It’s no secret that being in the photography industry is expensive. When you throw flash into the equation, it can get overwhelming.
There’s no shortage of gear, and usually when you’re starting out, you can’t purchase it all- and you don’t need to!
All that you really need is a basic set up that will allow you to learn and progress.
But it can be hard to know what things you can pass by and what you absolutely can’t do without.
So, in an effort to make it a bit easier, I wanted to share what I consider the bare bones of any flash set up.
These are the five flash photography necessities that allowed me to be able to start shooting weddings.
They are tried and true. You won’t outgrow these things; they’re the basics you’ll always need, so they’re a worthwhile investment from the beginning.
Then, as you progress and as your budget allows, you can add to your gear from here.
I suggest purchasing at least two, preferably three flash units.
One will be on your camera, and the other two will be placed around the room.
Here’s a link to what I use.
Personally, I really like shooting with the Canon 600 Ex-RT flashes.
That said, there are lots of brands out there that produce quality flash units at different price points like Nikon, Yongnuo, and Godox.
I’ve only ever shot with Canon flashes, so I can’t speak to those brands from personal experience, but I know these brands have many loyal customers.
Do a little research and figure out what works for your budget.
The main reason I chose to go with Canon flashes is because of their capability for wireless radio transmission.
Basically, that means each of the flashes have the ability to sync up and communicate with each other automatically.
By connecting one of the flash units to your camera, you’ll be able to use it remotely with the other two off-camera flashes.
If you aren’t able to purchase a flash with radio transmitters, that’s totally ok!
Just know that you’ll need to set up your flash units to communicate with each other, and purchase a separate remote to trigger them.
I just want to add that this is where the bulk of your money will be spent – on your speedlites.
If you can’t afford three of them all at once, that’s totally ok!
Buy them as you can, and experiment with what you have.
I recommend three of them because that’s the number I feel will ensure that you can capture beautiful images in any venue.
Each flash unit is powered by four AA batteries.
When it comes to batteries, you can choose to purchase single use or rechargeable batteries.
If you are going to be shooting with flash regularly, then purchasing rechargeable NiMH batteries is my recommendation.
For a breakdown on the best batteries to power your flash, you can read my article HERE.
If you do choose to go with rechargeable batteries, please make the investment in a good charger, like this one.
You need a charger that monitors each the charge level of each individual battery. It might seem like a splurge, but it really is a necessity if you want to be satisfied with the performance and life of your NiMH batteries.
For the flash units that will be off your camera, you will need one stand per speedlite to attach them to.
You don’t need anything fancy, but make sure that they are sturdy and have a good base on them.
You don’t want to worry about them being wobbly or tipping over! Here’s what we use!
We use a 30” white umbrella for one of our off-camera-flashes.
This isn’t the place to spend a large amount of money. You just need something to help disperse the light as it bursts from the flash. Here’s an inexpensive one with really good reviews.
I know it’s a weird name, but it’s simply an adapter that allows the flash gun and umbrella to attach to the stand at the same time. Again, you don’t need anything fancy, just something like this.
Five basic pieces of equipment for any beginner to start successfully shooting with flash! These five items will give you the freedom to shoot confidently in any indoor venue and you can learn how to manipulate flash to fit your photography style!
Once you purchase the gear, the next step is to get familiar with it. So, don’t be afraid to experiment!
If you need a few tips to get started, check out The Free Flash Class. It will help you learn the basics of how to shoot with flash and start taking pictures that you love!
Sign up for the Free Flash Class below!
If you are already familiar with flash, I’d love to hear what your favorite gear is.
What equipment would you recommend to someone just starting out with flash? Leave a comment below!