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Photography Tips For Beginners – Speedlight Photography Techniques 101

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Hi and welcome to this Grainhappy tutorial (Photography Tips For Beginners). Today we’re talking about: Speedlights!

Now if you know a little bit about these already, this is probably going to be the wrong tutorial for you. This is a super, super beginner tutorial. This is meant for people who have pretty much never used a Speedlight before. So! Let’s get into it:

This is a Yongnuo YN560-II (Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BXA7N6A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00BXA7N6A&linkCode=as2&tag=gnh2093-20&linkId=5C6IQ5CA4WQ6ETWW). It does everything we need it to do. It does not have ETTL (which basically means flash “auto”, having the flash kind of think for you how bright it should be).

I don’t like the flash thinking for me, I want to make my own choices, So I just leave it on manual and it does a perfect job.

There are three things that you want to think about when you are working with a flash, especially as a beginner:

#1: Intensity

The first thing that you want to think about is flash intensity. Now that’s what these fractions mean, so 1/1, 1 over 2, 1 over 4, these are just simple fractions to give you an idea of how much flash power is coming out. So just remember from fourth grade when you did fractions. 1/1 = 1. So that’s going to be 100% of the flash power coming out. Super bright! I rarely use 1/1. And then you can do 1/2, 1/4, 1/8th power, and then you can go in between 1/8th and 1/4th if you want just a little bit more light or a little bit less light — you don’t have to do just the straight up fractions, you can go 1/8th power plus .5 or 1/8th power plus .7.

#2: Zoom

The second thing that you need to think about is the zoom. Now the zoom right now, it’s at 105mm. You can put it on 24mm, 28mm, etc. Some people just match it up with whatever lens they’re using, but honestly all this does is it just moves the flash element (can you see that moving in there?) up and down. And really all that does is it either concentrates the flash or it lets the flash shoot a little bit wider. So really the only reason why you’d need to change that is let’s say you want your flash to shoot farther — it’s better if you concentrate it and then it’ll throw farther vs if you just let it open up wide and then it won’t get as far because it’s going to be spread out. So if you want it to go farther, you’re going to want to put it up to 105mm or 80mm. But that’s really all it does!

#3: Angle

The third thing you need to think about is the angle. You can move this thing all over the place when it’s connected to your camera, this top part goes everywhere. Wherever you want it to go. You can shoot yourself in the face with the flash, haha. And a lot of photographers start here, right? You see the flash shooting directly at people. That is…pretty much the worst thing that you can do, and that’s why beginner flash photographers hate the images that they shoot with flash because they’re basically just getting that deer-in-headlights look because they don’t know what else to do with it. They’re assuming “well I need to get the light over there so I guess I’ll just point it towards the person and I’ll get a good shot” but that’s not how it works.

The light you fall in love with when you see other people’s images are most likely when the light is coming in from the side of the shot. Or from the back of the shot. Or a slight angle off the front. So! I’m going to ask you soon in some other tutorials to get your flash off the camera but for a beginner, even if your flash is on the camera, you can spin it around and have it bouncing off certain things in order to get light to hit your subject at a different angle (more in video #2) even if it’s attached to your camera.


So! The First rule is, never ever point your flash at someone directly — you’re just not going to like it. Or maybe if you do, then that’s just your thing but I guarantee 99% of your shots will not turn out the way you want them to turn out if you do that.

That’s pretty much all there is as far as starting — we’re going to take a look at some other more advanced things in other tutorials, but thank you so much for watching. Please subscribe and give me a thumbs up, just so you can help other people find this video, other beginners like you! Thank you so much for watching.

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