Lessons Learned on The Flash Bus Tour

I had the great pleasure of attending the Flash Bus Tour put on by none other than Joe McNally and David Hobby aka The Strobist. I couldn't pass up an opportunity to learn from these "flash" experts! The day was packed with different lighting setups and live examples.



David Hobby almost never wears long pants πŸ™‚


David Hobby took the morning and started off by deconstructing a couple of his recent shots.


Joe McNally aka Numnuts

Joe McNally took the afternoon and showed how much POWER there is in shooting with speed lights. Drew, I think it's a little close πŸ˜‰

So that's how they do that Justin Bieber look!


Amazing what you can do with 3 Nikon Speedlights and shooting in TTL.


Audience participation


Great Q&A at the end.


My take-aways


While I own 3 speedlights, I always looked at them as the lights I would use when I travel and don't have the ability to take my "big lights". However, after watching Joe and David I'm really starting to think about using my speedlights more often. As a matter of fact in a recent shoot I did, I decided to use a Nikon SB 900 to augment my natural light setup. I'm having a blast with the possibilities and want to thank Joe and David for not only putting on a great show, but also for bringing the tour to Michigan!

18 Replies to “Lessons Learned on The Flash Bus Tour”

  1. I have to say it is because of Joe McNally, that I almost exclusively use speedlights. That being said, I rarely have an assistant, and so the hand held reflector part can’t be done. I believe that much is lost without that ability.

  2. Terry,

    I am trying to see what type of adapter he has on the end of the paint pole. I have never seen on before. Do you know what that is?

  3. @peter…I always use an assistant with “light on a stick” (monopod) and he mans the reflector. I shoot a lot of families and kids and could not do it without my ass’t. Doesn’t cost much, pay $12/hr, shoots take a couple hours. Main benefit is I’m not a slave to where the sun is..well worth it.

  4. I agree with Zach, I too am curious about the small soft boxes used in two of the shots. I’ve been looking for a good one to use for location portraits.

  5. Terry,

    Thanks for your post on the FlashBus photography seminar.

    I attended the FlashBus seminar 4/2/11 in Atlanta by Strobist David Hobby and National Geographics Photographer Joe McNally. Great Flash Photography Information.

    Here were my Key Takeaways–

    AFKA for Photography Lighting
    A – Ambient
    F – Fill
    K – Key
    A – Accents

    AFKA – The order to build your light for Photography
    A – Ambient Light is the existing light from the surroundings. You compensate and build on this light.
    F – Fill Light is light added with large light sources like an Umbrella mounted flash to control contrast in a certain area.
    K – Key Light is light that is directed light using Softboxes, or Grids, or etc. to highlight key areas
    A – Accent is specific directed light with a grid or snoot or barn doors or etc. to accent a feature in the photograph

    Dark Objects:
    To add detail to Dark Objects, use Fill Light to create reflections.
    Light Objects:
    To add detail to Light Objects, use Key Lights to create shadows.
    If you have both dark and light objects together you have to isolate and use separate techniques.

    David Hobby, The Strobist, recommends that you shoot ETTR for Photoshop.
    ETTR – Expose to the Right.
    ie. shoot your photographs to minimize editing and make it easier to edit in Photoshop what you do have to edit, plus edit from the RAW file.

    Cheers, Bill Creech

  6. Terry

    I think the the soft box u linked to b&h does not reflect the other “larger” soft box in your photos?
    Can u find out about this???

    Ken in KY

  7. I attended the Tour when it was in Los Angeles. Learned a lot and am still thinking over what was presented. On the trivial side, how many Nikon speedlights were there?

  8. Check out yesterday’s (4/26) McNally blog in terms of what can go wrong or why there is a Numnuts still. You constantly learn from your oops.

  9. Hi Terry,

    I was feeling the exact same thing!

    I had gotten into using Alien Bees and Einsteins, but now after attending the NYC Flash Bus tour, and after reading Syl Arena’s Speedliter’s Handbook, I’m ready to get back into speedlites and experiment more!

    So much to learn, but it’s all great fun!

  10. Hi Terry,
    Thanks fir your post. Wish THE BUS could come to Australia.
    Just want to ask you regarding those cool social networking icons at the bottom of your post. Were they custom made ?

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