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I want to upgrade my portrait photography using an artificial light that can function without being connected to the power. As for now I want to buy only one source of light.

I thought to use my Yongnuo YN-565EX II with a trigger inside a big softbox as a first step. But I don't know which trigger is compatible with it and or whether one can control the flash when it's off the camera.

My camera is a Canon 550D/T2i.

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The YN-565EX II only has one type of remote control system built into it where you could remotely fire and control the settings on the flash, which is Canon's "smart" optical system (Sc mode). It does not have any built-in radio remote control. Normally, you could use this system with the pop-up flash of a Canon dSLR body, but they only added the wireless flash master feature in the pop-up with the T3i/600D, so your camera cannot do this.

The YN-565EX II also has "dumb" optical S1/S2 modes that will let you fire it remotely with any flash burst, so your pop-up could work there, but you'd have to adjust any settings directly on the YN-565EX II itself, which if you've put it inside a big softbox, could get to be annoying (i.e., any change to the settings might require opening the softbox to get to the flash. (Tip: avoid softboxes where there's an opening in the bottom for the lightstand to go through; you'll have very limited ability to tilt the softbox).

What you probably want are Canon TTL/HSS-capable radio triggers. You attach a receiver to the foot of the flash, and put the transmitter on the hotshoe of your camera, and the transmitter acts as your remote control unit. The Yongnuo YN-622C II transceivers (can be either receiver or transmitter) and the YN-622C-TX II transmitter are an example of radio triggers that would let you have remote control over the flash's settings as well as remotely fire it off-camera.

Personally, I would recommend starting over with a Godox TT685 II-C and XPro-C, as Yongnuo is a relatively limited system (speedlights and a YN-200) with a ton of partially-compatible different triggering systems instead of one coherent one. Godox makes it a lot easier to expand your lighting system—even up to studio strobes. But to start out, you could try getting a Godox XPro-C and X1R-C receiver and seeing if it works.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I use mostly Godox/Flashpoint stuff now, but I still have a single Yongnuo YN685 that I sometimes use with an X1R-C attached to the hot foot of the flash, as well as a Canon 430EXII + X1R-C. They both work seamlessly with the Flashpoint R2 Pro Mark II trigger (basically a Godox-made for Adorama version of the Godox XPro-C with extra buttons to directly access each flash group and several other functions). I highly recommend using the Flashpoint R2 Pro Mark II to control all Godox/Flashpoint flashes for anyone who has easy access from their location to order from Adorama. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Dec 28, 2022 at 3:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ The other major issue with using an optical wireless control system with soft boxes is that if the flash is buried inside the soft box, it requires a stronger optical signal to even fire the flash, depending upon distance, angle, etc., especially if one is working outdoors where the control bursts don't have walls to bounce off of back into the translucent front part of the soft box. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Dec 28, 2022 at 3:03

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