Because big lights and small lights each bring a different set of considerations to the party, I am splitting my recommendations into speedlights and “studio lights.” (Although I hate that term.)
For speedlights, you have to decide if you wanna drive stick or automatic—AKA manual or TTL. I live in manual mode, which means I sacrifice some convenience for reliability and repeatability. It also means I can pay about a third as much for each of my flashes.
If you live by TTL, you will die by TTL. Or, at least your wallet will die a small, unnecessary death every time you need to purchase a flash.
Choosing Lights —Strobist
Shared on Sep 02, 2014