For Beginners: Why You’ll Fall In Love With Your Flash (Again)


First things first: I had to shoot today’s video with my old digital video camera, thus there is no HD video today.

Second: it’s not for you if you already earned your salt using flash.

Anyway, if you just starting out or are used to avoid using any kind of flash out of frustration, this might be interesting for you.

Very often the main subject is properly lit and the background is totally black or at least heavily under exposed.

In this case you just have taken a low-key image. Not intentional though. But you want to do everything intentional of course.

The most heard complain by people who are just starting with flash is that they usually killing all the ambient light in their photos.

Even though you have been shooting in a controlled environment. An example would be a birthday party with your family where anybody is sitting on a sofa and things like that.

Sounds familiar? Let’s have a look at your meta-data. You probably had a high shutter speed. Most likely something around the 1/200 or 1/250 as this is the maximum sync speed of your camera. (For the critics: read the title of this post. It says beginners and they don’t fiddle around with high sync and that kind of stuff).
The next thing is that you probably flash with too much power.

If this is the case you literally blew the atmosphere out of the image.

The reason that this is happening is the overlooked fact that your flash is freezing the image what allows you to use a lower shutter speed. A way lower shutter speed than you might think.

In this video I shoot hand held with my 70-200 2.8 with a weight of 1.3 kilograms. Quite heavy and not easy to shoot with at low shutter speeds.

You may know that the maximum focal length should be your lowest shutter speed. And even if you shoot with 1/200 of a second with a lens like this the chance to get some motion blur because of your hand shakiness is pretty high. When I don’t use a flash I usually don’t want to shoot below the 1/500 with this rocker.

But as you are using a flash or studio strobe in this example and the action will be frozen before your shutter is closed again you can go way slower with its speed.

This gives you the benefit of letting more ambient light into the camera and the result will be that your images looking warmer. Yes, they look like the moment you experienced when you took the image in the first place.

Tomorrow I will make a HD video where we have a brief look at the RAW-files I took.

Thanks for reading/watching!

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