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Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites

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Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites


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  • Copyright 2011
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-321-71105-X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-321-71105-2

Getting your Canon Speedlite to produce the light you need can be a real challenge. For those new to flash photography—or for anyone who has previously given up out of frustration—Speedliter’s Handbook is a revelation. Photographer Syl Arena takes you on a journey that begins with an exploration of light and color, moves through a comprehensive discussion of the Canon Speedlite family and all of the accessories and equipment available to the Speedliter, then settles down to crafting great light in one photo shoot after another. Whether you want to create a classical portrait, shoot an event, or simply add a little fill light to a product shot, Speedliter’s Handbook shows you how.

A fantastic in-depth resource illustrated with over 500 images, Speedliter’s Handbook covers:

  • how to see the various characteristics and properties of light itself, as well as the differences between how your camera sees versus how you see
  • all the buttons and dials of the entire Canon Speedlite family
  • the basics of on-camera flash…and the necessity of getting your flash off the camera
  • how to beautifully balance flash with the existing ambient light
  • all the equipment necessary for great Speedlite shots
  • how to get amazing shots with just one Speedlite
  • how and when to use E-TTL versus manual flash
  • the use of color gels to balance color, as well as create dramatic effects
  • how to tame the sun—or any really bright light—with hi-speed sync
  • and much, much more
Whether you’re shooting portraits, events, or sports, Speedliter’s Handbook is an essential resource that teaches you how to craft the light you need for any type of shot you want.

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Speedliter's Handbook: Light of the World

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 3 and Index)

Table of Contents

Welcome Speedliter!

chapter Zero
Quick Start Guide To Speedliting
Why Pop-Up And Hot Shoe Flash Do Not Create Interesting Light
Deal With The Ambient Light First
Who Is In Charge—You Or Your Speedlite?
More Essential Truths About Speedliting

Before Speedlites, There Was Light
chapter one
Learn To See Light
The Poetry Of Light
Character Of Light
How You See vs. How Your Camera Sees

chapter TWO
Exposure Exposed
The Trinity: ISO, Shutter Speed And Aperture
Depth Of Field
Equivalent Exposures
Exposure Modes
Metering, Metering Zones, And Metering Modes
White Balance
Exposure Evaluation For Flash Photography
Determining Proper Exposure

chapter THREE
Mechanics Of Light
Taking Color’s Temperature
Incidence Incidentally
Soft Light Proves That Size Is Relative
Falling Off, Or How To Love The Inverse Square Law
Thinking About Flash-To-Subject Distance As Stops

chapter FOUR
Light Of The World
The Role Of Ambient Light
Controlling Ambient In Flash Exposures
Options For Blending Ambient And Flash

chapter FIVE
Think Globally, Light Locally
The Lighting Compass
On-Axis And Off-Axis Light
Light From Above... And Below

Speedlites Fundamentally

chapter six
Meet The Speedlites
Dissecting A Burst Of Flash
Speedlite 580EX II
Speedlite 430EX II
Speedlite 270EX
Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX
Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX
Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2

chapter seven
Control Your Speedlite
Mode—Deciding How The Power Level Is Set
Sync—Deciding When To Fire The Flash
Zoom—Deciding Where To Fire, Part 1
Pan and Tilt—Deciding Where To Fire, Part 2

chapter eight
Flashing Manually
Manual Flash—A Way To Get Started
When To Use Manual Flash
Setting Power Manually On Canon Speedlites
My Workflow: Using One Speedlite In Manual Mode

chapter Nine
E Is For Evaluative
E Is For Evaluative
Mechanics Of E-TTL
Limitations Of E-TTL
E-TTL And Camera Modes
Flash Exposure Compensation
Flash Exposure Lock

chapter TEN
Move Your Speedlite Off-Camera
Your Camera Is A Lousy Place To Put A Speedlite
Options For Controlling Off-Camera Speedlites
E-TTL Cords
Canon Built-In Wireless
E-TTL Radio Triggers
Sync Cords And Hotshoe Adapters
Optical Slaves And Infrared Triggers
Manual Radio Triggers

chapter Eleven
Wireless Speedliting, The Canon Way
Canon’s Built-In Wireless System
The Master: One Speedlite Has To Be In Charge
To Fire Or Not To Fire: The Master Wants To Know
The Slave: The Worker Bee Of Wireless Flash
Channels: Everyone Has To Be The Same
Groups: Assigning Specific Jobs To Specific Speedlites
Getting Rational About Ratios
A:B Ratios: Splitting Up The Load Between Two Groups
A:B C Ratios: Three-Group E-TTL
Wireless Speedliting In Manual Only
Free-Agent Wireless: Firing Speedlites In E-TTL & Manual Together
Moving Your Master Off-Camera—Way Off Camera
Radio Options For Wireless E-TTL

Chapter Twelve
Mixing Canon Speedlites With Other Lights
Third-Party Speedlights
Getting Speedlites To Play With Other Small Flash
Speedlites, Monolights, And Studio Packs
Not Getting Burned—Speedlites With Hot Lights
Managing The Glow—Speedlites With Fluorescent

Gear For Speedliting

chapter Thirteen
Go Ahead, Mod Your Speedlite
Why Mod?
Built-In Modifiers
Options For Mounting Mods
Dome Diffusers
Bounce Reflectors
Softboxes That Attach To Speedlites
Ring Light Adapters
Gobos And Flags
Random Essentials
Deciding Which Mods Are Right For You

chapter Fourteen
Those Big Modifiers Always Get In The Way
Why Mod In A Big Way
Softboxes Made For Speedlites
Converting A Studio Softbox For Speedlite Use
Beauty Dishes
Scrims And Diffusion Panels
Flags And Solids

chapter Fifteen
Get A Grip
Mounting A Speedlite Anywhere
Sometimes You Have To Take A Stand
Reaching Out: Poles, Booms, And Boom Stands
Rails And Other Multi-Lite Mounts
Staying Flexible: Bungies, Straps, And Gaff

chapter sixteen
Keeping The Energy Up
Batteries Basically
Single-Use Batteries
Rechargeable Batteries
Best AA Batteries
Battery Strategies
CP-E4 Compact Battery Pack
Charging Batteries
Carrying Batteries

Speedliting In Action

chapter Seventeen
Lighting Portraits Classically
One More Time Around The Lighting Compass
Broad Lighting
DMV Lighting
On The Nose Lighting
Butterfly/Paramount Lighting
Copy Lighting
Short Lighting
Loop Lighting
Rembrandt Lighting
Split & Hatchet Lighting
Horror Lighting

chapter Eighteen
Portraits With One Speedlite
Back To Basics, Quickly
Shoot: One Speedlite With Fill Reflector
Shoot: Reflecting On The World Of Umbrellas
Shoot: Think Of The Shutter As A Light Modifier
Shoot: Speedliting A Silhouette
Shoot: Sun As Rimlight, Gelled Speedlite As Fill
Shoot: Trying All The Ezyboxes On For Size
Shoot: Through An Umbrella Softly
Shoot: Candlelight Through A Disk Diffuser
Shoot: Gridding A Speedlite For Drama

chapter Nineteen
Portraits With Two And Three Speedlites
Opening Horizons With Multiple Speedlites
Shoot: Classic Three-Light Setup
Shoot: Clamshell Lighting, Top To Bottom
Shoot: Ring That Light With Small Hatchets
Shoot: Color Creates Mood
Shoot: Trio Of Speedlites Into A Big Silver Umbrella
Shoot: Dance With The Softbox
Shoot: Shade That Speedlite
Shoot: Mixing Speedlites With Water
Shoot: Multi-Lite, Second-Curtain Sync
Shoot: Two Heads Can Be Better Than One

chapter Twenty
Gelling For Effect
Gels Quickly
If Color Correction Is Needed, Did Something Go Wrong?
Getting Dramatic With Color
My Favorite Gels
Mounting Gels
Mixing White Balance And Gels Creatively
Shoot: Golden Hour Anytime
Shoot: The Blue World
Shoot: Coloring The Night

chapter Twenty-one
Slicing Time With High-Speed Sync
How High-Speed Sync Changed My Career
Activating High-Speed Sync
Syncing Flash Normally
High-Speed Sync Changes The Way Your Speedlite Fires
Workflow For Creating Dramatic Light With HSS
Alternatives To High-Speed Sync
Shoot: Defying Gravity In Broad Daylight
Shoot: Freezing Water On A Hot Day
Shoot: Flashing Wide Open In Full Sun
Shoot: Stray Dog And Stray Light

chapter Twenty-two
Dimming The Sun
Options For Dimming The Sun
How To Dim The Sun With A Fast Shutter
Using Zoom As A Light Modifier
Shoot: Secret Agent Tony

chapter Twenty-three
Smashing Pumpkins With Gang Light
Gang Lighting—A New Way To Light
Shoot: Smashing Pumpkins
Shoot: Lady Of The Opera
Shoot: Backyard Soccer Champion
Shoot: Flying High After Sunset
Shoot: Pushing Back Against The Desert Sun

chapter twenty-four
Speedliting Events
The Dual Roles Of Event Photography
Strategies For Lighting Events With Off-Camera Flash
Shoot: Vineyard Wedding
Shoot: Paderewski Festival
Shoot: Wheels Of Wellness
Shoot: Festival Of The Arts

chapter twenty-Five
Strobo, Strobo, Strobo
Flashing Again And Again
Single Speedlite Stroboscopic
Multi Speedlite Stroboscopic
Other Considerations For Stroboscopic
Shoot: Birdman
Shoot: Leaps Of Faith
Shoot: It’s Outta Here

Appendix One
Gang Slang For Speedliters

Appendix Two
Web Resources For Speedliters

Appendix Three
Custom Functions

Appendix Four
Six-Point Checklist For Speedliting

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