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

2 Courses


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...


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of jtraver jtraver

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

  2. 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

  3. Profile photo of Spemerick Spemerick

    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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  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 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

  8. Profile photo of lucienr lucienr

    Very good course. Well explained. Good teacher.

  9. Profile photo of GordonHH GordonHH

    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.

  10. 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.