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What Is a Good Flash Setup for Getting Started in Real Estate Photography?

Published: 22/01/2019

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Kevin asks:

I new to real estate photography and so confused about Speedlights. I need to figure out where to start with Speedlights. I see from some of the posts that Scott Hargis is referred to often when talking about lighting for real estate photography and I have watched his videos on one of the education sites. That and some YouTube videos is all I have for background right now.

Because they're so widely used by real estate photographers, the flash gear that I recommend is:

  1. The YN560 IV manual flash. You typically only need one or two of these when you are starting out.
  2. The YN560-TX flash trigger which works for Nikon, Canon, and Sony. It allows you to control the flash power remotely right at your camera.
  3. The Flashpoint R2 Pro Transmitter (Make sure you choose the right model for your camera)
  4. The Flashpoint Zoom LI-ION R2 TTL or Manual - This flash has a rechargeable lithium ion battery that will hold up to 650 full power pops on a single charge (Make sure you choose the right model for your camera)

This combination of flash gear will allow you to use Scott Hargis's manual lighting technique that he teaches in his e-book and video series.

Larry Lohrman

12 comments on “What Is a Good Flash Setup for Getting Started in Real Estate Photography?”

  1. Here in Queensland every listing has professional photography. The better ones use Godox AD 200 with a flash trigger. The norm is Photo's, drone, matterport, video and floor plan costing from $550,00 if all listings use this package to $1100,00 for individual shoots. Average around $950,000. In most cases the seller pays but then our com is lower, from 2% to 3.3%

  2. I am in the slow process of switching over to Sony cameras but am concerned about being able to achieve sync speeds fast enough to bring in exterior exposures while lighting interiors. Currently using Interfit moonlights I can only achieve 1/160th (using Pocketwizards). I tried the Orlit moonlights but I have found them to be undependable. Does anyone use Sony cameras with the Flashpoint lights (especially the XPLOR 600 Pro).

  3. Yongnuos are great. But if you want to invest in the future, get the Godox AD 200. Be careful of triggers, be sure they are compatible with your camera and your flashes. You will not be disappointed with either Yongnuos or AD200.

  4. My #1 recommendation are the Godox manual speedlites with the lithium batteries. I think they are still the model 850. Various dealers market these under their own house brand, such as Flashpoint. If you need TTL capability for other types of photography, then my recommendation would be the ttl version of these flashes.

  5. The Youngno flashes are cheap, but they do decrease in brightness when used heavily. I have several Youngno III flashes that have degenerated to a negligible output. So, I have invested in a Flashpoint RL-600 with an external Youngno trigger to do the heavy lifting, which lets me use the Youngnos at lower power settings, extending their life.

    I did try replacing the flash tube on one of my Youngnos with and inexpensive import tube, and that brought it up to near new output. So if you are handy and can solder, the tubes can be replaced. It seems the tubes get splattered with metal inside. I assume this is the electrode is being vaporized deposited. Lower power settings would be less likely to do this damage.

  6. My cheap Neewer strobes are outlasting my Yongnuos and my cheap Cowboy Studio triggers work great as long as I use regular alkaline batteries instead of rechargeables. Surprisingly, the triggers even work with Camranger.

    Also, my Cowboy Studio 9' light stands are much sturdier than my Manfrotto 9'.

  7. I used to use Youngno for years, and loved the rock bottom price and easy interaction. But they only lasted about 6 to 9 months before the output dropped. For the longest time it wasn't a problem to just re-order new ones and keep rotating them through my kit.

    But somewhere in the last year or so the build quality took a serious fall and I found myself having to return 3 out of every 4 new flashes that came in the mail. And the ones I kept were spotty and unpredictable.

    Switched over to Phottix Mitros last summer, and have been regretting that ever since too. Far far too expensive to begin with, and quite possible the world's worst interface.

    Will hang on to them for a while to get something out of the investment. And will keep an eye on the Flashpoint when it's time to switch things out once again.

  8. While have used Youngno for years and enjoyed their throwaway quality vs repair am looking to replace the entire set. Like @Kevin, it seems their quality control has deteriorated. Haven't really noted the flash deterioration, but perhaps subtle as using half power where previously used 1/4, etc. Also don't label based on date purchased but color tape code flash and stand to know which group assigned to as adjust from camera. When replacing, I assigned the newest to Group A and reassign backwards. What I have found, and thus the quality control question, is that after a few months, the newer flashes (Group A or B) suddenly won't turn on. Troubleshooting, the batteries are good as they power other flashes. Internet search noted same problem and culprit being a transistor going bad. Had an old damaged flash from a fall using for spare parts so decided to try to replace the transistor per a YouTube video. Sodering in tight spaces was a disaster. Have that problem right now and am using my backup spare which typically is very lightly used as supplemental adjacent room lighting, so if another one goes, I am stuck. Unfortunately, my Sony TTL flash doesn't seem to want to work with the Yonghuo 603 II trigger and actually looked in the manual to see how to set up optical slave mode but can's figure it out as the manual doesn't address it as a feature.

  9. I have used Nicephoto's N-Flash battery powered 630 wattsecond flashes for years. They are durable, powerful - and heavy. So I also have 2 of Flashpoint's version on the Godox A200, using a bare bulb with a halfdome frosted head.

    I take the Nicephoto into large homes, The Flashpoint into smaller homes, and I also stick a Yongnuo hammerhead flash in my front pocket. I always seem to need it in a shower, dark corner,, or adjacent room. They all synch off of the same Yongnuo trigger.

  10. I must be lucky. My Yongnuo 560 system has been working fine. I was given a box full of dead ones that I repaired along with a couple of working used ones from eBay. It's cheap and inexpensive but a good starter if the budget is tight. I have an electronics background so when one dies, I can canabalize it for parts or fix it depending on how it died.

    I plan to switch over to the Godox/Flashpoint due to the greater variety of flashes/strobes that work with their remote commander. Right now I have to double or triple up on speedlights to get the power I need for larger rooms and would love to have some 200's, 360's or a 600 for the times I need lots of light.

    Pick a brand with a variety of flashes/strobes that can be remotely adjusted, not just triggered, from a single commander. That one addition has saved me tons of time and lots of trips up and down stairs. You also want something that will let you have a handheld trigger and that can connect to your camera for remote shutter release. There isn't any reason to buy anything that doesn't have those features as they save so much time on jobs.

    eTTL isn't useful for real estate so don't bother unless you shoot other stuff like events where it works. Really expensive Canon and Nikon flashes are overkill. All you want is a dumb manual flash that isn't going to do any thinking on its own. My Canon flashes stay home when I'm out doing RE work. It looks bad to cry in front of a customer and I might if I dropped one and it reduced down to a box full of small pieces.

  11. Godox/Flashpoint without a doubt. I bought 2 ad200's and 4 manual with the lithium ion batteries and I will never go back to using anything else. I still have several sb800's and some '80's but they rarely come out of my bag. The R2 works great and I have yet to have a problem with any of the flashpoint stuff. I can't recommend them highly enough.

  12. I've gone through 5 Yongnuo in the past 1.5 years - they are weak and in my option garbage - cheap yes but i would have been better off to buy one decent flash
    than a dozen Yongnuo - don't waste your money.

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