I’ve just completed a series of four workshops over the last two weeks, three have been camera specific covering the the EOS 70D, EOS 5D Mark III and the EOS 7D Mark II. Earlier this week I ran a beginners Speedlite workshop.

Speedlite workshop with model Natasha Chick

Of all the workshops I run, the Speedlite flash ones are of the the most fun. Mixing some presentation with practical lighting exercises is always a recipe for success. This week the workshop was for beginners, and this means I need to help many of the people directly with settings on their combination of cameras and flashes; a challenge that perversely I love rising to.

In this group I had a wide range of cameras and flashes that the attendees brought with them. One the practical moved from on-camera flash,  to bounce flash, adding a simple modifier the Lastolite Ezybox Speedlite 2 and finally to a simple one-light off-camera setup. I was working with both optical and radio wireless systems in parallel to keep everyone making great pictures and getting familiar with working with flash, mixing or eliminating ambient light.

Cameras on this weeks course included:

  • EOS 600D
  • EOS 700D
  • EOS 40D
  • EOS 70D
  • EOS 7D Mark II
  • EOS 5D Mark III

There was a good mix of flashes too…

  • Speedlite 600EX II-RT
  • Speedlite 600EX-RT
  • Speedlite 550EX
  • Speedlite 430EX III-RT
  • Speedlite 430EX II
  • Speedlite 270EX II

For the off-camera work, some delegates used their flashes as the master, others used the built-in flash on their camera as the EOS 600D, 700D and 7D Mark II can all work as masters. Just one person needed to borrow my Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT for the off-camera elements.

For the afternoon I work with a model, they always look much better than I do, and it frees me to help the delegates with their specific camera & flash settings. This workshop I was joined by Natasha. I even managed one or two test shots of her myself to make sure both optical and radio flashes were working.

Speedlite workshop

Taken with a pair of flashes in a large 90cm x 90cm Lastolite Ezybox II. The flash is located on the left of the frame, and there’s a fill reflector on the right, just out of the shot. The softbox is positioned so it’s at 90 degrees to Natasha and quite a lot in front of her. She’s once again lit with the nice light that is often found at the edge of the light, and then some fill comes back in from the right of the frame. I used a 50mm f/1.2L lens and the EOS 7D Mark II was set to 1/250s, f/4 at ISO 400. I used the built-in flash to trigger the pair of Speedlites using E-TTL. It’s a white wall behind Natasha, but with very little light falling on it, then it is transformed in to a mid-grey background.


Speedlite workshop

This picture was taken using a single Lastolite Ezybox Hotshoe, 38x38cm in size. I positioned the light on the right side of the photo at the end of the table Natasha is sitting at, and pointing across the frame. I pulled the light slightly forward of the magazine, so that Natasha is lit with the soft gorgeous light that is found at the edge. I used a 24-70mm f/4L lens on the EOS 5D Mark IV and triggered the Speedlite 600EX-RT using the ST-E3-RT trigger. Camera settings were 1/200s f/7.1 ISO 160 and E-TTL automatic flash. It’s what I often call shopping bag light.

Speedlite workshop with model Natasha ChickFor the picture at the top of the post, and on the left; the aim was to balance some daylight from the window with flash. I ended up at 1/30s f/5.6 ISO 400 on the EOS 7D Mark II. The flashes were inside the big 90cm x 90cm Lastolite Ezybox II powered by a pair of Speedlite 600EX-RT flashes.

Multiple flashes working in harmony

I use a pair of Speedlites in the soft boxes wherever possible for these workshops as it allows them to recycle faster. Each flash does half the work. It means that attendees can be confident that the flashes will be ready for their next shot. Sometimes I use the older Lastolite Ezybox with a quad flash bracket to allow two optical and two radio linked flashes to be used in parallel and let attendees get similar results regardless of which camera and flash they have.

If you’d like to learn about flash photography with me, there are more beginners flash workshops in 2017, but I have a final Creative Speedlite workshop for this year on 15th November. This is the one if you already know the basics, and want to control multiple flashes off-camera both indoors and out.

New small flash lighting courses

I’m preparing some courses for all kinds of folks who want to learn about lighting with off-camera flash. These new workshops will be all about lighting, not about controlling Canon flashes. So if you have a Sony, Nikon or other brand keep an eye out on the website for the announcement.


About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag