For many photographers, their first experience with electronic flash comes with the small pop-up version that came with their cameras. These built-in flashes are great for introducing photographers to the concept of fill-in flash. They can also be effective for creating catch lights in the subject's eyes and for brightening up small, shadowy areas.
However, their small size and close proximity to the lens axis can cause overexposure to physically close subjects and harsh shadows when used as the main or key light source. After dealing with these limitations and the resulting poorly lit pictures, photographers are ready to step up to external flash units such as the models offered by the Canon Speedlite System.
Model Erin Mulligan photographed for her portfolio using a 580EX II Speedlite mounted on camera. Exposure: ISO 400, f/8, 1/50 second with an EF 70–200mm f/2.8L USM lens.
This section gets you up to speed quickly, introduces you to some of the Speedlite features, and encourages you to get out there and give your new flash a test drive.
As with any new piece of photography gear, you'll want to start using your new Canon Speedlites right away, so let's get started. All you really need to do is insert some batteries, attach the Speedlite to your camera's hot shoe, and then turn both the Speedlite and the camera on. You'll be truly amazed at the ...