Do you shoot with speedlights?

January 11, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Do You Shoot with Speedlights?

Most of my studio work is performed with studio strobes, however many photographers have become very well known using primarily speedlights. There are many advantages to Speedlights  such as:

  • Size - almost pocket sized for some models
  • Power - Many are battery powered (no need to look for electrical outlet)
  • Variable tilt head- One can leave the lightstand in the same position yet position the light head at various angles, or even backwards. 
  • WorkFlow- similar to above, it your don't need to move lightstands, you may save time.
  • Cost savings for multiple units- Manual speedlights of the same model can often be purchased economically and produce similar results to each other.
  • Many models have zoom controls to focus lighting

Of course, there are disadvantages as well:

  • Size - although many modifiers are available, in its native form is is a small harsh light
  • Power - Battery powered units may go through batteries like a hungry shark. Output will vary significantly as battery power drops. 
  • Workflow - Higher level units have built in receivers to receive signals, but not all units. This may require adding external receivers.  Most units require adapters to attach to lightstands for quick removal.
  • Cost- Some name brand TTL speedlights may be as costly as a studio strobe.


Speedlights are certainly a worthy addition to almost any photographers collection. There are numerous modifiers that modifiers that can be purchased to aid in their abilities. Pictured above are speedlight supports than can house two or even three units attached to a lightstand. Add an umbrella to one of these units, and you have a reasonably large and light source with some punch behind it.  Wescott adapter

Even if you camera does not support communication with a certain model of speedlight, triggers can often be purchased for a fraction of one may spend for a trigger for a studio strobe  such as Newer Triggers.

When working in a studio, speedlights are capable of achieving the same lighting effects as studio strobes as long as one keeps an eye on power. Battery packs are of course available for speedlights such as the JJC rapid flash.  Spare batteries are often very affordable, compared to a spare battery for a studio strobe.


In the end analysis, if one has to travel light, speedlights are a hard item to beat, especially when shooting on location!



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