Canon 90EX flash as a Master unit for a beginner?

Started Jan 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
TangoMan Senior Member • Posts: 1,371
Re: Canon 90EX flash as a Master unit for a beginner?

DoctorPDA wrote:

My goal is to take photos of family (baby, family) at home.

I want better flash than my on camera flash. I was thinking of just getting flash off camera by getting a 430 EX II ($250) and a Vello E-TTL cord that is 33' (~ $50), and also an umbrella with stand (maybe ~ $75 to $100). That way I can experiment with off camera flash and hopefully get better photos. Does that sound reasonable?

I could always upgrade later, by getting a master flash (ex. 580 EX II) (that is ~ $500 so a bit much for me now), and use the 430 EX II as a slave, and maybe get a softbox.


Your solution sounds quite reasonable and should work nicely, except for the umbrella because they are difficult to position and move inside a normal home. Light stand also have a tendency to be hard to move quickly because of the large base.  They will slow you down beyond reasonable, unless you want to do posed portraits. However, if you are using your umbrella as an "ambiant light", then it can work pretty well since you don't have to move it. I would then use the on camera flash (main flash) on a bracket with a small soft box or bounced off a large white material (like a 8x8" foamcore or white cardboard positionned a few inches above the flash) This gives you the best light, but you've got to figure out how to attach it to the bracket or flash. In exchange, you get speed and beautiful light.

Rather than using an umbrella, I would use a white wall (or lean/tape a white foamcore/coroplast against a wall/ceiling) and bounce the second flash off it. That would let you shoot quickly in smaller rooms. Home made reflectors or bounce devices are often the best way to get exactly what you need.

As usual, experimentation is key. Have fun

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