Too many photographers are hung up on gear. How much; what kind; what’s next? Not enough of us take the time to look at the tools in our hands and ask ourselves: Have I pushed this to its limits? Do I really know how it works? Years ago when I got my first DSLR body and lens, I remember asking my dad (an accomplished pro) “What lens should I get next?” He looked at me with a half-smile that I will never forget and said: “Learn to use the one you’ve got first.” That lesson has carried me through the years of my professional career and has been the catalyst behind my love of the Speedlite.
When I first started, Speedlites were almost exclusively used on-camera, leaving the heavy lifting of off-camera lighting to bigger, more expensive lights. It was with very little money in my pocket and my father’s voice in my head that I turned to my humble collection of gear (including a VERY used Canon 430EX Speedlite) and decided that I would make do and move forward. After a series of experiments with triggers, cables, and brackets, I started to find my footing. Eventually, I grew not only to be proficient with my small and agile friend, but actually to prefer it to almost everything I have ever used. Thirteen years later, when I head out the door to a job, I still reach for my Speedlites first.