Flash For Hobbyists (Photo Taco)

In IP Roundtable Podcast by Jeff Harmon

Jeff Harmon answers listener a question about hobbyist photographers getting into flash photography from listener Jose Lopez:

“I've primarily been taking photos of landscapes, events, and other natural light subjects, but recently wanted to do more photography where a flash would be beneficial. I've watched the Improve Photography tutorials and spent hours looking online at YouTube and I find that it's a bit overwhelming. I've purchased a two YN560 flashes (after reviewing the Recommended Gear page on ImprovePhotography.com), and started to look into light modifiers. That's where I'm starting to get a bit overwhelmed. I got a small softbox, a 5 in 1 reflector, a shoot-through umbrella, and an inexpensive lightsphere clone. I'm not sure what the best settings to use for aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Since the YN560s are manual flashes it's a lot of chimping to see if I got it even close. I was hoping that you might be able to dive into the topic from a hobbyist standpoint and point me in the right direction. I'm sure I'm not the first person to be a bit intimidated by flashes.”

Ad: You can have your own 7 hour custom Photo Taco episode and learn how to become a ninja with your camera by joining Jeff and his wife Suzie at a workshop after the Improve Photography Retreat in Charleston, South Carolina. More information is available at http://www.jsharmonphotos.com/workshop

Jeff goes over some hobbyist budget friendly options for getting the equipment needed to get started:

  1. 2x Yongnuo YN560-IV flashes: https://yongnuousa.net/products/yn-560iv
  2. Yongnuo 560-TX controller: https://www.amazon.com/YONGNUO-YN560-TX-Controller-YN560-III-function/dp/B00NIJ0UY6/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1507584128&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=yn560-tx&psc=1
  3. Neewer 60″ white diffuser umbrella: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KL57D68/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  4. Neewer 7′ Light Stand: https://www.amazon.com/Neewer-Photography-Studio-Portrait-Lighting/dp/B00UWDD2D2/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1507576190&sr=8-7&keywords=neewer+light+stand
  5. Fotodiox Elite Flash Umbrella Bracket: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005ODKX4Q/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  6. Fotodiox F60 Quick-Collapse Flash Softbox: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TBUD4IK/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Jeff also goes through how it is he approaches settings when using flash. Generally starts out at his flash sync speed which is 1/250 on his Canon 7DM2, as low an aperture as he can (mostly f/2.8) and still have everyone in the photo in focus, and ISO at 100. If the portrait needs to include the natural surroundings outdoors the he uses in-camera metering to get the background properly exposed and add just a little more light to the models.

Other resources mentioned in the episode:

YN560-IV: A Helpful Illustrated Guide: https://improvephotography.com/46408/yn560iv-manual-helpful-illustrated-guide/

YN560TX Manual: A Helpful Illustrated Guide: https://improvephotography.com/45476/yn560tx-helpful-illustrated-guide/

Jeff’s Post-Retreat Workshop: http://www.jsharmonphotos.com/workshop

Other Photo Taco Resources:
Vote for Jeff’s “Cull” module idea to be added to Lightroom: http://bit.ly/cullmodule

Photo Taco Archive: https://improvephotography.com/category/taco/
Improve Photography Podcast Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ImprovePhotographyListeners/
Photo Taco Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/phototacopodcast/
Photo Taco email: [email protected]

Jeff’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/harmon_jeff
Jeff’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/jsharmonphotos/
Jeff’s Portfolio: http://jsharmonphotos.com
Jeff’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/harmonjeff/

About the Author

Jeff Harmon

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The hobbyist editor here at improvephotography.com. IT Professional by day, passionate hobbyist photographer ever other second possible. Living in Herriman, Utah. Loves trying to capture the beauty around every day and family portraits occasionally. Be sure to check out my portfolio at http://jsharmonphotos.com.