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Buying More Flash Lighting on a Budget

By  Jan 12, 2010

Topics: Digital Photography

Question: I am on a very limited budget and every month I treat myself to some kit. I have a Pentax with a 360 flash and some reflectors, and started buying correcting Gels etc. For me to become proficient with flash lighting, what's the minimum amount of flash units I could get away with -- e.g. 2 or 3-- in order to develop my skill set? I am still using my 18-55 kit lens and can probably save for for a better one, but I am inclined to want to get another flash unit in order to get really good at this. I also bought a Honl 1/4 grid and thinking about a 1/8 as well to slowly build up my kit.

Answer: It’s really not the amount of kit that you have. Some of the most famous flash pictures ever have been made with one light. But for experimental purposes, a second flash is not a bad way to go. The second flash gives you much more leeway to create a lustrous main light, or light a background, or provide a bit of shadow fill for your main source. The 15-55 lens is a good one for environmental portraiture. No worries there. It sounds like you are on a good path, and the grids you are mentioning will also bring another dimension of control to your lighting. It is one thing to use flash and generally fill a scene with light, but it is entirely different to really bring that flash under control and make it do what you want it to do. The grids will help with that, enormously.

Ask me a question so I can answer it in a future post on this blog.

Best, Joe