you bought it for in the first place
Scott Kelby is one of the masters of photography, so you know that you are going to learn a great deal from him. Scott’s book, The Flash Book, is not filled with technical jargon, theory, or nonsense: this is a book that will teach you which button to push, what settings to use, and when to use them. Read it in your spare time and become familiar with it, then take it with you into the field and reference it if you get stuck. This is one book that should be in your camera bag at all times.
One Flash! Great Photography with Just One Light
Have you always wanted to be able to create gorgeous images with just one light? If so, this is the book you need to load up on your tablet. Tilo Gockel’s One Flash book will cover combining flash with ambient light, how to use shades, reflectors and mirrors, TTL versus non-TTL flashes, light painting, and so much more.
Buy now: $17.99
The Off-Camera Flash Handbook: 32 Scenarios for Creating Beautiful Light and Stunning Photographs
Vanessa Joy is another master of lighting. For years she has been creating striking images that look like they were shot in natural light, but guess what? That’s right; Vanessa uses flash. Her techniques allow her to combine ambient light and light from a flash so perfectly; you won’t have to worry about having that flash photography look. Vanessa’s book, The Off-Camera Flash Handbook, focuses on the kinds of shots you want to make. This book is about learning to use off-camera flash easily and quickly so that you can create beautiful, natural-looking light at any time of day and in any weather.
Flash Photography: Get the Most Out of Your On-Camera Flash!
If you are looking for a book that will teach the theory behind flash photography, this book from Dan Eitreim could be the one for you. Pick up this book and you will learn about the history of flash, how to measure light, and how to get the most out of on-camera flashes and dedicated speedlights.
Speedlights and Strobes
As you all know, we are huge fans of flash photography here at The Phoblographer, and we believe every photographer should learn how to use a flash. You will open so many doors if you take the time to master it. A lot of photographers think that moving into flash photography is expensive, but that’s not true. Plenty of speedlights and strobes on the market are very affordable. Check out some of our favorites below.
ORLIT RoveLight RT 610 TTL Monolight
The ORLIT RoveLight 610 is a rechargeable moonlight we quickly became fans of when we reviewed it. This light is easy to use, powerful, and the battery will last for roughly 450 shots at full power. For the price, this is one heck of a monolight.
Buy now: $599
Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL
As far as affordable speedlights go, the Godox Thinklite TT685 is hard to beat. We found this powerful flash very reliable when we reviewed it, and we were impressed with its ability to automatically switch to HSS (High-Speed Sync), its overall build quality, and its consistent output. Pair this flash with an optional X1 wireless trigger, and you can use it as an off-camera flash too.
Buy now Canon: $114
Buy now Nikon: $114
Buy now Fujifilm: $110
Buy now Sony: $114
Flashpoint XPLOR 400 Pro TTL Rechargeable Monolight
Like the Orlit RoveLight above, the Flashpoint XPLOR 400 Pro TTL / Godox AD400 Pro is a rechargeable moonlight that can be taken to any location. We were impressed with the XPLOR 400 Pro TTL during our review period thanks to the solid output, ease of use, battery life, and fast recycle times. This light is compatible with Godox R2 wireless transmitters and can work in conjunction with any other R2 ready Godox/Flashpoint light.
Buy now: $649
Interfit Honey Badger Unleashed
The most affordable moonlight on our list at under $300, the Interfit Honey Badger 320, is an absolute bargain! This bang for your buck moonlight features TTL, 320ws of power, and a great modeling lamp. If you’re looking to get into studio-based, off-camera flash photography, you owe it to yourself to check this bad boy out.
Buy now: $267.97
Flashpoint eVOLV 200 TTL Pocket Flash
Another great strobe (one of my personal favorites), the Flashpoint eVOLV 200 / Godox AD200. This powerful little flash has the same output as three regular speedlites, which makes it incredibly versatile. This rechargeable light is great to take with you on shoots if you are tight on space, or if you are working by yourself. It’s powerful at 200ws, it features TTL and HSS, it has fast recycle times, and the battery won’t let you down either.
Buy now: $255
Modifying the light from your flashes is incredibly important unless you want to create hard shadows on your subjects. Light modifiers allow us to employ beautiful, soft light that will produce softer shadows and be more flattering in general. There are many types of light modifiers, from softboxes to umbrellas and bounce cards. We all have our favorites; you just need to figure out which will be yours.
The Rogue Flashbenders V3
We have been fans of the Rogue Flashbenders for some time. The third version of this modifier is better than ever. Designed to be used with speedlights, the Rogue Flashbender V3 attaches to the base of your flash with velcro, then you simply bend and twist the modifier into shape so that you can direct the light where you want it to go. Simple in design and simple to use, these modifiers are are a must-have for photographers who use speedlights that sitt in the hot shoe of their camera.
Buy now small: $39.95
Buy now large: $44.95
Westcott Rapid Box Octa Mini
If you plan of picking up a rechargeable moonlight to take with you on location, you’re going to need a modifier to go with it. The Westcott Rapid Box Octa Mini is just about the perfect companion for your light. It is small at about 20-inches in diameter, but don’t let its small size fool you: you can still produce some nice soft light. The Octa Mini is easy to manage, and it is built very well. This modifier is a firm favorite with many photographers for good reason.
Buy now: $139
ANGLER Parasail Parabolic Umbrella
The Angler Parabolic Parasail is another favorite of ours thanks to its design and versatility. This is modifier can be used as a shoot-through umbrella or as a reflector thanks to the removable cover, and it can be positioned either horizontally to give you gorgeous wrap-around lighting, or vertically so that you can create light with dramatic fall off. We loved how compact the umbrella is, the quality of light, and the variety of sizes available.
Buy now: $49.50