There are two options for wireless communication built into the 600EX-RT Speedlite system: radio OR optical. If you are using only 600EX-RTs as slaves, then take advantage of the radio system. The range is longer than optical wireless and you won’t have to worry about the signal being blocked by opaque surfaces. If you are using the 600EX-RT with earlier Canon Speedlites (500- and 400-series Speedlites), then you must operate the 600EX-RT in optical wireless (either as a master or a slave).
Notice that I said radio OR optical. It is not possible to send instructions to a 600EX-RT via radio and then have it optically transmit those instructions to 500- and 400-series Speedlites. That would be radio AND optical. Pick one wireless mode OR the other. If you want to use a 600EX-RT with non-radio Speedlites, then the 600EX-RT must be in Optical Wireless.
Setting Up the 600EX-RT Speedlite as a Radio Slave—Four Steps
There are four steps to using a 600EX-RT Speedlite as a radio slave. Think A-C-I-G and you’ll remember them.
- Activate the 600EX-RT as a radio slave
- Set the Channel of all slaves to match the master (Auto or Channels 1-15)
- Set the Wireless ID of all slaves to match the master (0000 to 9999)
- Assign each slave to a Group (five options A-E)
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The difference between Master Enabled and Master Disabled is a simple and essential concept for Speedliters shooting wireless flash. Yet, many Canonistas (myself included back in the day) draw the understandable conclusion that Master Disabled means that the master is not a master. It’s an understandable, but incorrect, conclusion.
Master Enabled means that the master will send instructions to the slaves and also fire when the shutter is open (adding flash to the shot).
Master Disabled means that the master will send instructions to the slaves and then remain dark with the shutter is open.
Deciding When to Enable and Disable the Master Speedlite
Master in the Camera Hotshoe: Choose Master Enabled only if you want to have on-camera flash (say a bit of low-power fill flash). Choose Master Disabled if you do not want the shadow-killing effects of on-camera flash. In both cases, the master still sends instructions to the slave Speedlites.
Master Moved Off-Camera: If you have an extra-long ETTL cord, then you can move your master Speedlite off-camera and use it as Master Enabled. The advantage of this technique is that for the cost of the cord, about $65 on OCF Gear or Amazon, you can get valuable off-camera light from your master and still have it control the slave Speedlites. If you become a power Speedliter, you will eventually want a dedicated tran$mitter. But an extra-long ETTL cord is a great way to maximize the gear you have right now.
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PixSylated’s Inaugural Guest Blog: I’m blessed to have a wide circle of friends who are as obsessed with light and shadow as I am. From time to time, I’ll be turning PixSylated over to one of these friends for a guest blog. I’m thrilled that the first photographer in this new series is Alex Huff, a talented shooter in San Francisco. (If you’ve been hanging around PixSylated for a while, you already know Alex from this post last August.) Alex graciously agreed to share her secrets about how she creates her chiaroscuro portraits, which have been attracting a lot of attention on the web lately. Enjoy!—Syl
by Alex Huff
My chiaroscuro (Italian for “light/dark”) collection is a painterly photographic ode to the men and women in my life, beginning with my circle of friends. My very first images in this series are of two sisters whose mother taught me everything I know about art history. The portraits were initially for her and also a personal experiment for me to see if I could create a painterly portrait. I have a great love for Caravaggio so I knew I wanted the subject to glow against a kind of shroud of inky blackness. Hair, eyes, little pieces of textured clothing–these were the things I wanted to highlight.
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Random Bytes 130225 is a powerhouse collection of interesting posts and sites that recently came my way. You will find noteworthy workshops, photo biz tips, and more. Enjoy!
Peter Read Miller Sports Photography Workshop—Sports photographer extraordinaire Peter Read Miller will hold his 11th-annual spring weeklong workshop April 8–14 in Denver [workshop FAQ and workshop registration]. Peter has shot eight Olympics, 26 Super Bowls, 14 NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup Final, the World Series, the Kentucky Derby, the NCAA Final Four, and 100+ Sports Illustrated covers. This is an amazing opportunity to spend a week shooting with and learning from one of the industry’s best. If you can’t make it to Denver, the workshop will be held in Atlanta next fall. Sign up for Peter’s mailing list here.
David Cooper Dance Photography Workshop—David Cooper will hold his dance photography workshop on June 2 in Vancouver. If you’re interested in creating images of any type of athlete frozen in mid-air, this will be a day well-spent. If you’re captivated by dance, consider this a must-attend. David shoots for the best dance and theater companies throughout North America. You’ll find the workshop info here. Check out David’s portfolios here.
I believe that photographers should work for free. I also believe that photographers should not work for free. Knowing when to work for free and when not to is an important milestone in becoming a pro. Here are the aspects that I consider when deciding to shoot for free.
Commercial Value: photographers should not work for free when there is a significant commercial value to the shoot. If the client is going to make money from the project, then the photographer should too. If your prospective clients do not value your relationship that way, then find new prospects.
Value of Your Skills: Just because your client can buy the same digital camera you shoot, does not mean that he can do the job you do. Remember, it’s the photographer and not the camera that makes the photo. Your expertise and time have value.
Next Time: Anyone who says “do this one for free and you’ll absolutely get paid when the next job comes around” is lying. You should counter with “pay me for this job and I’ll give you a discount on the next one.”
Photo Credits: Anyone who suggests that you’ll benefit from the photo credit has not tried to pay for groceries with photo credits.
Not-for-profit Clients: Photographers should not work for free just because the client is a not-for-profit organization. Non-profits have normal operating expenses just like for-profit enterprises: rent, payroll, utilities, etc. Creative efforts, like photography, web design, copyrighting, etc. can all be considered normal expenses for non-profits.
Who Will Get Paychecks: Ask the folks who are asking you to work for free if they are getting a paycheck. If the answer is yes, then you should too.
For me, the work for free decision happens when several of the following criteria are met:
- the cause is one that I believe in, meaning I’d write the organization a check
- my work will help the cause take a big step forward
- the subjects/situations/locations for the shoot are ones that otherwise I would not have access to
- the subject is someone/something that I’m truly interested in
- everyone involved with the project is working for free
I’m looking for worthy projects to shoot for free
For 2013, I’m looking to shoot a couple of worthy projects for free. So, if you’ve read the above and know of a worthy project that could use a photographer, please get in touch with the specifics. I travel a lot, so location might not be an issue. You can reach me at the address you see below.
Bonus info: my comrade-in-arms Zack Arias talked about when and why he worked for free as a commercial shooter in this webcast. If you are a student or an emerging pro, you should give Zack’s insights a listen.
Canon’s Digital Learning Center recently posted the video of my December presentation Mastering the Speedlite 600EX-RT. I had a great time at the Canon Hollywood Professional Technology Center. Thanks to all the Speedliters who attended.
If you’re looking for tips on how to maximize the potential of your 600EX-RT or wondering whether you should upgrade to the new Speedlite system, click here to watch it. The video is divided into eight sections. So it’s easy to jump to the topic of greatest interest.
- The Menu System
- Radio Wireless Flash
- Understanding Group Mode
- Menu-based Speedlite Control
- Light Modifiers
- Remote Shooting
- Real World Radio Wireless Flash Q&A
Random Bytes 130211 highlights the work of so many talented photographers. Enjoy!
I’m convinced that we are turning into a world of scanners. Everyone wants to know more, yet wants to read less. I think this evolution is due the fact that we carry the WWW in our pockets these days. My response…I just rewrote the bio on my portfolio site.
My previous bio talked about me in the third person (even though I wrote it). “Syl does this and that…” My thinking was that the narrator’s voice sounded more authoritative than my own. The content talked mostly about my photographic abilities.
My new bio is in the first person. I want prospective clients to know me as a person first and as an imagemaker second. So, I lead off with the fact that my wife, Amy, and I met when we were young kids. It’s a memorable point. I want the folks who read it to remember me.
For the scanners, I now use paragraphs with one or two sentences. The old bio had three blocky paragraphs. The new bio has ten streamlined paragraphs. It is 38 words shorter than the old one (174 vs. 212 = 18% reduction). Yet, it says so much more about me.
The more time we spend online, the more important it is for photographers to market themselves as real and memorable people. Whose voice are you using? What is it saying about you?
A quick announcement to NYC-area Canonistas that I’ll be speaking next week in the B&H Event Space. The two-hour presentation is suited for anyone interested in how I use my Canon Speedlites to create off-camera flash. Click on the pic below for more details. Hope to see you there!
I receive many questions about the batteries that I use in my Speedlites. Here is the exact gear that I use to keep them well fed and happy.
Eneloop AA Rechargeable Ni-MH Batteries—If you’re a power Speedliter, then rechargeable batteries are the only way to go. I use Eneloops because their chemistry–low-discharge, nickel metal-hydride (Ni-MH)–means that they will hold their charge for an extended time. Regular Ni-MH batteries (like Powerex) will discharge over time when not in use. The last thing I want is for my Speedlite to not fire if the batteries I have in my bag have not been charged for a couple of weeks. If you cannot find Eneloops, other brands of low-discharge Ni-MH batteries often have pre-charged, rechargeable on the package.
Eneloops on B&H
Eneloops on Amazon
Regular Alkalines—If you are not a power Speedliter, then regular alkaline batteries are fine. So grab the Energizers and Coppertops when you need a fresh set of batteries.
Avoid Lithium Batteries—Lithium has the ability to hold onto electrons for a very long time. You may have noted that the Use By dates are often a decade away. However, under heavy loads, such as a Speedlite firing again and again, my tests have shown that lithium batteries get extremely hot. In one test, I measured their temperature at 165ºF!
Remove the Batteries—If you are not going to use your Speedlite for a few weeks, remove the batteries to protect against random battery leakage.
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