Working with Speedlites: Multiple Flash Photography By Syl Arena

1 hr 37 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

The Canon Speedlite learning continues! Avowed “Canonista” and author of the Speedliter’s Handbook, Syl Arena kicks up the action with more advanced lighting techniques using multiple flashes. In this class, Syl takes you through the how and the why you should take the Speedlite off the top of your camera and explore off-camera flash starting with one Speedlite and moving to multiple flash scenarios.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

To make interesting light, you need to make interesting shadows.
Syl goes over the gear needed to trigger your Speedlites in Manual mode - Good for when your subject-to-flash distance doesn't change - starting at the lower price range and going up to give you an idea of what will work for your camera and flash needs.
ETTL is Canon's proprietary automatic flash mode. This is good for when your subject-to-flash distance constantly changes. Learn about ETTL flash and the gear needed.
Syl demos how taking your Speedlite off camera and changing the flash's zoom will dramatically change the light quality of your portrait with even one flash. Plus, learn one way to create soft light.
In addition to the diffuser disc, learn two more ways to create soft light with an umbrella and a soft box. Plus, learn where to position your equipment to create different light.
Syl creates an outdoor set up in golden light and adds more golden fill light by using his master Speedlight to trigger the slave Speedlight nearby.
Learn how to set up your master light, set your channels, enable or disable the master, and set your ratios from the back of your camera (depending on your model). Speedlite function locations will differ on different cameras. Syl shows you where to find them.
Syl goes over the settings for slave lights including groups, channels and zoom settings.
Now that the Master and slave lights are set up, Syl puts it all together and shares his camera settings, Speedlite groups and ratios to show you how he gets his shot. Plus, Syl explains what this whole "ratio thing" is all about.
Syl demos how to create beauty light inexpensively with a "clamshell" lighting set up.
Syl puts the Master Speedlite in a soft box and uses it to trigger the Slave Speedlight to create a soft-light shot with a rim light accent.
It can take a lot of Speedlights for a group shot so call in your Cannonista friends to get this set up right.
Syl creates an outdoor shot at night with three Speedlites and some colored gels.
Profile photo of Syl Arena

Meet your instructor

Syl Arena


Syl Arena has wandered the world of photography for over four decades. Shortly after Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, Syl "borrowed" his father's newfangled Polaroid camera, climbed a tree, and made his first photograph. He was in the third grade. In college, Syl studied commercial photography at Brooks Institute and fine art pho...

Syl's Courses


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of kentmcpherson kentmcpherson

    Great info Syl. Have you looked at the Phottix Odin flash triggers? They seem to do everything the ETTL cable will do. Just curious about your thoughts as they’re about half the price of a Pocket Wizard set up.

  2. Profile photo of frazzelled frazzelled

    Excellent! Everything the above commenters said, I agree. Went from knowing nothing, to a good understanding of what I didn’t understand before. As has been said, would come back to see the 600 update.

  3. Profile photo of Gordon Gordon

    It should be noted this course predates the 600 flash with radio. That changes so much of what Syl covers in this course. I’d come back for the update.

  4. Profile photo of lucienr lucienr

    Very good course. Well explained. Good teacher.

  5. Profile photo of adsus adsus

    Great course. Awesome to have some info specific to Canon gear. Brilliant opening segment to the course LOL. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of Gry Offernes Gry Offernes

    I have just finished the two courses Syl has, and I’m so thrilled!! From knowing nothing – and understanding even less! – when using my speedlight I suddenly understand what’s going on! Thank you so much for making the mystery of flash photography a little bit less mysterious :-)

    Gry Offernes —- Yes, please post my feedback

  7. Profile photo of Ray Lundrigan Ray Lundrigan

    Excellent course! I really appreciate the thoroughness in the details. Thank you!

    Ray —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of rnuffer rnuffer

    Thank you! I enjoyed Syl and just purchased his book after watching this course. I also appreciate Kelby Training putting in a Canon Flash course (I sometimes feel Kelby Training is a little more Nikon oriented).

    I really, really hope you have Syl back to do a course on the new Canon 600 Speedlite. He already has a few 600 videos on his blog and they are very good.

    Thanks again! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of Steve Emerick Steve Emerick

    Syl Arena is a very talented teacher. He explains the relevant information clearly and in an organized manner and does not fill the audio with irrelevancies. I have his speed lighting book, which is very good, now I know why. I wish he made more pieces for Kelby. —- No, I’d keep it between us

  10. Profile photo of Ray Warren Ray Warren

    Syl is a legend. LOved this course. I shoot Nikon and even though he is talking about Canon I learned a lot. Besides useful information about lighting I also learned why Nikon rules. 1/200th max sync, 3 channels, no wireless for cheaper speedlites hehehehehehehe LMFAO!
    Great stuff Syl, more please

  11. Profile photo of jtraver jtraver

    Great job of communicating your enthusiasm and knowledge while inspiring the viewer to experiment more with capabilities of speedlights.

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