Camera Flash Recommendations

So now I have a nice DSLR camera, what flash should I buy….

I’m posting this article primarily for photography students in my second level (intermediate) photography class, but thought it would be good info to share with anyone else considering purchasing an affordable flash that you can grow into. Below are a few considerations to think about and a some actual flash recommendations. I’m not recommending manufacturer brand flashes because they are typically 2-3 times the price of comparable aftermarket flashes and the goal here is to stay affordable!

Considerations: 

1. Purchase a dedicated TTL (through the lens) flash that has a manual mode and variable power output adjustments. This is non negotiable – you need both of these features. The TTL feature allows the flash to communicate with your camera on metering and light output for automatic flash shooting. Manual mode will allow you to take creative control of flash output. You will need to purchase the correct model that is dedicated to your camera brand (i.e. Canon, Nikon etc)

2. If you want to shoot off-camera with your flash, you may consider a flash with a sync port incorporated, or you can purchase separate adapters later for $15-20. Not a show stopper for now.

3. I recommend a flash head that has tilt and swivel features and also has a diffuser and reflector card built in (as shown below). These features allow more creative flexibility and control as you learn how to use your flash.

Flash_Slide

Recommendations:

1. For the lowest price and with all the above mentioned features, the Yongnuo YN-565ex N is my top recommendation for Nikon owners, coming in at roughly $80. Here is the link: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1110994-REG/yongnuo_yn_565ex_n_speedlite_for.html

2. Updated 10/31/16: For Canon owners, the YN-565ex C was discontiued at one point but now seems to be available again, so here is the link for it: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1110993-REG/yongnuo_yn_565ex_i_ii_c_speedlite.html This comes in around $80 currently.

Update 10/31/16: If you want to spend about $25 more dollars and get everything you would ever want in a camera flash, you can upgrade to the top of the line Yongnuo flashes for Nikon or Canon, which includes high speed sync (HSS) and a built in wireless receiver. With the built in receiver, you don’t have to wire up and purchase a separate receiver to the flash for off camera wireless triggering. (see links below):

For Nikon Camerashttps://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1247484-REG/yongnuo_yn685_n_yn685_wireless_ttl_speedlite.html

For Canon Cameras: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1187134-REG/yongnuo_yn685_wireless_ttl_speedlite.html

There are certainly lots of other brands, but not many that offer all the features and reliability that these flashes offer. Happy shooting, and remember, don’t flash people without permission 🙂

 

Update 11/14/16: Interested in some other options? Here’s a great article from B&H Photo on 7 recommended third party flashes: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/buying-guide/7-recommended-third-party-flashes?utm_medium=Email%201630700&utm_campaign=Holiday2016&utm_source=03-Sort%20161113&utm_content=Explora&utm_term=quality-oem-flashes

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Photography Class Photo Shoot

A couple of fun shots from the photography class trip downtown last night. The students love the field trip photo shoot and I love to see them putting all the classroom info together and applying it to create some great photos. I love facilitating those “light bulb” moments in photography!

Capitol_Photo_Class_Shoot-1014 Capitol_Photo_Class_Shoot-1034-Edit

 

Photography Classes Starting in May

If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about your digital SLR (removable lens) camera and how to create great images, now’s your chance. I’ll be teaching two basic classes through Wake Tech starting in May. Classes are 8 wks long, one night per week for 3 hrs.

Here is the link for signing up: http://www.waketech.edu/programs-courses/non-credit/register-online?search=basic_digital_photography

The classes are a combination of classroom and hands on photography so you get to apply what you learned. One class is Monday’s 5/18-7/6, the other is Tuesday’s 5/19-7/7.

 

Basic Digital SLR Photography Workshop

Super excited about our upcoming half day photography workshop on Saturday Nov. 8th. We’re going to cover all the bases on how to get your camera off auto mode and shoot in manual mode with confidence. We’ll learn about composition, exposure, ISO, shutter speeds, aperture, white balance and all the basic info you’ll need to take your photography to the next level and create better photos. This class will be great whether you’re wanting to capture better photos of your children or take better landscape photos, so no matter what your subject matter preference is, this workshop will enhance your photography skills & abilities.

We prefer that you have a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera, this just means a camera with interchangeable lenses (not a point and shoot), however if you have a hybrid camera (camera with fixed lens, but still has at least a manual mode option) that may work. Call and let us check your model and we can let you know if your camera is appropriate (919) 850-0492.

There are a limited number of seats available so that we can answer everyone’s questions and have plenty of hands on interaction using your cameras. Call or email us to get signed up before we fill up.

Photography_Workshop_Ad_11-2014

Important considerations for your library of digital images

Interesting article here http://www.macworld.com/article/2452232/life-after-aperture-and-iphoto-what-to-do-with-your-image-library.html in MacWorld about Apple dropping support for Aperture and Iphotos. I’m sure everyone is familiar with Iphotos, but Aperture is Apple’s pro image editing software that has been around for years and was a big rival for Adobe’s Lightroom.

So what do you do when all your thousands of images are tied to a now unsupported and soon to be phased out program?? This can be a disaster if you’re not prepared and don’t plan ahead. If you’re just getting started there are several things to consider:

1. Pick a program that has been around and is fairly dominant in the market, and

2. Pick something that stores image metadata and info in formats that are cross platform compatible and can be transferred to other major programs if possible.

There are no guarantees of course, but you can at least minimize your risk by not going with newer, more obscure programs. The article itself has some detailed info on transitioning existing libraries, so if you’re in that boat check out the article.

These are some of the topics covered in the digital workflow portion of the photography classes we teach. There are lots of things to consider when choosing image editing and organizing software, but above all, assume that whatever you choose may be unsupported down the road, and choose something that minimizes your risk of losing images & edits as much as possible.

New Photography Classes added at Millbrook High School

Lots of great photography class options available for this summer!

Just picked up a couple of photography classes that will be offered at Millbrook High School this summer starting the first week of June. One is a basic digital class, the other is a location photography class. The instructor is listed as Jack Deere, but I will actually be teaching. Click here to view and register: http://www.waketech.edu/programs-courses/non-credit/personal-interest-classes/creative-arts

There are still a few seats left in the basic digital class I’m teaching at Knightdale High School starting this Monday 5/19. All classes are 8wks and meet one night per week for 3hrs. Sign up! We’ll have a great time learning photography together!

Just wrapped up a class at Knightdale and got to meet some great people and we all had fun learning some photography skills and techniques together. It’s safe to say that the photoshoot downtown in Raleigh was the highlight of the class. I even managed to squeeze in a shot or two in between answering questions.  I have some great ideas to make it even better next time, so join us if you can!

Great view down Fayettville St. from the Capital grounds.

Great view down Fayettville St. from the Capitol grounds.

Photography Classes – Current & Upcoming

Quick update on the current photography class I’m teaching through Wake Technical Community College, and then some info on upcoming classes :

First, I’m having a great time teaching about something I love and all the students seem to be enjoying the class as well. We had a full class (18 students) for my first class, so that was a great start. We’re three weeks into the eight week class at this point so we’re just getting through the technical stuff, and headed toward some fun creative topics like composition soon. We also have a field shoot coming up week six, so that should be fun putting together everything we’ve learned for some hands on photography. The class is at the new Knightdale High school campus in Knightdale and the facilities are great. I was flattered when the instructional supervisor asked me to teach the summer and fall sessions as well, so lots more opportunity if you didn’t get in on this class!

Some of the topics covered are: Aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure control and adjustments, resolution, composition, light metering, etc, etc. And the great thing about an 8 wk class is that we get to really peel back the layers and dive into these subjects to fully understand them. That’s hard to do in a single two or three hour class.

The upcoming summer class will be here soon and registration is open now, so check out this link to sign up: http://www.waketech.edu/programs-courses/non-credit/register-online?search=basic_digital_photography

Classes for the summer session run from May 19th – July 14 and the fall session will be posted soon. I’ll keep you posted on that as info becomes available. More to come soon…