Musings and Worthwhile Takeaways from The Flashbus 2011 Tour

Posted by: on Apr 06, 2011

Musings and Worthwhile Takeaways from The Flashbus 2011 Tour
Article and photo by: Josh Kenzer, web developer and photography enthusiast


If you get into the world of off-camera flash, you will come to realize that two names dominate the space, David Hobby and Joe McNally. The two experts joined forces this spring in a whirlwind event called the FLASHBUS 2011 TOUR where they shared both sides of the flash equation.

Hobby, who runs, focuses his FLASHBUS session on using manual camera settings along with manual flash, a popular method for shooters who have a mixed bag of flashes or don’t want to commit to a specific manufacturer’s system.

The second half of the day is saved for McNally’s presentation. He teaches the more automatic ways of Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS), though most of his techniques also can be applied to Canon Wireless TTL.

I’m a member of the “Strobist camp” so I thought McNally’s presentation was fresh and incorporated a lot of techniques that were new to me. But, both photographers were hilarious and educational.

You can probably compare the two options to, say, driving stick shift or automatic. The best drivers know how to use both.

Since the day is only 6 hours long after all, both assume that you have a certain level of knowledge and move pretty fast but the question and answer session at the end is a good time to circle back on things that weren’t so clear.

Top takeaways:

  • There is definitely a time and a place for shooting manual versus CLS/TTL.
  • Adding one light at a time can make building a complex scene simpler.
  • Building a rapport with the subject is crucial. Try and set up the lights ahead of time, so the subject feels comfortable. Once you have the lights set-up and the rapport going, take a bunch of photos. Too many times I worry about the set-up so much that, once I get it right, I don’t spend enough time shooting.
Are you going to any of the remaining FLASHBUS 2011 TOUR stops? Don’t forget to check out our contest for your chance to win free tethered digital photography equipment from Tether Tools.