Serious Speedlites for Serious Shooters

Croton-on-Hudson, New York artist, Eddi Flemming in her studio.

Croton-on-Hudson, New York artist, Eddi Flemming in her studio.

Later today I'm starting my series: Six Days of Speedlite Tips. As a prelude to the series, I thought I'd re-post a blog post I did earlier this year on my first session with my new speedlite system:  Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT and Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT. Here goes.

To test the new gear, I set out to make a photograph of a person with a very discerning eye: local painter Eddi Flemming. Yes, I wanted to test and get familiar with my new camera (the Canon 5D Mark III) and speedlites, but I also wanted Eddi to be 100 percent happy with the environmental portrait - a picture of the artist in her environment.

Above is the result of the shoot. Eddi loved the color and sharpness of the image. I had the same comments. But I'll add that the new speedlites and transmitter are super easy to use - and the ETTL is super accurate.


I used two speedlites for the shoot - one set on channel A and the other on B. Both were set on ETTL.

My main speedlite, positioned to camera left in a Westscott Apollo Orb soft box, was set, via the on-camera transmitter, to 0EV exposure compensation.

My fill light, hand-held by my wife, Susan, was positioned to camera right and was set, via the transmitter, to -2EV for just a touch of fill light.


Adjusting the power output of the speedlites is a fast and easy, "touch-of-a-buttons and twirl-of-a-dial process" with the Canon ST-E3-RT wireless transmitter.

I know a lot of pros who set their speedlites on the Manual mode. However, I have found that ETTL works perfectly for me. As my dad used to say, "To each his own."


Above is a behind-the-scenes shot taken by Susan Sammon. She was using a 5D Mark III and Canon 14mm lens. For my shot, I used my Canon 5D Mark II and my Canon 17-40mm lens.

My camera was tethered to my MacBook Pro with my Tether Tools kit.

rick and eddie.jpg

I think Eddi is having a good effect on my photography. Now, when I make a picture, I try to think like a painter - which is something I cover on my workshops. I think more about shadows, and how important they are in a photograph. See the image below.


You'll find lots of lighting tips in my apps.

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Explore the light,

This post sponsored by Westcott. Check 'em out for all your lighting needs.

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