My First Experience With Speedlite Photography


On March 20, 2015 I placed an order for a Yongnuo speedlite,  two Yongnuo wireless triggers and a plastic diffuser cap/”stofen” from Amazon.com.  I received the first two items six days later in Panama.  I’m still waiting for the diffuser which was shipped from China and is expected to arrive in Miami, Florida on May 1, 2015.

This is my first experience using flashes—of any kind—mind you.  According to professional photographers, there are three basic things you must know about light:

  1. Light source:  The sun, reflectors, strobes, and a myriad of other accessories which in one way or another generate light.
  2. How we see:  Think about how we convey light and emotion into the two-dimensional world.  It’s not an easy task, since reality has three dimensions—not two.
  3. The instrument:  The camera is a tool.  You must know what the tool is doing and how the science works.

Over the last two years I’ve been slowly building up my photography gear.  It’s not easy because there are so many options and so many opinions and reviews about them, that the risk of buying something wrong is pretty high.  Purchasing gear, in my opinion is a calculated risk.

If money were not a problem, I would have purchased a Canon speedlite and matching wireless triggers.  But this is not the case.  Money is an important factor at the moment of making a buying decision.  After researching zillions of Internet articles and YouTube videos, I placed my bet on the Yongnuo brand from China.

After unboxing the flash, I found a nylon semi-hard soft padded carrying case, very similar to the Nikon and Canon soft cases.  It comes with an internal pocket for a plastic flash stand and a nice velcro closure. The outer casing is made of a high quality plastic similar to that of the Canon 580.

Everything fitted together perfectly.  There are no rough edges or other manufacturing defects that would take away from the premium feeling of the electronic device.  The battery compartment cover, the buttons and the flash’s foot feels solid and well made.

The speedlite can be locked in the camera’s hot shoe with a traditional locking wheel, rather than the lever-based lock designed by Canon and Nikon.  The wheel has a good size, easy to use and with a comfortable grip.  The flash itself is quite big, but performed very well on my DSLR Canon EOS Rebel T2i camera without tipping over.

The flash’s head allows adjustments in two axis for bounced light against celings/walls or to use the white reflector card which can be tilted upwards to a maximum of 90 degrees (straight upwards).  Swivel movement is also available from a minus 180 degrees to the left, to plus 90 degrees in the clockwise direction.  This swivel feature is excellent for portrait photography when you wish to bounce the light off the walls in those situations where the ceiling is either too high or too dark.

The flash performed flawlessly together with the radio transceivers (Yongnuo RF-603C II).  Installing  it on the camera’s hot shoe was a breeze.  Triggering the speedlite thru the wireless transceivers was no problem as well.  I also tried the TTL cable and the dedicated, digital Canon/Nikon infrared TTL slave mode.  No problems either.

If your camera has a built-in master mode, then go ahead and give it a shot.  There’s no need to buy any other additional equipment to get started right off the bat.  This technology uses infrared light instead of radio waves for the signal transmission, albeit it requires a direct line of sight between the commander/master and the slave flash as explained earlier.

To get started, last week I dipped my toes in the water and took a few shots using the Yongnuo YN-565 EX off the camera. I used the dining room table and a living room chair to place the device. This is what came out of my DSLR camera.  There is so much to learn, but the only way to move forward is to practice hands-on and take the bull by the horns.

This trial picture was taken with the Yongnuo speedlite off the camera with full power placed behind me to bounce the light off a wall. The excessive light was corrected using the Pixlr photo edition software. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
This shot was taken with the flash inside a shoebox covered with a sheet of white bond paper to diffuse the light. Still the light was very bright as you can see on the wall. The living room was totally dark. Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

My next planned gear upgrade is a Manfrotto 1051 light stand, a Manfrotto 026 swivel umbrella adaptor/bracket, a Frio universal locking cold shoe and a Westcott 43″ optical white umbrella.  Meanwhile I plan to spend some time reading the manuals and getting used to the Yongnuo speedlite and matching wireless transceivers.

“Listen to constructive criticism, learn from the masters and everyone else, but do yourself and community a huge favor and pour all your awareness, values, heart and soul into your photography without ever thinking:  can I do this?  Yes you can!  Remember, there are no rules—only general guidelines.  Go out there, take your camera and create the most incredible photographs the world has never seen before:  your own photographs.”

Good Day!

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4 thoughts on “My First Experience With Speedlite Photography”

    1. Morning Barbara,

      Thank you so much for your words of encouragements. Your comments have been a great support to my continued efforts in improving the overall quality of the pictures. It is because of the readers that I do what I do.

      Thank you again.

      Omar.-

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