How to get started with flash gear for less than £150

I recently did a flash photography crash course for a couple of friends who were interested in learning a bit about flash photography and portraits, and this post is for them so they have easy access to the gear I use, but I also wanted to show that flash photography does not have to be expensive!

(Prices correct 16th November 2014)

1. Yongnuo YN-560 II Electronic Speedlight – £38.99

This was my first flash and it is super simple to use and set up. You can control the flash output and the zoom with the buttons, and change the mode from manual to slave 1 and slave 2. Simple to use, but doesn’t have a built in radio receiver to use off camera.

2. Yongnuo YN-560 III Electronic Speedlight – £48.99

This is almost exactly the same function as the YN-560 II, but with a built in receiver. Similar controls but a little more complex to use.

3. Yongnuo RF-602 2.4GHz Wireless Flash Trigger – £17.49

These are the flash triggers I first bought. The smaller piece fits onto your hot shoe on the a camera, and the longer piece is the receiver and fits on the bottom of the Yongnuo YN-560 II to trigger it. The range I find is pretty good, I’ve used it across a 30 foot bar with and without line of sight to good effect.

4. Rogue FlashBender (Large) – £21.00

Usually when using flash, you’re looking for ways of making your light source bigger, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to bounce the flash of a ceiling or wall. Sometimes, and I especially use this when shooting weddings, you don’t have a low ceiling to bounce off, you need the Rogue FlashBender, which is essentially a big card that sits on top of the flash, but can shaped to change the way the light is bounced. I find this an essential tool that I’m often reaching for.

5. Rogue Diffusion Panel – £14.95

This is a velcro panel that attaches to the FlashBender and turns it into a small softbox. It’s great in a pinch but wouldn’t replace a proper softbox in a studio situation, but it does the job and it’s light and portable.

These five pieces will get you started with flash, and I’ll do a later piece on some more studio gear and another on how to actually use it.

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