Flash - Mandatory For A Wide Range of Photography Subjects

Using flash in photography is essential (in most cases anyway) – it is a simple but hard-working unit that provides you with that extra lighting to work with shadows or poor lighting conditions. A Speedlight is a flashgun and it’s ideal for working on a low-budget or for reportage-style photos.

Not only is it incredibly portable but it allows you to shoot your favorite kinds of shots everywhere. It’s important never to rely on the on-camera flash – not only does it provide a strong, dramatic light with little if any diffusion, but it will also create a lot of burning-out of highlights.

The advantage most Speedlight flashes come with is their tilt-and-swivel function, which will allow you to change the direction of the flash which will, in the end, enable you to bounce the light off different props or walls in order to soften the falling light.

The use of a portable flash kit is also essential in advanced portrait photography. A portable flash kit contains a separate hand flash and a couple of batteries – this will increase the power of your Speedlight and will add a different definition to your photographs.

We shall discuss more about creative lighting techniques a bit later in the book. The important part here is to keep in mind that as a beginner portrait photographer, a Speedlight is a good way to start, but if you want to keep going on this path, you might want to invest in a lighting set-up as well.

What Should You Invest In?

As we discussed, there are all sorts of basic and special flashes you can consider, but those are only useful if you specialized in that particular type of photography. And that means that you need to have a certain experience as a photographer, or you have to be sure the niche you’re aiming for is the one you want to stick for an incredibly long while (or at least for the foreseeable future).

The truth is, flash systems along with special lenses can get quite pricey, and you might find yourself at the bottom of your account sooner than you expected. Therefore if you feel you really need to invest in that set of macro flashes because your macro photography cannot do without it, then don’t hold back.

But if you feel you don’t know enough about macro photography to truly use a specialized lighting system, then waiting a while might be the right choice for the moment.

As far as portrait photography goes, portrait flash systems can range from incredibly cheap to extremely expensive. The good news is that most Speedlights can do the job just right. If you want a creative lighting system, re-read the paragraph above, apply it to your portrait photography and you’ll know soon enough whether you need more equipment or not.

Read our creative lighting tutorial as well if you want to find out more about lighting in portraits.