video tutorial: flash photography / Don’t Fear Your Flash

video tutorial on flash photography / webinar: don’t fear your flash

In conjunction with the Clickin Moms forums, I presented a webinar on April 12, 2011 on the topic of flash photography. Don’t Fear Your Flash. It centered on teaching how to get great results from your on-camera bounce flash. The webinar was recorded, and the video can now be purchased for $30.

program description:

A photo session is often a rushed, fast moving event with less than ideal light.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t have great light indoors that approaches studio-quality lighting.  Join Neil as he explains the techniques to create beautiful images while working fast, yet still getting exceptional results from equipment you already have – your on-camera speedlight.

This is a 112 minute video recording of the webinar, and includes live demonstrations, supplemental images shared on-screen, and interactive Q&A between Neil and audience members throughout the presentation.


follow-up articles


the Clickin Moms forums

Clickin Moms is a booming but close-knit community of over 8000 members. 65% of their members are professional photographers, and 35% are either aspiring professionals or passionate hobbyists. What they all share is a commitment to honing the craft in order to deliver extraordinary images for their clients, beautifully capture the lives of their own children, produce works of fine art, or engage in creative self expression.

16 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. 2 says

    Apparantly they are! Also, you don’t have to be a member of the forum to sign up for the webinar .. just use the non-members link.

    Neil vN

  2. 3Evert Thomaes says

    I have just sign in for the webinars. I have read your second book. But you always learn more from a lesson like this or a video. For an amateur photographer the workshop you would plan in the Nederland’s near my country is a lot of money. Something like this or a video like you have done with the black foamy thing is much more affordable. I don’t want to say the workshops are to expensive but for me it is a lot of money.
    Thank you for your books, your website and the video’s

  3. 4 says

    Hi Neil, just finished viewing your webinar. Great job, and thanks for doing that. It really helps to actually see some of your concepts being demonstrated.

    A question came in toward the end that I didn’t catch the answer to — could you elaborate again on how to increase your depth of field when photographing groups? I think your answer addressed changes to ISO, but I’m not sure.

    Thanks again!

  4. 5 says

    John … thanks!

    The question pertained to getting more depth of field when you photograph groups.

    My reply was that you could increase the power of your flash. That would give you more light to reach that smaller aperture. And you’d then have more depth of field.

    But when you don’t have enough power from your flash, then you can bump up your ISO to reach your desired aperture.

    I often do that if I am photographing groups. Instead of pulling my Q-flashes down from the light-stands and adjusting their power up a notch or two, it is easier and faster to just ride my ISO up by 2/3rds of a stop or so.

    Neil vN

  5. 6Evert Thomaes says

    First of al congratulation with your first webinar! It was a great evening (7pm local time) for me to see how everything works and to cross check it whit what I have learned from your website and your books.
    In the webinar you mention one moment you zoomed your flash. Do you always zoom it in to maximum when you use indoor bounce flash with the black foamy thing to get the most out of the flash?

  6. 7 says

    Evert .. I normally zoom my flash head to maximum, with the idea that I might get that touch more range on the flash’s output.

    There have been times where the flash was best at a wider angle. For example, with one church where I photographed inside, the wall that I bounced off was convex … and I had a hard time hitting it with the flash at the right angle as I moved. By just zooming my flash head wider, the problem was solved.

    So it’s one of those things where it is a good idea, but not an inflexible one.

    Neil vN

  7. 10Bill says

    Let me add my appreciation for this webinar. Well done!

    The tip about zooming the flash when bouncing is great. I checked the owner’s manuals of the Canon flashes and see that they default to the 50mm zoom position when the flash head is tilted (unless manually overridden). Setting the zoom to 105mm should help increase range, help prevent blinding the people behind/next to me, and save batteries.

    The only snafu with the broadcast was that anytime you shot more than a couple of photos in quick succession, your SD wireless tether seemed to knot up your iMac, resulting in temporarily frozen screens for those of us on the other end of the webinar.

    Thanks again. It was great to see and hear you work. I learned a lot.

  8. 11 says

    Bill … thank you for letting me know. The wireless SD card did seem the most elegant choice, but your observation means it was eating too much of the bandwidth.

    I will have to shoot tethered next time then. There’s always something to improve. And they will. : )

    Neil vN

  9. 12Arturo S. Ramirez says

    Hi Neil,

    I regularly visit your web site, which I find very helpful (thank you) and I recently bought your two books. I was unable to attend your first webinar so I bought the video and downloaded it through the ClickinMoms web site.

    I don’t know if you’re aware of this but there is a problem with the video. At around the 00:53:50 mark, which is the part where you are talking about the importance of using a CTS gel on the flash and shows a photo of a couple at a wedding reception, the webinar ends. From here on until the video stops playing to the end, the video shows only the same photo of the couple and no sound. I noticed from the screen that under your Folders, you have 9 things listed under Webinar, which I assumed are what you covered in this webinar. At the point where the webinar seems to end, only two of the topics have been covered.

    Has anybody else reported the same thing? I don’t believe that’s where the webinar ended because there was no indication at all that you were finished with what you were going to cover in the webinar.

    I would love to see the whole webinar and would appreciate hearing from you about this.

    Thanks so much.


  10. 13 says

    Arturo … the video freezing happened when I shot too fast on my camera that I was using for the demonstration. I was using an SD card with wireless transfer, and it was using the same wireless connection as the web-cast. So it cut into the bandwidth unfortunately. Lesson learnt.

    Next time I will shoot tethered for a webinar. I have since then purchased the proper tethering cables, and will test it to make sure it runs fluently. So we’ll sidestep that problem in the future.

    Anyway, glad to hear your download worked this time!

    Neil vN

  11. 14Arturo S. Ramirez says

    Hi Neil,

    Hello again from Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.

    Thanks for a very speedy reply. I decided earlier today to download the video again. When I finished the download and compared it to the first download, I noticed the difference in the file size – 279MB for the first download and 598MB for the second download. Somehow, something happened in my first download and that is why the webinar ended so abruptly and had just the photo of the couple on screen playing. I didn’t get any error messages so I just assumed the download was fine.

    I watched the whole video and there’s some audio-video sync and video freezing issues, notably towards the last 13 minutes of the video. However, I just wanted to see the whole webinar and so for me, these technical issues were not that important. The audio was there so I could still follow what you were trying to impart.

    I also sent an e-mail to ClickinMoms so I am going to e-mail them back to disregard that e-mail.

    Thanks again.


  12. 15 says

    Arturo .. I haven’t seen the video yet, since I’ve been on the road the past week with the workshops in California, and I have limited bandwidth. But I will check the video out when I get home again and have broadband internet.

    Regarding the folders you saw, it’s a way for me to structure any presentation, and is a way for me to access any other key images if I have questions. Most often when I present workshops or seminars, I don’t keep to the linear structure as I laid it out for myself further on. I’m guided by questions as well. So there is a bit of free-form to every presentation that I do. (I also *have* to prepare more work than can be covered in any workshop or seminar, so that I don’t run short on the time.) However I did cover the work I intended to for this webinar, even if there are more folders shown on my computer display.

    The entire clip should be around 112 minutes long, as mentioned here in the original post. But I will check back on this.

    Neil vN

  13. 16Michael says

    Thank you for your fast answer Neil. I saw indeed this message before :). So there is no solution for the freezing moments from the first seminar? Then I will try to guess the freezing parts :).
    By the way, I would like to thank you for all what you do to help us (me) how to make photographies with flash. My pictures are much better since I follow your website. I bought of course your books and your first webinar. The webinar was for me a discovery because it was much easier than reading the book. Now I understand better what you have written in it. So keep doing those webinars ! And again thank you for all your time and help.
    Michael from France :)

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