What Can Be Done With Speedlites

What Can Be Done With Speedlites

hi all, I have been putting together a rather complete speedlite kit (3 kits,
9-11 lights/battery packs, and TT5’s with softboxes, grids, snoots, fresnels,
grip gear, stands, and other accessories all in a small rolling case, each case
one third the size and 1/4th the weight of my previous 2 pack, 3 head broncolor
kits) To the case I add one convertible boom/15 foot stand and one small tripod
strapped outside.

So this weekend I was giving a small demo of that setup, all thats in the case
and also brought the big 86″ PLM to play with in conjunction. Here are a few
of the shots from that.

It was a rainy gray day, so I was using a CTB in fact I used 1 1/2 CTB to make
the main lights very blue and when balanced for a warm tone the gray day became
far warmer and near orange glow.

To see some great behind the scenes footage
from that shoot click here
: http://vimeo.com/6731465

Speedlites in action… 5D2, 7D, TT5’s
from Stephen Eastwood (extras)
on Vimeo.

Canon speedlites, on both 7D and 5D markII Using the ST-E2, or built in 7D
flash or TT5 Pocket Wizards(E-TTL compatible).

580ex2’s, 580ex, 550ex’s

Check my tutorial page for details and a “whats in my speedlite kit” list! As
well as a how it was lit section under what can be done with speedlites


For these I was using limited gear as it was simple, I had the speedlites,
(all 580exII’s) with CP-E4 battery packs and Pocketwizard TT5 units on each.
Camera had a TT5 and ST-E2 for ratio controls. main light indoors, not PLM (Parabolic
light modifier shots) was a westscot halo with 1 and 1/2 CTB’s (Color Temp Blue
gels, 1 CTB changes tungsten to daylight, 3200k to 5700k so 1 1/2 was a 4600
degree cooling down ) and I had a 580 on a boom with Honl Grid and 1 1/2 CTB,
as hair/rim light, and one in a wastscot Apollo 24″ open faced shooting at the
background to add light to a dark scene. That background light had no gel so
it was warmer in color temp by 4600 degrees) I dragged the shutter a tad to
burn out the windows and as the sky was fairly dark and gray the extra blue
gels helped in creating the orange glow. (I adjusted in camera to account for
the blue gels and be even slightly warmer than the accurate temp to give the
model a nice pleasing warm light, that made the daylight outside coming in nice
and warm in comparison)

For the sundown roof and puddle shots I went outside with two lights, one in
the open face apollo and one in a halo, the halo still had 1 1/2 blue (CTB)
gels and the apollo on the hair had 1 CTB gel making it warmer than the main,
I White balanced for the main and a tad warmer making the hint of color in the
sky much, much warmer than what was actually there. The puddle was from the
rain of the day, (it stopped raining maybe 20 minutes earlier)

The face shot (banana) was a halo above and an apollo with cover below ratio’d
down from camera to work as a low fill.

All lights in my halo or apollo face into the back reflective material and
bounce out to create a soft light ( to create more of a center hotspot you can
face them forward out the diffusion material)

on the PLM shot, I had one speedlite with TT5 and mini ball head (making it
ride along the shaft tighter to be more centered, I had an omni bounce to create
a wider spread of light to better fill the 86″ parabolic, and was using a 580
in a halo as a main light.

All lights are controlled through the camera, camera set to Manual, ratio on
and lights are grouped in A, B or C, I had A (the main) at 8:1 over B (in the

a full list of what and where is here: I have far more lights and modifiers
in my kits, but this was relatively simple.


And if anyone cares most all clothes boots and jewelry was designer except
the black hat and blue top. I bring my own (store clerks love me, I buy a ton
of clothes and jewlery when I was only looking for one thing, I am a shopaholic
when it comes to womens clothes I can use IN SHOOT’s that is) 😀

Banana was not a designer accessory, but quite tasty from what I here.

The following is all speedlites 580exII’s with the 7D and using the built in
flash as the controller only.

first: 1 speedlite in a halo one lower fill in a apollo

next I had one main in a halo, 1 backlight with grid flairing in, one backlite
without grip flairing lower right, and one kicker off to the models back.

One in an apollo, one rear lighting the room from behind and highlighting the

one in my hand ober my head off to the side, colors added in post.

B&W done in Post.

Below some intermingling of a hotlight and daylight with 2 speedlites in a
5 foot shoot through for a main light

here is mixing daylight with 3 speedlites, two in a 5 foot shoot through, one
from the rear camera left gridded, the mains were gelled 1CTB and WB was balanced
to make her warm which in turn made the daylight very warm

shooting into the light (fog machine was adding some haze)

Below 4 light set ups, two high rims with grids and 1/2 CTO’s two in a 5 foot
shoot through

Changing the CTO’s to 3/4 blue gels and aiming one of them in created a more
blue look for this one

What about Beauty? I do that more often than anything, so why not try it with
speedlites (as if my model above were not beautiful enough)

So here we go. First one is simple, again two speedlites in a 5 foot shoot
through, backed to maximize power output. One on the background (a medium size
scarf) and one with grid to the models left for a rim.

getting more complex again the same two in the main and one on the background
(now a different medium size silk scarf) and two rims with grids, placement
for highlights and spill is more critical and without modeling lights on the
speedlites a test shot or two may be needed to fine tune placement.

Now lets go for gold, gold props frame the face, same main, two rim/back lights
on the model, blow out is intentional and forced by using FEL to lock on the
skin and allow the rims/back to be set higher in ratio

and for this lose the over powered rear lights for a deeper effect and less
blow out from behind.

Now for a bit more subdued. Same 5 foot main, but placement of the two speedlites
is not one higher and one lower, I can now ratio them as one fill one main,
high or low, which adds some versatility to the single large light source and
as seen in the catchlight almost appears as two sources. One backlight on some
crumpled red tooling, having it out of focus is a must.

just raised the main and turned the model helped in this situation.

and if you are doing some fun commercial clean light this set up worked well
for that by simply moving the main more frontal and level with the model and
adding back the rim behind at a lower setting, one speedlite working as a back
light on the medium silk scarf behind, depth of field allowed to to go out of
focus making it just a see of color.

below, one speedlight above and in front with grid and 1/2 CTO BW in post.

This was with 6 speedlites, grids, snoot, Kacey Beautydish and grid, lastolite
trigrip diffusion and a bunch of butterfly’s see
the behind the behind the scenes video here

below done with 5 speedlites and canons optical system. one gridded with bastard
amber gel on models right/behind one gridded overhead toward models left/behind
one with 1/cto behind the vose/vase one in a Parabolic to fill the models left
and one main in a small white bounce umbrella to models right/front

More tutorials can be found here: http://www.StephenEastwood.com/blog

To Learn more Check out some of my workshops here, or look into some of the great workshops that Canon puts on at http://www.learn.usa.canon.com/live_learning/workshop_main.shtml

Stephen Eastwood


About photographers1

Stephen Eastwood Fashion and Beauty Photographer and Retoucher based in NY/LA/Ft. Worth TX http://www.StephenEastwood.com Current Canon Explorer of Light.
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3 Responses to What Can Be Done With Speedlites

  1. Garretot says:

    yo soy deprimida …


  2. SteveC says:

    I read a article under the same title some time ago, but this articles quality is much, much better. How you do this?

  3. TomPier says:

    great post as usual!