Skip to main content

Speedlights 101

Lesson 40 of 40


Mark Wallace

Speedlights 101

Mark Wallace

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

40. Ninjas!


  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


All right we've been talking about ninjas weekend and we have been talking about a ninja helping us with the light and so to take us out of this workshop we're going to talk about we want to shoot sports and want to show you out of freeze motion and what a better thing to shoot the ninjas and so I would like to introduce you two guys that are speaking tacular at what they do I have been stocking them online watching their videos on youtube and I think they are just the cats and the al and so take a look at monda let's roll the music right now also I want to get kicked thanks guys that is awesome awesome awesome awesome we have a microphone here I think somewhere here okay we want to know we're actually gonna let these guys catch their breath so we're gonna get to know them just a little bit and wasn't that awesome was it not awesome give a round of applause again tha throughout a muscle I'm too old for this kind of stuff we're gonna get to know these guys in a second but what we want t...

o do is illustrate that we can freeze motion with their speed lights and then I'm not same engines they're gonna be awesome they are awesome and so we're going to have these guys flipping around jumping doing some things and what we want to do is use our stuff speed lights to freeze that motion. So as they catch their breath, let me teach you exactly what we're gonna do. So kelsey and john are going to come out. They're going to set up our speed lights, and then what we'll be doing is we are going to freeze these guys in mid air and you can use this technique for shooting almost any sport and let me know when your breath is scott and you can properly talk and we'll talk to you, eh? So what we have here is we've already pre built this, so we did this in advance to make sure everything was good. So we got this guy here chelsea's gonna put one over there. What we have is we have a speed light right here. It's already set to manual mode. We have an external battery pack on each of our speed lights. We have a pocket wizard plus three on each of our speed lights are speed, lights or set in manual mode at quarter power. And we did that because we wanted to be able to manually meat or everything and make sure everything was right out of the gate every time the first time. The other thing that we're doing here is I have these speed lights, set up two different zones, this one's on zone a this one's on zone b so I can turn these on and off independent of each other from the camera. Do you have your breath now? Yeah, they're awesome help at home. This is this is awesome. All right, tell us your name. My name kiyota just kiyota. Tomoaki momochi and I can just call you told ok, so I'm gonna have a struggle getting these names right? Because you know, I'm from goodbye non, just non non today in vienna going on to envy. All right, so and you have videos online. I know because I've been watching them. My favorite is they have this awesome video. I don't want to spoil it, but just don't take your mattress tag off your tag off your luggage, but working people find your videos and you also perform at different locations. And so tell us a little bit about that way you can go online and I'm on our website. We've got some video is also youtube and facebook were keen facebook users way website is nonda town dot com it was over there earlier, but yeah, so just nonda any india and then town like town t o w n yeah, and so what is the kind of stuff like if somebody were to go to your site, what what would they expect to see um, well, actually, at the site right now to see a lot of goofy stuff, what, uh, you know, the usual just what we're doing, we are kind of like what we're up to, we're actually getting more and more into video and stuff, but traditionally and kind of what we've been doing up, so until the video thing is way call ninja theater and we're actually doing we're going to do our theatre show it's called the jacket and it's going to be in olympia on the eighth of june. I'm pretty sure how long is the jacket? I watched clips of it because you've got those posted online. I've been stalking you. Okay? It's uh, it's seventy minutes issue just non stop pretty much what goes on for seventy minutes and it's an ensemble, right? It's not just the tube. Yes, there's there's actually, four performers and today was just my brother and I and that's why it was kind of a little clip of the show instead of the whole thing, but yeah, and that will actually be also after we take a look summer vacation for once, finally, since we're eighty two and then come back in the fall, we're going to do an entire tour along the west coast, so we'll be doing shows in seattle and yeah, I can't remember the dates of the up scenes. We'll have to chat. Maybe we can connect again. Are you sure that visa fun okay, s o, what we're going to do is, well, I want to show these guys how we're gonna jump in, freeze motion and all that kind of stuff. So what we'll do is I'm going to grab this from your, um, john's going to take this, and we will show you how to freeze motion. So let me walk through what we've set up and so who's gonna go first. E uh, yeah, I tried doing jumping jacks early. I did three, and that was about it. So let me walk through how we have this set up and how we can't freeze motion using our speed lights. Now, the crazy thing is, I want to show you how we can freeze these guys in mid air. With our speed light not with the shutter and to prove that it's the speed like that doing this we're going to shoot with shutter speeds that are very, very slow and slow as we can possibly get we might even get down to a half a second or second and so you'll see that even at really slow shutter speeds weaken still freeze ninjas in mid air and so kelsey let's bring the meter out here so that we could sort of show how we've set this up so again this is set to full manual mode both of these flashes air in full manual mode we're triggering them with pocket was plus threes and on my camera have another trigger here so it's going to fire both of those flashes and we meet her this during lunch and so if you were watching during lunch probably sauce do some of this stuff so I'm gonna put my meter out here take a meter reading that's me tearing at nine that's a lot of light I'm going to go over here and I can meet you this this is meeting at eleven over here we're meeting at eleven right there were meeting at nine okay, so what that means is on the edges we have more light than we have in the middle so this is sort of the sweet spot ok, so if you're putting flashes out like this to do some sports you have to be aware of where these guys were going to be and and make sure that you I sort of understand what's happening now why didn't we use tl metering that's the question why not just use tio metering will look ninjas were black and so if we try tio ninjas ruled the night right? Yeah uh that's a tom clancy thing welcome readers okay, so they're all black and so we know that if we use tl media ring it's going to be thrown off over and over again and so we have to use exposure compensation we might get it right we might not wake up we don't want to deal with the ninja of r t t l where is going to go into full manual mode because we have the real thing here today okay, so that's why we did that the camera is set to eyes so one hundred are shutter speed that we're starting out with will be two hundred and then we're going to set our aperture the same thing that we just metered which is f eight right there faa so we'll start about there will mix it around now one of the things you're going to notice here that will be different if you're shooting sports out in the wild is that we have a big white wall this big white wall right here now if you're shooting most sports the athlete in the wall are usually not this close to each other you're going to have some distance, so because of this wall right here, we're gonna have some nasty, ugly shadows that we could avoid if we were out shooting somewhere like if you're shooting a bmx rider on a trail, the flash would fire, hit that writer and then just go off into the distance there's not hopefully a brick wall out of your bmx track or if you're doing maybe a tennis player playing tennis again that flashes just gonna fly off into space you're not going to worry about those shadows, so we know we're going to admit that we have these nasty shadows behind us, but we don't care, I don't care about that because what we're trying to show you is how flash can freeze motion better than your shutter speed can ok, so we're going tio start shooting and show you how this works someone is it over here? John? I'm gonna give you this flower this meter, and I'm gonna make sure I have everything set, so that meter to eight is that right? Okay, so I'm taking my flash my camera off my tripod here and then what we'll do is first I'm just going to take a picture so you have to jump just take a picture to make sure that we have a shot and we do we have lots of light that's going to show up here making sure my tethering is shooting so that's showing up so what we're going to do here is I'm just gonna have you jump straight up you want to do anything fancy there is going to get you going straight up into the air so go ahead and and on the count of three jump up one, two, three okay, so we have headless horseman, right? Just this floating guy right here so that's going to show up so what we're showing is where can we can freeze this now notice something remember that pattern the illumination pattern we had earlier that we said, if we do force on till we have horizontal, you can see that these air illuminating horizontally s so what we might have to do is have you moved back just to hear keep going back there and then kelsey let's or john let's go ahead and meet her this so I'm gonna having moved back just a bit because we're too close to our flashes so john's going to meet her that for us that's that's about good okay, so we're still sort of in that sweet spot so let's have you jump on the count of three one more time one, two, three okay, so check this out we have floating ninja floating ninja which is pretty fun and now you can see that our elimination is much better we can do some things so now what I want you to do is jump as high as you can and maybe bring your legs up but I just try to freeze you in mid air so on the count of three go ahead one, two, three jump okay all right, now this we would expect out of his shutter speed of about two the second so he is totally frozen there, right? He's just sort of floating in space now here's the thing I want to show you that's amazing I'm going to take my shutter speed and I'm going to slow my shutter speed down to one hundredth of a second. All right, so the same jump on the count of three one two, three, same jump okay, one hundredth of a second we have once again floating in space ninja okay is popped up their awesome now watch this we're going to take our shutter speed way down I'm gonna goto a tenth of a second, not a tenth of a second we should have all kinds of shakiness, right? But watch this we're not going to have that ready one, two, three jump awesome and you could actually hear this slow shutter speed one tenth of a second watch this frozen now we're going to keep going just to prove this I'm going down to one half a second half a second shutter speed all right really, really slow. You got one more in you. Okay, here we go. Half a second one two, three go! You can hear that shutter speed slowing down now what happens at half a second now we have ghosts a ninja? Why do we have ghost ninja? Because we're now starting to see ambient light falling but he's frozen by r strobe if our video lights weren't here, we would actually get nothing but that so our limit was about a tenth of a second or so but the point of that is that we're able to freeze motion using our flash. Now, how does that work? Remember from day one we said that, uh our flash I didn't ever see the shutter that was like the shutter devon didn't exist and that's what we're proving here right now with an aperture value of eight we're restricting enough of the ambient light that it's not being able to crawl in through our lens unless we go all the way down to about a half a second so anything above that the on ly light that the camera sees is the light from the flash now let me prove that to you the on ly light that the camera sees is the light from the flash so I'm going to do is I'm gonna make sure our shutter speed is at a reasonable speed so what you gonna have it one hundredth of a second you don't have to jump you have to do anything that's going to take a picture here and this is going to show you what the camera sees of the ambient light nothing what that proves is that right now the only thing that the camera is seeing is light from the flash and that means the flash is what's controlling our motion so if our flash turns on and off it ten thousandth of a second or five thousands of a second then that means that are effective shutter speed is about five thousandth of a second and that's how we can control motion using our flash is very very simple so what I want to do is we're gonna have these guys jump around do some karate kicks I want you to do like the coolest crazy thing that you possibly can think of in mid air we're going to shoot this they're going to take some questions were going to shoot a few mohr and then will be done so if you could do like a slide cake or a flip or a backflip I don't care what it is but the coolest thing you can think of I am ready for it all right one two three go oh yeah oh, and guess what I didn't do I didn't turn on my flashes on him legal so guess what you have to make sure your flashes don't fall asleep are you all right? Yeah. When I was talking my flashes the auto time time off enough so you still get for one morning? Sure these guys have her ankles. They don't tell you this but I just can't get hurt evidently so we're gonna let me make sure these are firing said ok, the coolest thing one more time one, two, three go okay oh, check out this shot. We frozen ninja upside down. Yeah, your nickel upside down ninja that's awesome. You know the forms a little. I'm going to say that your forms a little off it's pretty crazy. All right, let's, switch in injust ready? And what we're gonna do here is where is the meter? So, johnny, what have you meet her one more time? I want to show you something that I think is really cool. I'm going to take instead of having two flashes fire, I'm gonna have one flash fire and so it's their one on camera left so if you can meet her, uh doesn't matter so just whatever it is it's gonna work, people are going, what do you mean, ten point one okay, let me take a test shot to make sure that this is what we're getting that's a very bright yeah, so let's meet one more time because something is wacky. Oh, got you got you got you so kelsey maybe come stand by to help, so go ahead and meet her one more time seven point one that's what I thought okay, so the reason that both flashes went off is I forgot to tell john how did do zones on the meter and he was triggering both. And I was only treatment seven point one, right? So I'm gonna make sure we're gonna double check. This is good. It is. And now we're gonna have is the shadow of the ninja. So what I'm going to dio is I'm going to take a picture of your shadow, all right? And so on the count of three, I'm gonna have you jump are flip or do whatever you want. So one, two, three. Okay, now I have the shadow of the ninja coming up. Maybe I should have done this horizontally but you can see I got the shot over the ninja. All right, let's do one more half you jump, we're going to shoot you the real you one, two, three go yeah, I love it, so we have some awesome sidelight and it's. Pretty awesome. Ok, can we get one of you two together? We'll get one of you two together. Then we'll be ready for a couple questions. No, we just have one. So, on the count of three. One, two, three. Amanda it's, one like everybody. Swan lake dawson. All right, now we're going to turn into let's, take a couple of questions, and they would go out with a couple of fun shots of ninjas. We have time for just a couple of questions. Are you on first or second? Shutter? First curtain sink first. Thank you. Okay, robby mover would like to know if you want to take that same shot and not have any shadows on the wall, how would you do that? I would have to move them way away from the wall, and yeah, so we have to have more separation between the light in the wall. The other thing is, I could move the light to the side and sidelight them, but basically, any time, the flashes illuminating a wall, if if some object blocs that flash, you're going to have a shadow. So the only way to get rid of the flashes either get the flash far enough away from the wall that it doesn't illuminate it, or move it to a position where the flash isn't falling on the wall so we can't take that same shot without having the shadow in this environment we just can't do that what we could maybe do is have some other flashes that illuminate the wall tio washout that shadow we can make it really complicated but again we need more space and we just don't have that space so it's a limitation we have based on the amount of space we have we have what this is about twenty feet something like that you'd think yeah so it's it's uh it's small are wide angle lenses make it look larger than it is this is so cool so mary from costa rica would like to know could you actually freeze motion in real life situations not in a studio environment with one single speed light on camera yeah, we actually can do that real life do we have another speed light this just floating coming around that one yeah let's try it so we will just use a t t l meet oring we'll let the ninja try to catch the ninja. You guys will have to watch the re watch. You know what I'm talking about with the ninjas you're like what? So we're going to use just a normal speed light on the camera kelsey has to unscrew this really fast because it's on their securely and we're gonna do this in th e elmo so we'll see how well army during mood works so I'm gonna put this in normal tpl mode and everything is good okay, so I have my settings as shutter speed of one hundred and s o of one hundred and aperture value of seven point one and then everything else is an auto so my speed light is an auto I'm gonna make sure my zoom is also in autumn so everything from here up is auto this is in manual mode shutter speed of one hundred one hundred after value of seven point one which which nonda wants to jump yeah, we'll we'll just do one and and we'll see how this goes okay, I'm ready for you yet straight up whatever you want to do yep go ahead one to three okay, this is just on my camera and what you'll see is it's the same exact thing except for now he's flooding like that so yeah works just fine and you know, if we had a really bright light we would not be able to do this if we had a really, really bright light we'd have too much ambient light falling in the ambient light would overpower our flash and we'd have to rely on our shutter so the key here is lowering the ambient light you have to lower the ambient light I'll say it again must lower the ambient light to freeze motion like this or it won't work in fact chase jarvis shot ninjas in a studio he has a really old video and one of the things that he talks a lot about is lowering ambient light in the studio so it's it's really, really important let's do a couple more questions and then we'll shoot a few more ninja shots perfect okay, quite a few people are requesting if we can try an example of multi flash fires on one frame to show ghosting photos like light on the back flip that was from beak a photo so multiple flashes on inside I missed multi flash fires what did I say this travis coptic stuff we're going to skip that because it xhm or time to set up you know we'll just try it like an almost guarantee that the results are not going to be great because I haven't dialed it in but let me just see what I can get so I'll slow down my shutter speed I need a tripod for this okay? And what we'll do is this is something I haven't done the math on to figure out how many strobes I get per fire um so close your eyes for second cause this is gonna yeah that's too fast so what I need to do is dial this in okay that's not fast enough this is why I've been avoiding it is ok, we'll try that um all right are you ready so this is going to be too much light but we'll still try I'm going to put this in a wide angle so I want you to do is just do a sort of yeah sideways jump ok one two three go yeah so too much like I think our ambient light is this way way too high for this to work I'll try well yeah we still have way too much ambient light for this to dialogue because our shutter speed are is you know half a second so let's try to f twenty two will try one more time and so ready one two three go yeah and so that even we're just not getting it so we will have to tune something's in to get that tow work right we have low ambient light here but remember we have a video lights all over the place and they're just providing way too much light of those really long shutter speeds that we need and so to get to a shutter speed of one second or half second we need to be able to get to that shutter speed and still have no the ambient light and we just have way too much and so um yeah I don't want to say we're not going to do it but I knew it wouldn't work with this much ambient light you need to be in almost complete darkness for that toward correctly fried from toronto once during the shots that we're doing originally do preached german your focus or to use your cameras, continuous autofocus when shooting action like this. So we cheated. So over here, let's, show this camera right here. There are two posts right here. So there was this post right here on this post right here, and so what I did was I asked these guys to make sure they sort of stayed inside this plane of, uh, of jumping around right here, and I I used one shot focus to focus, but when they're jumping, they're just jumping this way. They're not coming toward the camera or away from the camera, so I used one shot focus instead of a servo because I knew that if we didn't, we might have some focus issues, so we cheated on that. Now, if I was shooting some sports, obviously that wouldn't be the case. I wouldn't be able to say, hey, baseball player, don't slide in tow, you know, first base that way or tennis player don't do that, and so what I would do is I would probably pre focus there and try to lock it in that way, so, yeah, we actually use auto focus, but we sort of restricted where everybody's gonna be. Yeah, and so in photography this is one of the things that I love it when people like oh, no, you cheated. You cheated because you told people to be right here and in life. If you can cheat, you should cheat. I mean, if you can set something up in advance and guarantee that is going to work, then I think that's called success. You know, I don't think that's cheating. I think that's being smart, it would be like, you know, if you knew for absolute certain. If you configure your computer a certain way, it would give you the results you needed to create. You know, the cure to some disease you would do? It would be cheating. You would just make sure you had success. So we didn't sheet we guaranteed success. That's what I would say ok, as the quote. All right, everybody. We're out of time. This has been a phenomenal experience for me. It's been great. Hanging out with nonda has been hanging out with kelsey has been a tremendous help. German season. Thank you very much, ken who's. Not here. Thank you very much, celeste and everybody. I already think. Jon cornish l o also, miss wave just had a blast. And I thank you for the time that we've had this weekend. And I hope to see again soon at creative live online at creative lives, facebook, or join me on my facebook on twitter. You know the deal. Let's, talk soon. Thank you very much, and I hope to see a creative live one day again later.

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.