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Speedlights 101

Lesson 21 of 40

Limitations of Your Flash

Mark Wallace

Speedlights 101

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

21. Limitations of Your Flash


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Introduction Duration:11:19
3 Flash! A Drama in 4 Parts Duration:18:42
6 High Speed Sync Duration:15:03
7 High Speed Sync Q&A Duration:25:15
8 Shutter Priority Mode Duration:23:12
9 Manual Mode Duration:50:21
10 General Q&A Duration:19:21
11 Color It Duration:15:53
12 Diffuse It, Twist It, Pull It Duration:17:29
14 Shoot: Softbox and Umbrella Duration:41:44
15 Shoot: Three Light Setup Duration:21:56
16 Shoot: Freezing Motion Duration:17:39
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Introduction Duration:06:28
2 Bouncing the Light Duration:36:18
3 Off-Camera Flash Options Duration:29:03
4 Light Modifiers Duration:08:15
5 Limitations of Your Flash Duration:20:48
8 Light Metering Duration:13:48
9 Light Metering Q&A Duration:42:50
10 Guide Numbers Duration:18:52
11 Built-in Meter Duration:20:28
12 General Flash Q&A Duration:24:10
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Light Shaping Duration:36:58
2 Group Lighting Duration:46:18
3 Lighting Dark Environments Duration:17:37
4 Indoor Holiday Photos Duration:23:10
5 Outdoor Events at Night Duration:13:46
6 Lighting Dark Events Q&A Duration:13:14
7 Portrait Lighting Duration:32:22
8 Portrait Lighting Q&A Duration:21:57
9 Butterfly/Clamshell Lighting Duration:16:06
10 Q&A and Lighting for Men Duration:24:12
11 Final Q&A Duration:06:15
12 Ninjas! Duration:27:02

Lesson Info

Limitations of Your Flash

So what we want to do is we want to have a reality check with our speed lights um and I like to say they're not magic speed lights or not magic um and I want to try to help set expectations because there are those folks out there that I believe that you could just do anything with these lights you could do a lot with these lights but you can't do just anything so what I wanted to do is talk about a few of the things that could be gotchas and to help understand the potential of the speed light and also the limitations of a speed light so in other words let's be honest, all right let's be honest about what these can and cannot do on dh so what we're going to start with is we're going to talk about power output and how bright are these things and compare a little bit of the different types of strobes that we have we're going to start by using a studio stroke now this studio strobe is a five hundred watts second strobe is that right? Yeah five hundred seconds which means it puts it sort of...

in the lower end of the stratosphere for power output of a studio strip so this would be a low power studio stroke not a big big gun but a medium gun and what we're gonna do is kelsey is going to come out here we're going to use a light meter and this light meter later after lunch, we'll explain how light meter works, but what we'll be doing is we already have this set up tio measure the light output of our flashes, so what should be doing is she'll be pushing a button that tells the light meter toe wait for a flash when the flash happens, it will give us a number it's an aperture value it's a meaningless ok, the number that we're getting is meaningless all it means is it it will help us set sort of the relative power output so it's going to say something like that? Ten or five point six or something like that? I don't know what is going to say and then we'll be able to compare those numbers that come out of all the different flashes, okay? And so what? The thing to understand is, ah, higher number means mohr light the bigger the number, the more like that we get, okay? And these air aperture values that equate to stops just like our stops on our camera. So if you know about stops, you can start to start to see the difference is so if you have something that is an f ten and something that's a two point eight, that is a magnificent difference in power, so we're going to do here I'm going to start kim's gonna help us out of the way so come on up here she is actually going to write down the numbers that we get for each of these flashes and we're going to start by turning on her pro photo and what we're doing here is I'm sorry too blind to their I'll turn off our her modeling light sorry blinded people what I'm going to do is I'm just going tio put a flash at full power as bright as it can go with our speed lights what I've done is we've put these in manual mode and we've turned them all the way up to full power and we've manually zoomed them so they will have the most punch that we can possibly get out so I'm going to do a bunch of these quantum flash it in right up there so we might add them so we're going to start with a medium power studio strobe at full power so you're ready to go kelsey so I'm gonna fire this like turned it off sir, I'm going for the wrong button eleven f eleven is what that meter that f eleven so from this distance which is about fifteen feet this had enough punch if I had a camera here shooting I could have shot with an aperture value of f eleven okay, we're next going to take and use a quantum flash okay, which I didn't write up on the board so came you're gonna have to write quantum up there or you just put cue flash that's fine. So our quantum flash we have this set to full power want to put it at the same place that we had our pro photo you ready? Nine f nine wow f nine so this is only two third stop less power than this that's pretty bright. Okay, so I'm going to turn this guy off. I wouldn't do this now here's something that we're going to do. We're going to try to show you what it looks like at a full zoom and what looks like at a zoom of about fifty millimeters because realistically shooting at this distance we're not gonna have it zoomed way, way, way in we might we might not. So the next thing we're gonna have is the s p nine ten is the s p nine ten speed light. So this is a full power zoomed in at two hundred millimeters, which if we shot this with the camera instead of lighting up this entire area like those two flashes that we just had it's going to light up this very small area, okay, so we're doing an unfair tests were just looking at power though an unfair tests just looking to power, so are you ready, kelsey ten ten pretty good pretty good from here and you could hear that go for a walk right ok now take this and I put it to a zoom that is more realistic which is like let's say fifty millimeters fifty millimeters okay from here already eight eight yeah, same thing same thing yeah so we're getting down there on the power if we put this on we're going to put this on a zoom of third seventeen so really wide zoom in here we go are you ready? Yeah f five five okay, so the same thing so you can see that we went from f tend f five now uh if you don't know f stops you were thinking ok that's half the power is way more than half the power going from f tend of five because it's exponential so our power went wade drastically and so there is a big big difference so the meaning of that we're going to keep doing this with the cannon just to sort of show you then I'll sort of uh we'll sort of give you the interpret the results so here we go this is the canon five eighty x two hundred percent zoomed in all the way at one hundred five millimeters f ten ten so the same is our nikon way have a smaller nikon this is his nikon sb seven hundred full power zoomed all the way in and it is going to meet her at and it's gonna meet her at that good personally, but at seven point one seven point one. Okay, so, um let's do this let's take this guy this cannon flash I'm gonna zoom it to fifty millimeters. So that's, the normal zoom on this will measure that ready? You have to actually push the right button. Nine f nine yeah, so we can see that as we zoom out from josh is like saab doing what we're doing is as we zoom are flashes in and out were getting power that changes considerably. There is a big difference between, uh, sb nine s three, seven hundred and sb nine ten or five t x two four thirty if we had when you'd see sort of a similar drop. So this is a pretty substantial change in power from ten to seven point one it's not a small jump. It's it's pretty substantial. The quantum flash f nine is not zoomed in is really powerful. So what we're going to find is when we go outside and we start to tryto fill in some light and overpower the son when we have a flash that, uh, loses this much power when we zoom out what we're gonna have our problems, we're trying to fill a soft box or an umbrella well, that soft boxer umbrella when he lost it here, just, um checking. Sit down, kim. Thank you very much in kelsey's done here, but we try to start to fill this umbrella. Okay, this is a big umbrella. If we have our zoom set to full power and we zoom it all the way in one hundred or two hundred millimeters it's only gonna light up a small part of this umbrella, and so we're losing sort of the point of the umbrella, right? We want to have our zoom set to really wide so we can eliminate a lot of this. But when we do that, we just took our power output significantly down significantly. And not only that, but it's bouncing from the umbrella into our subject, and so we're losing even more power. And so we might have a flash that as a bare head we can shoot at ten. But as soon as we add a light modifier and then bounce it, we might get enough light to illuminate that maybe to something like that, so our light output just drops significantly really significantly. And so the thing to understand is that you have to be realistic with your speed lights when you start trying to shape the light in the same way that you would with this studio, strobe it's not apples to apples because this studio stroke here it has no reflector on it and so what we just shot this guy at at f eleven was at its widest setting that's the least amount of power we're going to get out of that guy at with that reflector and so if we added it a normal reflector on there and popped it in this number is probably going to jump up to about twenty two and I know it will because we did it earlier we just didn't have room for a reflector so it's a significant significant change in power also this guy or different studios drove like this this is the small guys right that's that's the little gun so normally you're shooting with a twelve hundred watts second lighter twenty four hundred watson which is significantly more powerful so speed lights or not magic and if you go salute see hundreds so if you try todo and make the jump from a c studio light it doesn't matter what brand to a speed light one of the frustrations kim's going yes I know this you sort of go where is my light where is the power because we're spoiled with those those big guns on dh so that's the difference I want to make sure that you understand that there is a big difference between those two things now the other thing that's really important um is anybody epileptic seizure prone okay I want to show you something else so here's a studio strobe and I'm gonna turn it on and I'm going to show you something here so if droves hurt you this probably is not the thing for you but I can assume is I flash this it's going to be put me when it's ready to go again right? It can go pretty darn fast and so, um some of these drugs can shoot up teo you know, eight ten frames per second some even faster. I know there's the deed eight um that go it uh think it's thirty fifteen or sixteen frames per second super fast faster than your camera can shoot. Um really fast with, um a speed light at full power we're gonna have a couple problems one it's going to melt down remember we did that yesterday we melted it down but just let's see what this does? So I'm gonna fire this at full power one, two, three, four four seconds. Okay, instant four seconds. Um now this is a pro photo which is really, really nice light so you know, going to get that all the time. There are definitely some studios troops that will take a couple of seconds to recycle this is four seconds, which is pretty good with an external battery pack you're going to get uh maybe a little bit better performance but it takes a while so you can't shoot the same way you can't just click click click click click it's not gonna keep up and it will melt or shut down so again, our speed lights are not magic thie other thing that we have our distance limitations so uh with our speed light, we're not going to be ableto illuminate a large area from twenty feet away it just won't happen we're not gonna be able to do that. So that's another reason we need to get these guys off the camera get it closer. So these air really good too about, you know, fifteen to twenty feet you know you can't get farther away there's you can increase your eyes so we'll show you later this afternoon there's a calculator that show you how far away you can go, but if you want to add nice large soft light at great distances, you're going to need to have more than just one speed like, um because they're not magic, they're not magic and then we have this thing I like to call battery angst battery angst okay, so we had this last night on location we were shooting in the swings and we shot a couple of shots and then we realized, oh, our batteries are dead because we were shooting really fast so he added an external battery pack and so I hide they can't tell you how much I love external battery packs so this is a quantum battery pack this is the turbo s c and when you buy these there's this is my old school battery pack right here so this is a quantum turbo battery so these are both the same brand this is old school. This is new school um this is really heavy so you feel how heavy this is uh ok feel how this one is. Yeah, big difference right? So feel that yeah, you would just put that on your waist yeah yeah. So this one you need a like a wheels thiss when you could just sort of clip on right? So this is like a cup of coffee this is like a six pack of coke right it's that significant so uh they come you have to get a cable this cable plugs into the battery and then the other end of that will plug into the side of your speed light like that and now you have power in that battery. Thanks goes away so the battery issue is is twofold. One you use a lot of batteries of your shooting fast and a few batteries start to fall below there when they start tio get drained the refresh cycle get slower and slower on your flash it doesn't have enough power to give you the same amount of light each time and your color temperature changes from flash to flash and so you really need to pay attention to batteries or get a external battery pack or your run into problems very very very quickly okay, so we have that and then the last thing I want to say about all this the they aren't magic is that tl is stupid hey tl is stupid but I mean and we talked about this you know, bless the little heart of the speed like it's trying its best right it's trying to to do what it knows should do but it doesn't know it doesn't know that you know right now I want to illuminate josh perfectly because it might think oh, it wants to illuminate rwe back here where buddy sitting against the wall it doesn't know it's trying so you really have to tell it through exposure compensation with their meeting moods with all kinds of things how tio do the best job it can but even then it can get things wrong because it doesn't know and so I prefer thean situations that are challenging to throw that tl meter off and throw it into manual mode and do my own media ring so I can take a light meter wherever that is and let's pretend this is a light meter and take a light meter over here and say pretty and know exactly what my light output is adjusted and every single time it will be the same from shot to shot to shot to shot. Okay, so that's, my reality check. I would love to know if we have one or two questions about that, and then we're going to go do something really fun. Really fun. Really. Front man. Okay, we've got some more just clarifications on the battery packs. Could you remind us with the model name of that point of battery pack is I can. I'm drinking my nap in a can. Lovett um, so this is a quantum turbo s c quantum turbo s c that's. What? This is quantum turbo s e this's. Just a quantum turbo. Quantum has bunches of different types of batteries. And so you should really not just get this one. It's not really the best thing to do. The best thing to do is look and see which one fits your needs because they have batteries that attached to the bottom of a camera and it can power the camera and the flash. They have lightweight batteries. They have batteries with multiple power outlets, leak and plug that in and plug went into a flash here in a flash here, or I mean, they have a lot of different options. And so I would really make sure that you thought you know, how do I best want to use that batteries that just for one flash or two flashes do we need to do to be with you know, multiple things power my camera as well and then buy one that's best for you so they have all kinds of information on the website cool question from still penn soap m from mexico um if on location do you sacrifice mobility a lot just to have more power out but output with strobe do I sacrifice portability? You mean this drovers and like a stroke? Um sometimes so these guys are very compact so you can see and this happens to be the the specific light that I use so it's just really small and lightweight in it plops into little case that wheels around so obviously it's it's much larger than than this right? And plus you also have to have power this is won't run on a battery pra photo has something called the backpack that is a back pack physical backpack that you take off and then you can plug two of those in and that will run for about a thousand flashes and so if you have an assistant one of those or to those they really work well the difference though this guy right here I can probably by two of these for one of these around there and this is the small gun so if we went up to the larger one that pride by three speed lights for the price of one of those so yeah you do sacrifice it's really what it comes down to is when I'm flying so if I am on location so I do a lot of shooting in new york and normally when I'm shooting models in new york doing portfolio shoots I bring this this is what I bring so this to me is sort of a compromise between the studio strobe and a speed light because it's small and portable enough that I can throw it in my bag and get some great you know it's not gonna be super heavy aiken carry it on I have to also bring this to power it but it performs like a studio strobe does and I can throw on light modifiers like this soft box that's just pops right on to the end of that and so that's that's the compromise I go with is I used a quantum q flash when I'm flying somewhere or I rent if I'm local on doing the park or doing portrait or something the night that I will use these guys I mean I would never bring something like this to a wedding to do like table pictures or you know a birthday party or events or right so yeah there's a lot of times that's just not practical how about one more quick question before we go do something superfund from redhead seventeen in liverpool? Will the flash still overheat with the quantum external battery? Yes, thank you, can overheated faster. It allows you to do it fast. I think the only thing that you're doing is you're, you're getting a maximum power all the time, and so your batteries were performing at their very best until it just runs out of juice. And so that means that your recycle times are always as fast as they can possibly be on. You can shoot at your max race, you know, for the whole time. So if you're shooting really, really rapidly, um, you're still gonna melt down. So it's it's, not the battery that causes it to meltdown, is the heat from the lamp that causes toe overheat.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Once you know what’s happening with your camera and flash you can do almost anything. Speedlights open up a new realm in your photography. They are light to carry, quick to set up. And you never know when you're going to need that extra light for a more dramatic image.

This workshop will give you the confidence to incorporate small portable flash in your photography toolkit. From shooting receptions at weddings or adding drama in senior portraits, this workshop will include lots of live shooting examples that will help everything make sense. Get ready to take your photography to the next level. Once you start working with a portable flash, you'll never understand how you lived without them.


Gary Hook

Mark's wealth of knowledge combined with his engaging and 'fun', experimental approach to teaching is a winner. I learned a great deal but what truly reinforces the learning is that he actually shows what he is talking about. He gets a question and quickly sets up the practical demo for the answer. Brilliant. Given that this session took place some time ago ( but by no means diminishishes the tremendous learning value) the lessons and knowledge are based techniques that will stand the test of time; however, if I was advising Mark on his teaching techniques, the main are a of 'focus' would be to be more effective with his demonstrations. He holds the back of the camera up, makes his point quickly and then moves on, just as the video is locking on. Great idea to talk about what button you are pushing, but when your fingers are obscuring the 'learning point' it diminishes the effectiveness of the demo. Overall great course which I will watch parts again and highly recommend it. Thank you PS Give both Kelsey and John and huge hug as they are all-stars making things happen!

Alexander Svishchenkov

Great! I'm so thankful to you, CreativeLive, for providing this great opportunity to learn an important subject of photography - Speedlights - from the professional Mark Wallace. He is such a good teacher and explains everything in real-life situations and on slides. As he fires his flash, I instantly see the resulting photo on my screen, so this is theory combined with practice. I'm in fact watching you from Belarus, and it's midnight, so I'm fighting with sleep, but I can't get myself away from the screen. this is my 1st CL experience. I'm very grateful for running a rewatch of the previous Day the following morning, so I woke up and saw what I'd missed. And it's totally free! Thank you so much for a true first-class education!

Aussie David

Truly a fabulous class. Mark has such a gift for taking a complex subject and making it so understandable and fun at the same time. Mark is easily one of the best instructors out there. Highly highly highly recommend this class.