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External Flash Photo Tips - Oh Snaps!

OH Snaps Photo Search

Apr 17, 2009
Photographer: Keith Meilink
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Shooting Straight:
Photo Tips From A Pro
External Flashes

With the price of digital SLRs and basic flash units becoming more affordable, it seems as though everyone's jumping into the world of photography and discovering how much fun the process really is. For the beginning photog, a basic understanding of how cameras work and which settings to use for various natural-light situations is crucial to development. But once that's been achieved, most look to the next challenge. This is where artificial lighting comes into play. The trend toward flash photography is growing and is evident in many magazines and on automotive forums. Many rely on flash photography when lighting conditions are less than desirable to get the proper exposure. And if you're lucky enough to shoot under an interesting skyline, a properly exposed vehicle when shot with the right flash can yield a dramatic backdrop, without having to use post-processing software for merging photos or creating a computer-generated sky.

When considering interior and engine bay photography, an off-camera flash is important in order to capture all of the highlights that natural, ambient light simply can't provide. By maneuvering the flash units to blanket the specified area, a skilled photographer can capture each fine detail, easily. When working with external flash units, you'll need some type of triggering device. As with most camera equipment, you get what you pay for, and there's plenty to choose from. Here're a few of the more popular triggers:

Pocket Wizard: Used for years at the professional photography level, Pocket Wizards are at the top of the wireless trigger food chain.

High-level reliability, 1600-foot firing distance, 12-frame-per-second burst rates, user flexibility, can fire from behind objects.

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From $188


Canon St-E2 Speedlite Transmitter:
Introduced in 1998, Canon's ST-E2 mounts directly to the camera's flash mount, and can fire multiple flashes within a reasonable distance.

Lightweight, original Canon equipment and quality, user customizable.

Limited distancing, can fail to fire consistently, expensive replacement battery.

Approximately $220


Nikon Su-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander:
Like the Canon, Nikon's SU-800 supports its Creative Lighting System and controls an unlimited number of Speedlights for up to three groups.

Built-in AF assist light, four independent channels, supports CLS.

Limited distancing, expensive replacement battery.

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Approximately $249


Cactus Wireless Flash Trigger:
At the budget end of the spectrum, Cactus wireless triggers and many others just like them are what some newcomers tend to purchase. It gives them a chance to experiment with external lighting and triggers without making a major purchase.

Cheap, lightweight, easily obtainable and replaceable.

Easily broken, can fire inconsistently, lower quality construction

Less than $30


Work For Ht...Sort Of
The Great Honda Tuning Photog SearchThink you've got what it takes to shoot a feature for Honda Tuning magazine? All it takes is that winning submission to Honda Tuning's official Oh Snaps! photo contest and you could be on your way to a life of automotive fortune and fame...or at least have the chance to shoot a Civic and get paid for it. Read on for contest rules and details.

E-mail submissions to:

All Honda Tuning magazine Oh Snaps! submissions must be Honda or Acura-related. Only high-resolution, non-watermarked images will be eligible for prizes. Honda Tuning magazine reserves the right to crop, resize, enhance, and remove watermarks from all submissions. All submissions must be accompanied by complete contact information including the photographer's name, phone number, shipping address, e-mail address, and website address (if applicable). Only submissions with complete contact information will be eligible for prizes. Eligible Oh Snaps! winners' photography will be selected by the Honda Tuning staff and printed in subsequent issues at the discretion of the editorial staff. Photographer credit will be displayed with all published images. Honda Tuning magazine reserves the right to publish Oh Snaps! submissions at its discretion for any and all Oh Snaps! photo contest purposes. Reimbursement is neither expressed nor implied for any Oh Snaps! photo submissions. Coinciding with each 2009 Honda Tuning issue, one winner will receive a Mothers car care package and automatically be entered into the Grand Prize drawing. Honda Tuning Oh Snaps! Photog Search Grand Prize drawing winners will be named in the July and Winter issues and will be eligible for paid freelance photography opportunities with Honda Tuning magazine. Honda Tuning On Snaps! Grand Prize winners will be subjected to the standard terms and conditions outlined in Source Interlink Media's standard Freelance Photographer Agreement. Good luck!

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