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This post was most recently updated on November 7th, 2021

If you’re new to the world of photography, then you will probably want to know everything you can about it. There are so many different types of photography, accessories, tools and equipment that you can use to take your images to the next level.

If you’re interested in using different types of flash in your photography, then you’ll need to know about speedlights. Speedlights are often indispensable when it comes to taking beautiful pictures. So, what is a speedlight, what are they for and how do you use them?

What Is A Speedlight?

When it comes to photography, lighting is everything. A speedlight or speedlite is an on-camera flash, which is an essential accessory for many different types of photographers.

A speedlight, in short, offers additional lighting conditions for the subject, in case the scene has become too dark. This creates a more balanced exposure, and properly illuminates the subject at all times.

What Is The Difference Between A Flash And A Speedlight?

A speedlight is actually a type of flash. The speedlight or speedlite, is often called a flash gun or hot shoe flash and it is just an additional type of flash that you can add on to your camera. It can either work as an on-camera flash, or as off-camera flash lighting.

Just like other types of flash such as strobes, a speedlight simply emits a short burst or flash of light, to brighten a subject and illuminate an image.

What Is A Speedlight Used For?

Most photographers will use a speedlight or any type of flash photography when it is dark, it is night time or they are indoors. If there is any situation where the lighting is not satisfactory, then a photographer may choose to use a speedlight.

They may often use one if there is not enough ambient light or natural lighting. Alternatively, a speedlight can be also used to get rid of any unwanted shadows in your images.

Speedlights are therefore often used in types of photography that require a flash such as portrait photography, or product photography. However, this accessory can be vital for many different photographers.

How Does A Speedlight Work?

Speedlights are very simple to use, you can easily attach them to your camera, and alter the settings to get the degree of brightness and flash that your images require. Most speedlights have trigger modes, test flash buttons, brighteners and dimmers. You can adjust these functions to set the light output and intensity, and control the power of your flash.

When you place your speedlight into TTL mode, and you press and hold the camera shutter halfway down, it will emit a sort of pre-flash or half flash. This is so the camera can pick up on this and signal to the speedlight how much flash is needed for the perfect exposure.

As it is connected to your camera, when you press the shutter, this will trigger the speedlight to go off.

Reasons Why You Need A Speedlight For Your Photography

As previously mentioned, a speedlight can be essential for most photographers. With a speedlight, you are able to give more power to your flash. A speedlight is a huge increase in power and can really brighten up the image. A speedlight therefore gives you the power you want, to light your subjects and control your images perfectly.

In terms of output, a speedlight is much more powerful than your regular flash on your camera, but it is also much faster. This way, you’ll never miss a shot again, and on top of that, they usually have their own batteries and power sources, so they don’t drain your camera’s battery.

The other great thing about speedlights is that they often have rotating swivel heads, which means that you can adjust the angle up or down by 90 degrees, and pivot the flash by 360 degrees. This actually allows you to bounce the flash, and transform your usual photography.

You can bounce the light off of walls and bright surfaces to play around with shadows and lighting in your images. You can also bounce the flash to create a much softer light, which is perfect for flattering your subjects if you’re into portrait photography.

Additionally, there are many accessories that you can find for your speedlight such as diffusers. These can help you further control and manipulate the lighting in your images and reduce any harsh shadows or contrasts.

Speedlights are also very versatile, as although they can be attached to the hot shoe of your camera, you can also take them off and trigger them remotely with a wire. This is called off-camera flash, and can help you practise your photography skills by further changing and manipulating the light in your images.

By using off-camera lighting, you can add a more professional and controlled look to your images, as you can create the shadows and control where they fall, and where the subject is illuminated.

For the most part, the best thing about using a speedlight is that it gives you that extra control in your photography. By playing around with lighting, you can also work on your skills and improve your techniques, so a speedlight is an essential that should be in every photographer’s kit.

Where Can I Find A Speedlight?

You can find speedlights in most photography or tech stores, as they are one of the most essential accessories that photographers use. However, you can also find some online at other retailers such as Amazon. Some of our favorites are the Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite for Canon or the Neewer NW561 LCD Display Flash Speedlite if you want a cheaper speedlight, but if you’re looking for top of the range, then try the Nikon 4794 Wireless Speedlight. Any one of these will really make a difference in your photography skills!

Summary

A speedlight is a type of flash used by many photographers. It can help you manipulate the lighting in your images by offering an additional source of light, when the conditions are dark, or it can create shadows and contrast in your images.

For the most part, a speedlight is an on-camera accessory that fits onto the camera, and can be fired as you take your images, however, you can remove them for off-camera flash where the speedlight will be triggered remotely.

Whichever way you choose to use one, a speedlight can really boost your photography skills and make your images seem more professional.