DSLR Newbie Guidance - First Flash

Started Sep 3, 2013 | Questions thread
ilta Regular Member • Posts: 217
Re: DSLR Newbie Guidance - First Flash

Generally if you buy super-cheap you're going to end up replacing it and just getting real equipment later.

That isn't to say you should get the MOST expensive thing, but recognize that you are pretty much just tossing money away. That might be ok for a hobbyist with a single project, but in the long run if you find you like doing photography, you'll be kicking yourself in a year.

Additionally, balancing white values between the sun and a speedlite flash is never fun, especially if you aren't already experienced with good editing software, and/or you are using a cheap flash that won't always put out a consistent color profile.

Your best bet in this situation is indeed a 5-in-1 reflector, a stand, and an arm to hold the reflector. A sandbag isn't a bad idea if you live in a windy area, but you can also just use a backpack or a water jug if you want to cut a few corners.

You can get respectable equipment in your budget (check out Cowboy Studio) that will last you for a reasonable time, and if and when you are ready to move on to a quality flash (either a monolight or a good speedlite), you'll have the stand already, and a reflector is always a good tool to have on hand.

ADDITIONALLY, with a speedlight you'll need to fire the flash to see the effect it has on the picture, and you'll need to run over to it and dial it down if the sun ducks behind a cloud. A reflector (a) adjusts as the sun goes behind a cloud, since it's just pointing a percentage of the light at your model, and (b) serves as a "modeling" light. No guesswork! Just point it at the model and look to see if she's well lit, too bright, etc.

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