Secrets of using Canon E-TTL On-Camera Flash for Better Portraits

Welcome Canon Flash Users

Hi, I'm Dave Likes

I'm a professional photographer, teacher, youtuber, "nerd wanna be" and photoshop expert whose passion is helping everyday people learn how to use Canon on-camera flash to create portraits that wow!

The information and techniques in this course come from my hard-learned lessons over the years and from what has worked for me in my photo business. You'll learn proven shortcuts. I wish I'd had this course when I first started out in my career!

Create Stunning Portraits with On-camera Flash!

You don't need to take the flash off-camera or own an expensive studio light set-up to create eye-catching portraits that will stun yourself as well as your neighbors or clients! With the information and techniques you learn here you will be well on your way to using the power of E-TTL flash that the engineers at Canon designed it to be.

  • Gain confidence in using E-TTL flash 
  • Learn to use flash like a pro portrait photographer 
  • Shortcut your way to great photos with simple step by step techniques
  • More than ever before, if you follow my system you will get great looking portraits with ease and speed, when using your E-TTL flash on-camera.

    — Dave Likes, Certified Professional Photographer

Requirements for this course:

A Canon DSLR camera (preferably a Canon 5D Mark III)

An external Canon (EX) flash (preferably a Canon 600EX-RT)

Basic Knowledge of ISO, f-stop and shutter speed and use of your Canon camera and flash system

A desire for better, more consistent exposed portraits

Note: This course is a no-nonsense practical guide to getting good portraits taught on what you need to know to do that. I leave basic photography and flash operation up to the countless materials that appear in books, Youtube videos and website articles.

Though I don't teach off-camera flash in this course a lot of the adjustments and techniques still apply to a one light off-camera flash if you know how to set up the basic wireless connection.

All examples shown in this course were done with a Canon 5D Mark III camera and a Canon 600 EX-RT flash (and I know are true for the the 5D Mark II, my previous camera as well). I don't claim to know all Canon products - though I'm sure a lot of the info applies to other Canon camera models and flash too!

What is not included in your camera's instruction manual

The Canon User Manual is missing a lot! This is especially true when it comes to using E-TTL flash. In order to get good overall exposure when using flash one needs to know specifically:

  1. Does the flash track the auto focus points in the camera? If so when does it not track them?
  2. When in E-TTL flash mode and switching to manual camera mode, where does the flash meter at?
  3. How much area in the viewfinder does the flash use for metering?
  4. Does the camera compensate for fill flash? If so what settings allow it?

Most photography books that advocate using E-TTL flash suggest doing several test flashes and adjusting the flash till the exposure is correct. The main problem with this is you cannot zoom the lens or go from portrait mode to landscape mode without changing the exposure! So you are constantly chasing the exposure and taking test shots over and over again, filling up your camera card!

I have a better way . . .

 Through years of shooting portraits using E-TTL flash in my portrait photography business, I've discovered how the system works and developed simple techniques for getting consistent exposure and creating great portrait lighting without having to take several test shots whenever you change camera position. You won't find this information anywhere else but here. They truly are secrets until now!

Quickly Learn and Do

This is a "How to" course. It is short and to the point. No long lectures. Most videos show you all you need to know in less than 5 minutes. Where a video might be less helpful, I include written posts to complete your understanding of the subject matter.

WARNING: If you are the kind of person who desires to know "why" as well as "how to" then this course is for you! It is very details driven. For ease of creation and consistency, I'll be doing demos on a mannequin. This way you get to see exactly what I did with each camera adjustment and can see the difference as only one subject is used throughout the program.

In this course you'll learn:

  • How to read the scene and pick out problem areas that fool your flash (and white balance) and be able to adjust for them without taking multiple test shots.
  • How I use my histogram when determining correct exposure.
  • When the "expose to the right" method sometimes can be wrong.
  • How to determine if your exposure is absolutely correct when using E-TTL.
  • Why using my "Flash and Forget" method is your best tool for getting consistent exposure.
  • A secret  little trick I discovered to shoot several times faster getting the exposure right every time
  • Several techniques for getting professional looking portraits with using flash on-camera.
  • Pro tips that I learned from Master Portrait Photographers over the years and have modified them to on-camera flash. 

Each lesson includes a comment section at the end so you can ask questions that can be answered by me or other students enrolled in the course.

Bonus PDF Download Included

Included in the course is a PDF download showing step by step procedure on how to do each lighting technique for quick and easy access.

Don't miss out
It's the best course ever

Table of Contents

Seeking the answers of how the flash system works
Chapter 1: Why Canon Speedlights are King
The advantage of E-TTL and what you need to know
The advantage of using a speedlight over a professional studio strobe light
Chapter 2: Secrets of Canon Flash System learned the hard way
The effects of adding a second light source to your scene
Inverse Square Law explained in practical terms when concerned about over exposure
Does the E-TTL Flash track the autofocus point?
Chapter 3: Understanding E-TTL versus E-TTL II
Increased accuracy of E-TTL II and when you can use it
Why I don’t use all the advantages of E-TTL II when doing my portraits
Chapter 4: Histogram and getting good exposure and white balance in problem situations
Learn to recognize scenes of when your camera and flash get fooled
Learn to recognize mixed lighting situations and what to do about white balance
How to use the histogram when determining correct exposure
How to determine if your exposure is absolutely correct when using E-TTL Flash
Chapter 5: Dave's rules when it comes to controlling flash
Flash Exposure Compensation (FEC) and when to use it
How to get correct exposure every time using Flash Exposure Lock (FEL)
Learn the two best program modes to use when doing portraits with E-TTL
Learn Dave’s rules for when to use your camera’s autofocus points with flash
Learn Dave’s rules for bouncing flash in rooms for great looking portraits
Chapter 6: Understanding Canon's Fill Flash System Secrets In Depth
Setting Fill Flash correctly when using program mode and evaluative metering
Setting Fill Flash correctly when using manual camera mode
Chapter 7: Flash Techniques that will make you shoot like a Pro
Advantages of using Dave’s “Flash and Forget” Technique (FF) when you need accurate exposure
Technique #1: A secret little trick I discovered to shoot several times faster getting the exposure right every time
Technique #2: Window Light with Inverted Fill
Technique #3: Angle bounce and underexpose ambient to darken background
Technique #4: Reverse Window Light Method
Technique #5: Using On-Camera Flash Outside
Assessing a location to create a portrait
Bonus PDF download - Step by Step Flash Procedures
My flash is not doing what I expected it to do?
Troubleshooting FF Technique
Why you want to set your camera up for back button focus
Tip for getting more in focus pictures when using back button focus with and IS Lens
When to use a flash bender to block direct light when bouncing flash inside
Understanding the Canon exposure Wheel on your camera
Purchase the companion PDF to this course

Frequently Asked Questions

Will this course ever close?

Once you purchase the course it may close periodically to others who have not purchased it. But you will always have access. We will also notify you of any new updates for your viewing as well.

Will the course get updates?

Technology and techniques change over time. You will be notified by email as the course gets updated and be able to view the new information that has been added within the course.

What is different between the PDF for sale and the online course?

The 69 page PDF is packed with information and images. Where the online course has short videos of exactly "How To" with some written info included. Also the course will be updated over time.

What if I'm unhappy with my purchase?

Once the course is purchased/accessed (or PDF downloaded), no refund will be granted. If you have any questions please contact me before making a purchase. My email is:

I still have a question, how can I contact you?

I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Send me an email at

Don't miss out
It's the best course ever

Purchase the PDF version of the course

Get this 69 page pdf download separately or as a compliment to the online course.

Currently on sale for $12.95! Click on the link below to purchase.

Secrets of using Canon's E-TTL On-Camera Flash Companion Download

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