flash lighting: introduction to flash (with speedlights)

outdoor workshop: 2.5 hours


At first glance, flash lighting appears to break some of the rules of exposing a photo. This session explains why flash is different and covers the basic tricks that make flash a fascinating creative tool for a photographer.I will take a couple of minutes to explain each concept and then give you a specific exercise with suggested camera settings so that you can try it for yourself. As with my “available light” walk, you’ll be pairing up to take photos of each other.

This walk has been designed for photographers who have a speedlight-style flash (eg. Canon 430EX/580EX/600EX, Nikon SB700/800/900/910, etc) that they can use on their camera. The main features required are the ability to control the flash power level manually and the ability to swivel the flash head in different directions.

I recommend bringing a general purpose zoom lens for this session. For example, a 24-70mm, 17-55mm, 24-105mm etc. Tripods, light stands, umbrellas and remote triggering systems are not required on this walk – this session does not discuss off-camera flash.

This session is best suited to photographers who are comfortable with camera concepts such as film speed, shutter speed, aperture and white balance but have no understanding of their flash beyond knowing how to turn it on/off.


We meet in the evening at either Federation Square or Southern Cross Station and return to finish at the same location 2.5 hours later. Each walk is limited to 4 photographers. The fee for each participant is $69. I also run a 1-on-1 online Zoom version of this session for anyone in Australia for $89 – contact me for details.

This walk is scheduled and organised through my group on the meetup.com website.

If you are having troubles using Meetup to RSVP and pay, you can make a direct payment via Paypal here:

topics covered:

  • TTL metering and flash exposure compensation
  • camera sync speed
  • basic principles: use of aperture and shutter speed
  • blending flash and ambient light sources
  • using flash with movement
  • creative flash effects
  • using speedlight zoom control
  • bouncing flash off surfaces

previous students said:

“It was one of the best training educational sessions I have been to for a long time – simply presented, indepth, but well pitched. I had a lot of fun and learnt so much!” – Sean, April 2021

“Absolutely loved it. David explained the basics so patiently and with so many examples. He changed my perspective of flash photography and I couldn’t wait to use it.” – Surya, March 2018

“Thank you so much David. What an eye opener. Taught me so much about flash photography in 2 1/2 hours. Highly recommend the class.” – David, March 2018

“So glad I spent these few hours with David Gilliver learning the basics about my speedlight. Now I finally understand some of the concepts and how the damned thing works!! I no longer have to be afraid of the bloody thing. Thank you David for your no-nonsense, easy to understand workshop.” – Suzanne, February 2018

“David is brilliant in his approach to using your flash. Perfect location! Very easy to follow instruction. David makes this a fun and yet informative class well worth attending” – Judy, September 2017

“Hi David, thanks very much for the flash photography session! Was hugely informative and a great insight into the science (and art) of it.” – Michael, September 2017

“David was very informative and guided me absolutely very well” – Niran, July 2017

“Great session and very informative David!” – Paul, April 2017

“It was a fantastic hands-on session.” – Luke, April 2017

“I loved this class. A great teacher who communicated his skill with ease. Looking forward to the 2nd class of flash photography. Thank you.” – Suzanne, January 2017

“An excellent evening with a great teacher.” – Gill, January 2017

“David knows Flash Photography, communication was easy, and the step by step way he teaches is very good. I have learnt a lot about flash, and will go again to another, thank you David.” – Anthony, January 2017

“This is a such a great meetup and a must for anyone that wants to use flash photography.” – Peter, December 2016

“Great, informative, very knowledgable instructor.” – Wolf, December 2016

“This is an amazing course, packed with lots of valuable technical information, David took the time to explain every single concept and demonstrate it with a practical exercise, this is a must do course for whoever wants to start with flash photograph !!! Really worth it.” – Oscar, October 2016

“Very informative. David is a great teacher. I learned some great flash techniques and there was lots of time to practice each concept.” – Gabbie, September 2016

“David was a great teacher. His knowledge and ability to make the class bond together was wonderful. I highly recommend this course for anyone who has little or no experience with flash photography.” – Mark, September 2016

“Comprehensive introduction to speedlights! Small group, great way to learn!” – Genevieve, September 2016

“Thanks David, a very informative session. Highly recommended.” – Shane, August 2016

“Excellent overview of key concepts of flash photography, clear and accessible instruction and good examples to illustrate the ideas. Very well worth it!” – Ilya, August 2016

“We did this workshop last night and it is brilliant. David is an excellent teacher making concepts clear and giving informative notes and relevant practical exercises which make the information come alive.” – Lesley, June 2016

“This was my first meet up and it was great. David is a great teacher and the class was a great introduction into flash photography. A good mix of theory and practice. Looking forward to doing another one. Thanks David!!” – James, June 2016

“Great session. David covered the basics and more. I learnt more than expected and David is a great teacher that knows both the technical and practical of flash photography. Highly recommend this.” – Claudio, April 2016

“I’m studying a Diploma of Photo Imaging and was struggling to grasp flash. Until yesterday’s session. David explained things in a way that made sense. The exercises clearly demonstrated why and how flash works. David made sure I understood each concept before we moved on to the next. He provided notes to reinforce the message after the session and even had spare batteries for power-hungry flash units. I was lucky enough to be the only person in his session last night and was grateful for the one-to-one tuition. Thanks David!” – Emma, January 2016

“It was a great session with the right balance of technical and practical understanding of using cameras and flash devices. I would do it again if only to reinforce techniques and knowledge. Thank you.” – Daryl, January 2016

“The Intro session is jam packed full of vital information. The session progresses in a logical sequence with handy hints, tech insights and advice making the mysteries of flash understandable. I can’t wait to practice. In fact this course is so good I did it twice!” – Anne, January 2016

“Dave you outdid yourself. One of the best meet-ups I’ve been to. I think you should come teach at our school. 😉 I loved how you challenged us and took us through step by step the entire way.” – Julie, December 2015

“I learnt so much more than I expected too!! You’re a brilliant teacher David!! I look forward to doing more meetups with you. Thanks again David!” – Bruce, December 2015

“Easy to understand, great knowledge, fun and best value for money !!! I should have done this long time ago …. don’t think about it – DO IT – invest in yourself – knowing the how is just half the equation, knowing the why really opens your eyes….can’t wait for the next one !!!!” – Izabela, September 2015

“Very informative session. Learnt heaps. 🙂 Thanks David!!!” – Rachael, August 2015

This is the best value photography course I’ve ever done (and I’ve done plenty online and in real life)! David was incredibly professional and is actually an excellent teacher … a skill that is hard to come by. He presented each new concept in a structured way before building on what had just been learned. The whole night was full of practical examples in a beautiful location overlooking the city lights. I went back to work the following week full of confidence to take excellent pictures to use on the company website. I cannot recommend David highly enough! Thank you David – I’ll be back for another course soon.” – Michelle, June 2015

“Extremely informative and I learnt things about flash that I never knew before! David is very patient & easy to understand in his teachings. I can’t wait for the next course!” – Sarah, May 2015

“It’s a very great meet up! I got a lot of useful information! Can’t wait to attend your next meet up! Thank you very much!” – Maria, May 2015

“One of the best workshops I’ve been through meetup. Learned a lot highly recommended…” – Chamal, March 2015

“Very informative and well structured… thank you!” – Jennifer, March 2015

“It was a really informative session, helped me through some of the techniques and logic behind the different approaches to using flash effectively. David was a good communicator, friendly and patient. Highly recommended approach to learning.” – Peter, March 2015

“Fantastic, had quite a few ‘light bulb’ moments… pun intended. Very informative and well set out session, thanks David.” – Shannon, February 2015

“David runs a very informative evening, answers all questions clearly. I enjoyed the fact the group was kept to max of 4 attendees. David understands the topic and conveys it to each student with lots of patience. I was lucky enough to use one of David’s spare speedlites on the night as I have not purchased one as yet, now I can purchase with confidence. I would recommend this course to anyone wanting to discover the correct procedures for flash photography.” – John, January 2015

“Thanks David for all of your invaluable information in this workshop, well run and planned and I look forward to attending more in the near future.” – Val, January 2015

“Information delivered in a way that could be understood, David is very patient, and extremely knowledgeable, simple exercises that put the theory into practice, feeling much less afraid of the speed light now and will actually get it out” – Jenni, January 2015

“Great, really practical and to the point.” – Angelo, December 2014

“Enjoyed myself and filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge about flash photography.” – Ian, December 2014

“Very informative. Learnt a lot from a workshop delivered in an easy to understand and friendly manner.” – Tony, November 2014

“Awesome!!! Loved it, I certainly picked up a bunch of things and many things finally came together. I urge anyone who wants to know more about Flash Lighting with Speedlights to do this workshop” – Deanne, October 2014

“David was a great teacher and made me feel comfortable to ask all the questions I needed to get my head around the speedlight flash. I enjoyed the session and believe now I have the knowledge to move forward with the flash and take some great shots” – Kim, September 2014

“Went to the Introduction To Flash Lighting and thought it was one of the best meet up/photo tutorials I have been to. David knew his stuff and I went away more confident in how to use my speedlite and to build on what I had learned.” – Mark, August 2014

“Absolutely sensational. David is a very patient teacher and takes the time to ensure you understand everything before moving onto the next topic. Big Thumbs Up !” – Margaret, July 2014

“Very informative workshop, I’ve learned some valuable tips in 2 hours despite my being under-equipped. Definitely recommended. Thanks David!” – Gretchen, May 2014

“Well structured evening, the exercises were ideal to come to grips with how the mix of ambient and flash light affects the outcome. Learned heaps, discovered some functions I never knew existed and put them into practice. If you’re on the fence about going to this workshop – do it! You’ll find it cash well spent.” – Claire, May 2014

“Great night. Hands on exercises putting theory into practice – well thought out. Thanks David.” – Harry, May 2014

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