Working with Speedlites: One Flash Photography, with Syl Arena

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.

Canonistas rejoice! Professional photographer, avowed Canon user, and author of the Speedliter’s Handbook, Syl Arena has joined the ranks at KelbyTraining.com 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.

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Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: Basic Gear Guide (Duration 11:41)

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.

Lesson 2: Camera Settings and Shutter Speeds (Duration 12:57)

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.

Lesson 3: Know Your Speedlite (Duration 04:45)

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.

Lesson 4: Buttons and Functions (Duration 08:32)

Learn the various buttons and functions of 580EX2 and 430EX2 Speedlites.

Lesson 5: Know Your Modes (Duration 07:44)

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.

Lesson 6: Color Temperature (Duration 06:13)

Speedlites have the color temperature of a noon-day sun. Learn how to affect the color temp with gels and white balance.

Lesson 7: Going Off-Camera (Duration 14:18)

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.

Lesson 8: ETTL Flash Mode (Duration 07:53)

Syl goes over the settings for ETTL mode on your Speedlite and your camera - Good for when your subject-to-flash distance constantly changes.

Lesson 9: Manual Flash Mode (Duration 06:53)

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.

Lesson 10: First and Second Curtain Synch (Duration 06:07)

A neat demo to show you how to time when your flash fires under low light situations.

Lesson 11: Slow-Speed Synch (Duration 11:06)

Not quite technically the right name for the technique but that's what everyone calls it.

Lesson 12: High-Speed Synch Fill-Flash (Duration 03:16)

Syl shows you how to use a Speedlite in bright light for a fill-flash look with the high-speed synch.

Lesson 13: Battery Test (Duration 10:51)

This is what makes Syl the amazing instructor he is. He's even tested various batteries to let you know what works best!

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,…

23 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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! :)

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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. . slaterfamily - Australia

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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' ?

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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