November 9, 2009

Speedlight Series: What do I use and por que (part 1)

Michael's note: sorry to bore you guys, but everybody has been asking for this...
This is part 1 of a lighting series that I will be posting over the next week.   I am going to cover speed lights from top to bottom (at least uncover what I know about these little lights).  I will go over my shooting style, what gear I use (and why) and break down all the messy technical stuff that a lot of people may find confusing.
 I cut my teeth on off camera flash from reading the strobist forum and buying Zack Arias’ Onelight DVD.  I have spent the last year and a half experimenting and I am to share with you journey with speed lights.  I am going to take what I learned from different photographers and try to explain in my own words.  I ain’t some technical math wizard either;  I have a stinkin’ degree in English Literature.   I am going to try and make this stuff easy to understand.   I will also go beyond using just one light:  I'm going to show you all the tricks I know and I might even do a little experimenting along the way.

Enjoy the series!  Please comment and tell me what you think.  What did I miss?  How can I help?  Do my videos suck?

Links to where I bought my gear:

I use Cyber Sync transmitters and receivers.  The little boogers fire every time and even work behind walls/windows.  I love them and they are around $130 for a set.  No, they don’t pay me!

B&H for my stands, modifiers, accessories, etc.  You can occasionally find used gear on their site too.  I trust these guys and they are easy to deal with.  A little NY attitude…but that doesn’t bother me:, ebay and amazon for used gear.  I highly recommend buying used when you can to save money.  The only piece of used gear I don’t recommend buying is a camera.

Lighten up and shoot!


  1. Hello Andy & Michael, I just learned about your work in the strobist Flikr forum and got curious about your new blog witch is great. Thanks for taking the trouble to produce these content so anyone interested can have fun learning something about photo and lighting.
    keep up, you're doing a great job!

  2. Hey Guys! Done a bunch of "documentary" photogrphy, but no modelling/studio stuff. Do I really need to wait a week for the rest of this series? I already have a couple of speedlights (one in the shop after boing run over by an SUV), but I'm just wondering... Reflective umbrella, softbox or shoot-through??

    Great advice, by the way. I'll be looking into Zack Arias (fun name).


  3. Thank you friends, please continue ...

  4. Anonymous:
    I would buy a 60" convertible umbrella (you can shoot through or reflect). I would also buy the softbox (because the light is so so so pretty!

  5. Andy just yelled at me because it was a stupid reply. Stay tuned...we are making a video about it right now..should be up tomorrow...and then you can make a decision. Light Modifiers

  6. I am new to lighting and I was hoping that you can post dirct link(s) directly to the stands, modifiers, accessories I need to purchase for my Nikon flashes. Sorry, but I am so confused on what I need to mount my speedlights.

  7. Hey Michael, don't mess with that tape on you PC Cord.
    Check out for his screwed pc x 1/8 jack flash cord. They are great, about $15.00 a cord. No more tape.Makes a great connection.