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I got a 430EX II a few weeks ago and I am going to be doing portraits over summer, so what would you recommend? An umbrella, a Soft box? I'm new to the idea of flash and studio lighting, so help is appreciated.
Your 7D's pop-up flash can act as a Master to control your 430EX II when the latter is off camera. It'll work well indoors in typical home-sized rooms where the bounced light from the pop-up can reach the sensor on the Slave flash. Outdoors, or in large rooms, it may not work reliably.
For portraits, you can set the pop-up (which will be Group A) to a low ratio to act as a near-axis fill, and set the Slave 430EX II to Group B at a high(er) ratio to act as the key light.
When using only one off-camera flash, I've used a soft box on that single flash -- which I would normally use on a fill light rather than on a key light -- with good results. I prefer it to an umbrella, as I have more control over the directionality/spill with the soft box.
The 7D does well enough at moderate ISO settings that the ambient light and bounced flash can light the background/environment, although additional lights allow more control.
Another accessory that I use is a Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce. In case where I'm using an on-camera Speedlite indoors (moving around a lot, shooting in different rooms, etc.), I point the flash head up, and the Omni-Bounce casts the light up and also 360-degrees around. That way I get some direct light on the subject, and also multi-surface bounce as fill.
I particularly use the Omni-Bounce when doing "getting ready shots" of brides, shooting birthday parties, etc. where mobility is important. It's head and shoulders above using direct flash.
So, the accessories I'd suggest will be:
- A light stand
I like the Manfrotto Combi Boom Stand for multiple uses from a single stand
- A soft box
I like the 28" Apollo Soft Box, which is designed for use with Speedlites
- A Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce
They sell models specifically to fit your model of flash
It's easy to get addicted to modified Speedlite shooting. I certainly am. I have three Canon Speedlites and one Vivitar 285HV at the moment, and I have everything from umbrellas to beauty dishes for them. They do all that I can ask of them.
Here's just some of what I use: