Working with Speedlites: One Flash Photography By Syl Arena

1 hr 52 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

Canonistas rejoice! Professional photographer, avowed Canon user, and author of the Speedliter’s Handbook, Syl Arena has joined the ranks at to share his vast knowledge of Canon Speedlites. In this class, Syl starts at the beginning with the basics and one flash, and then takes you through everything you need to know; from technique to gear, to master the Speedlite and take better pictures almost immediately.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

If you're just getting into Speedlites, you don't need to buy everything. Syl gives you a good list of gear to get you started.
After adjusting the exposure and aperture to get an understanding of how the camera sees the ambient light, Syl shows you how adjusting the shutter speed affects both the Speedlight and ambient light. Key point: The shutter speed controls the ambient light.
Syl goes over some different Speedlite models, gives his take on them and tells you what you can do with them in relation to your Canon camera.
Learn the various buttons and functions of 580EX2 and 430EX2 Speedlites.
Syl takes you through the mode reel on your camera to help you break out of the "green box mode" and explore how the different modes can apply when adding Speedlites.
Speedlites have the color temperature of a noon-day sun. Learn how to affect the color temp with gels and white balance.
In order to create interesting light, you need to create interesting shadows. Take things up a notch with an ETTL cord and some basic gear for off-camera flash and better, more dramatic shadows.
Syl goes over the settings for ETTL mode on your Speedlite and your camera - Good for when your subject-to-flash distance constantly changes.
Syl goes over the settings for Manual mode on your Speedlite and your camera - Good for when your subject-to-flash distance doesn't change.
A neat demo to show you how to time when your flash fires under low light situations.
Not quite technically the right name for the technique but that's what everyone calls it.
Syl shows you how to use a Speedlite in bright light for a fill-flash look with the high-speed synch.
This is what makes Syl the amazing instructor he is. He's even tested various batteries to let you know what works best!
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 Jennifer Kelley Lublin Jennifer Kelley Lublin

    Great class! Thank you so much :-)

  2. Profile photo of Laura Laura

    EXCELLENT Speedlight class for beginners!! Syl is a fantastic and thorough instructor, and covers all aspects of basic Speedlight usage. The modules on Basic Gear, Know Your Speedlight, Buttons & Functions, Color Temperature (including the use of gels), Going Off Camera, ETTL, and sync and shutter, were especially informative – but every single module is a gold mine of information. I’ve watched the entire course twice now and feel so much better informed – and finally ready to use my Canon 430 EX II off camera!

    The two Speedlights Syl teaches with in this course are the Canon 430 EX II and the next one up (530?).

    I appreciated the fact that throughout the course, Syl demonstrates how to set up and use every single piece of lighting gear discussed in the “Know Your Gear” module. He emphasizes starting with only one or two pieces of equipment, mastering those, and then moving on to the next. In other words, you don’t need to go out and buy all the gear at once in order to start Speedlighting.

    Best, easiest to understand class on Speedlighting that I’ve ever seen. Well done Syl and KelbyOne!! Thanks for this truly helpful course. Please keep more like this coming!!!

    1. Profile photo of Laura Laura

      By the way, I left this review in March 2015 – not three years ago, as is listed at the top of my review. Not sure why it is showing up as being left three years ago. KelbyOne, please fix this!

  3. Profile photo of frazzelled frazzelled

    Wow! That was a lot to take in. But everything and more that I was looking to learn. I’ll have to come back to it, because it was a lot to take in in 1 go. I would also add that maybe it is time to update this lesson to cover the new Canon 600 speed light, and how to work it with a wireless ETTL instead of wired. Other than that, perfect. Great teacher!

  4. Profile photo of Ranjit Ranjit

    Great lesson..Syl rocks!

  5. Profile photo of Bill Dahl Bill Dahl

    Thank you! Very pleased with what I was able to learn. Great job!

  6. Profile photo of Jeremy Alderton Jeremy Alderton

    Learned a lot! Excellent course content and very well presented.

    Thank you.

  7. Profile photo of pacdoc pacdoc

    HI there, Loving the kelby, would been great if you guys can list a few website for all the photo equipment.
    Cheers Guys.

    —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of uasatish uasatish

    I bought a Speedlite 430EX II a couple of weeks back. I soon realised that I would need help if I was to make the best use of it. I wish to congratulate the KT team for including this course on Speedlites specifically for Canon users. Syl Arena is an authority on the subject. He is concise and clear. It is indeed a privilege to learn from him. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of bspldng bspldng

    Super —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of khashiar khashiar

    Very good, straight forward information, with humor. Even though I knew some of the information, it was a good refresher course. And I walked away, learning new things. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of kaatje06 kaatje06

    Magnificent course: i learned a lot by taking this course. Thank you!! —- No, I’d keep it between us

  12. Profile photo of jeffegan jeffegan

    Very informative course. I wish a gear list was included like on many other courses. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  13. Profile photo of drbubba drbubba

    Great course. Just what I have been looking for. Hope this instructor keeps on making
    flash and speedlite courses.
    Very well presented and at a pace that I can follow and understand. Not much pausing and going back and wondering ‘what did he say’ ? —- Yes, please post my feedback

  14. Profile photo of Robin Spencer Robin Spencer

    Excellent info. Wish you had one for the Nikon units. The battery info at the end was the best I have ever seen. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  15. Profile photo of adsus adsus

    Great course – as always. Suggest adding a ‘product sheet’ as a download for the course. Would be helpful in hunting down some of the products mentioned by Syl. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  16. Profile photo of rebelbandito rebelbandito

    This is a great introduction to Speedlites and was extremely helpful in getting me up and running. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  17. Profile photo of mjmarkovitch mjmarkovitch

    Need more vids by Syl! Great stuff! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  18. Profile photo of Immaculens Immaculens

    A Great Course! This course does assume however that the student already understands an amount of speedlight/flash vocabulary & terminology. It was not discussed what a ‘Stop’ is, for example. Obviously the viewer can look up any term elsewhere. It also would have been helpful to learn the role of aperture in “Speedlighting” specifically. I know Syl mentioned various times that aperture controls depth of field – but does aperture affect flash power output and if so – how? I believe aperture’s role was mentioned once very briefly in a segment but I have to view it again. Finally, it would have been helpful seeing more of the camera’s settings (LCD) when changed between Syl’s shots.With those small points aside – This is a very informative Course and watching these segments again and again will be of great benefit. I may also get his Speedlighter’s Book for more in-depth info. Thank-you for this course Syl & Scott & offering it for Canon Users! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  19. Profile photo of Donald Mcconnell Donald Mcconnell

    Fantastic for showing how to use and position the various light modifiers, esp the Wescott Apollo and umbrellas. Really helpful if you have never had formal training in the use of these various mods. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  20. Profile photo of Karen Slater Karen Slater

    Thought this course was great. Clear, relevant and in simple language. I have been very concerned about using my new speedlite. I have now gone right through this course and feel so much more confident. Best thing is I can re do sections of it again if I want to in order to refresh my memory. Covered a whole gamut of different topics. —- Yes, please post my feedback.
    slaterfamily – Australia —- Yes, please post my feedback

  21. Profile photo of Karen Slater Karen Slater

    Thought this course was great. Clear, relevant and in simple language. I have been very concerned about using my new speedlite. I have now gone right through this course and feel so much more confident. Best thing is I can re do sections of it again if I want to in order to refresh my memory. Covered a whole gamut of different topics. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  22. Profile photo of Wallace B Scarborough Wallace B Scarborough

    Love this class. I have learned a lot about speed lights. I am a nikon shooter with a 900 speed light. Is there this same corse for Nikon? —- Yes, please post my feedback

  23. Profile photo of maddog201 maddog201

    Great course learned a lot, i am a beginner and Syl covered everything, and gave me a lot to think about.thanks Syl —- Yes, please post my feedback

  24. Profile photo of Wanda Willoughby Wanda Willoughby

    This course was incredible. I have been fighting with my speedlite for two years outside as a fill flash and now I think I have it figured out. I have also bought your book and am looking forward to going on vacation and practicing with my speedlite outside…i don’t have to have it on “party mode” any longer. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  25. Profile photo of tprince tprince

    Excellent. Found this course very helpful, may watch it again and would recommend it. The instructor speaks clearly, explains things well and keeps the viewer interested. Great job.

  26. Profile photo of SKOLAR1 SKOLAR1

    I really love this course been waiting for a Canon turtorial hoping to see more on Canon products Great job —- Yes, please post my feedback

  27. Profile photo of kscphoto kscphoto

    Syl, THANK YOU. I’m not even done the entire video, but I have learned SO much about my Speedlite already. I am a beginner with OCF and I appreciate very much how clear you were about everything. You have completely demystified flash for me. Again, thank you!!! And now back to watching first and second curtain sync! :) —- Yes, please post my feedback

  28. Profile photo of HisEyes HisEyes

    Great job! I loved it! I am a beginner and I just learned so much from watching a few videos. I love how the instructor threw in a few price ranges on some of the items so that I could have an idea of how much it would cost me. I also love how he stated which items are best for beginners. Great course!

Loading your account dashboard