It’s hard to say whether Syl Arena is known around the world more for his “colorful” hair or the colorful words and photos he shared in his best-selling Speedliter’s Handbook. Either way, he has a memorable persona.

Syl bought his first Canon camera nearly 30 years ago as a young student at Brooks Institute of Photography. He still has that camera, an A-1, sitting in a place of prominence among his collection. Through the years, Syl mastered many film formats–35mm, 4×5, 6×7…. After his tenure at Brooks, he transferred to the art school at the University of Arizona–there he built a pinhole camera that used 20″ x 24″ litho film. Eventually the regents let him go with a BFA in hand.

When the Speedlite revolution unfolded, Syl joined in as an active participant. He has used Canon Speedlites routinely in his commercial work for years. As a pro shooter, Syl photographs the people, lifestyles, and products of California’s Central Coast for editorial and corporate clients. So, when he says that Speedlites have a place as professional lighting tools, he speaks from experience–he shot large flash in the studio and on location for 15+ years.

You should also know that Syl is an energetic workshop instructor. During the past year, he has taught Speedliting in Maine, Dubai, New York, San Francisco and in his hometown of Paso Robles, California.

Beyond the blogosphere, Syl remains an active voice in the worldwide community of photographers. His first book, LIDLIPS: Lessons I Didn’t Learn In Photo School is a unique collection of 100 micro-essays. In it, Syl discusses photography from angles you’ve likely never considered: relationships, persistence, creativity, leadership, confidence. In a fresh voice, LIDLIPS proves that there is much more to crafting great photographs and being a photographer than knowing how to operate a camera.

Syl’s second book, the Speedliter’s Handbook, is 400 pages of how-to and why-to exploration of Canon Speedlite techniques. It’s been translated into six languages—including Chinese. To read what nearly 200 photographers have said about the book, click here.

More links to Syl


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On Amazon

From Longarm and Metalhead on PixSylated > "The Canon 580EX Speedlite combined with a Lastolite EZYbox Hotshoe and a Kacey Pole Adapter make a highly-portable rig that delivers studio-quality light."