What flash to buy – Recommendations
Small flashes; well you cannot go wrong with your camera manufactures flash units. The Nikon units are particular good if expensive, which is the general problem with camera manufacturer’s lights.
For third party units I would recommend Metz or Quantum, there are a lot of new companies doing units now but I have no personal experience of them.
Studio flash units; low end I have no real experience but I will add that I had a cheap unit lighting the background on a studio shoot. It was struggling to keep up and caught fire! Midrange I use Elinchrom, high end the latest Profoto is hard to beat but you do pay a high price, I have heard some wonderful stories about how good their customer service is and assisting when there are issues.
Again like small flash, there are a lot of new companies doing studio flash like GoDox/PiXAPRO. The above shot was taken at a local location using some loaned PiXAPRO studio heads.
What ever you pick think about the accessaries you may need later and if its easy to get the unit repaired locally.
Mixing units; if you are doing anything that is colour critical then having all the units from the same manufacture help for consistent colour.
If your slowly building a system, may be a low-end light from the system you choose first, then add a second when you can afford it. This will last you a while, then maybe add a more expensive light as your main light and the others become background and hair lights.