I think it is very important that you learn how to use flash in manual mode (manual flash, that is, as well as manual exposure!) before you move to today’s sophisticated eTTL or iTTL modes.
That way, you get predictable results. And you can use Pocketwizards.
The above shot was lit with only a few lights.
Here’s your tip for today: when a fireplace does not light, use a flash with a red gel (I used a 430EX equipped with a Honl speedstrap and Honl red gel; all fired with Pocketwizards).
NEWS! Joseph Marranca, one of Canada’s most experienced commercial photographers, and I are organizing a unique weekend advanced light workshop at my country home in Mono, Ontario, just an hour north of Toronto. Strictly limited to 6-8 advanced or emerging pro users, this will be a unique two-day opportunity to learn lighting (indoors, outdoors, and mixed, and using studio strobes as well as speedlites) and come home with portfolio shots.
The dates are April 10 and 11. Email me if you want further detail!