Join Levi Sim for an in-depth discussion in this video How to choose off-camera flash modifiers, part of Flash Photography: Canon Speedlites.
- Let me share with you some ideas about which light I might choose for lighting my subject here. And I'm calling this a light. Once I have attached a speed light to a soft box or to an umbrella, now the entire thing is a light and I can just talk about this unit as a light. I can say "Grab that light and move it," or "Grab that soft box and move it." I don't have to say "Grab the speed light "and the soft box, and position it someplace else." So one of the things I like about a soft box like this one is that it contains the light really well and allows it to be very directional.
Because it's enclosed in the back, it's pushing all the light forward, so it's also more efficient. But it's got edges to it, and the light is largely going forward. It's widening as it leaves the soft box, but primarily very forward. So by feathering the light closer or away from my subject, I can shine it more on the background, or not on the background, and it gives me alotta control using a soft box that way. Also, again, I mentioned this before, but the flat surface of this light gives a different feel to it than something like the convex surface of the umbrella.
The umbrella is like a light bomb, and it just sends light shooting everywhere. The light's going forward, but because it's open in the back, light is also reflecting outward. So I wanna pay attention that I don't end up with a shadow, a difference in light, from where the light's shining through it and where the light is reflecting outward. Sometimes that happens on the walls in a large room when I'm using the umbrella. Also, because of the convex shape, it's very forgiving. I have to be pretty specific with a soft box.
If I put a person at the edge of the soft box, or in the middle, or on the front edge, I get a completely different feel to the light. With the umbrella, I can just kinda point it at a person or a few people and it just lights them up beautifully. It doesn't take a lot of consideration like a soft box does. So I highly recommend that you start with an umbrella. And even though I'm quite experienced at this point using both of these, I still use the umbrella practically half the time that I'm using a light at all.
So I think you'll get great mileage out of having an umbrella. You should definitely have a collapsible white umbrella like this in your kit. It's just such a versatile tool, I think you'll really get a lot of good mileage out of it. There are lots of other modifiers available for the speed lights. These are the ones I use the very most, and I'd highly recommend something like this for your kit, too. But as you can, get your hands on other tools. You could even make a lot of different tools yourself at home, and try different modifiers.
It's a lot of fun to experiment with these things, and I'm excited for you to dive into this world of modifying speed lights.
You'll also find out how to set up your Canon camera itself to make the most of the speedlight—one of the most liberating photography tools you can buy. Levi Sim helps you master the controls, including the camera and flash modes, flash modifiers, and accessories, and creative options offered by a speedlight: soft light, hard light, and bounced light. By the end of this course, you'll be able to make great light in any situation with your speedlight. If you don't have one yet, you'll understand just what model is best for your needs and what features you'll use the most.
- Why use a speedlight?
- Powering a speedlight
- Choosing the right camera mode
- Choosing the right flash modes
- Using flash modifiers
- Creating soft and hard light
- Accessing Commander mode
- Positioning the flash off camera
- Using an iTTL extension cord
- Extending battery life
- Controlling ambient light
- Using speedlights with third-party radio triggers