The first photograph you ever took would probably have used available light. This could be natural daylight, indoor lighting or any other form of light where you have no control over the intensity, quality or direction of the source. This is a good way to learn the basics and lets you concentrate on composition and other aspects of image stabilization. A lot of reportage work is done this way to ensure the least amount of intrusion as possible. However as your skills progress you may be tempted to create images in a more controlled way. i.e. on location or ultimately in a studio setting where the lighting is all under your control. This sounds great but it does come with its own set of problems and challenges. So what kind of flash sources are available? There are many types available and to highlight the 3 main ones in this article. Camera flash is built into most cameras these days, from simple point and shoot to DSLRs. Mostly used as supplemental light when available light is too low. However, because of their diminutive size they’re usually too low powered for anything more than party photos. Next step up are the camera sliders that clip onto the camera to provide an extra boost in light output when the built in flash just doesn’t cut it. Previously, the capability of these flashes were quite limited but today’s models offer much more flexibility with features rivaling those found on dedicated studio strobes. Most mid range flashguns offer multi-directional heads i.e the flash head can be rotated left / right as well as 90 degrees up. This allows the light to be bounced off the ceiling to create a much softer light source. At the top end of the scale, the dedicated flashguns from the main manufacturers now have remote triggering features which makes them near studio strobes or be it with less power and range. There are even light modifying accessories you can buy (or make) to increase its usability. These would be the best option to get you started because of their portability and relatively low price. Camera slider dolly is used mostly in in movies. Operating on mains power, these are powerful units that can fill a large background with flat light. Most will now be triggered remotely by an on camera receiver. These flash units vary in price depending on make and come with a wide range of optional accessories like brollies, softbox, honeycombs to name a few.