Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Introduction to external flashes

This is where the fun starts.If you really want to be more creative in your photography, this topic is for you.

Using external flashes can open up a lot of lighting possibilities and creativity. This will help transform your photos from mere snapshots to pieces of arts.

Cant we just shoot available light? 

Of course we can! I have been doing that for the last couple of years.

But with available light, we only have one light to base our exposure from. There is only one correct exposure, or else you'll either have an underexpose or an overexpose image.

But if we carry additional light with us as an option, it will give us endless possibilities. Photography is defined as painting with light. Let's consider our flashes as our brushes then.

Two kinds of external flashes

There are two basic types of external flashes, the TTL and the manual flashes.

The difference is that in TTL you let the camera adjust the light power output of the flash while in manual flashes you do it yourself manually.

I prefer using manual flashes. For me, it is like cooking. You put a little of this and that till you are satisfied with its taste.

Uses of external flashes

I will run you through to some of the uses of external flashes. We will talk about this techniques in the coming articles. 

You can bounce your light on ceiling or walls to get a nice and evenly spread soft light. 

Like this shot of little Chelsea and her dad. Light bounced at the ceiling, it gives an even and pleasant light. 

You can take your light off your camera and put it in a 45% angle to your subject.

My wife lighted with an off camera flash, 45% at camera right. 

You can use it as a very effective fill light to avoid shadows outdoors. 

Without fill, this photo will have shadows on their faces and some other areas not reached by the sun's light

You can even include it  in your frame.


You can take a simple and quick one light set up portrait like below.

This photo of coach Ariel was lighted by a single flash handheld by yours truly at camera left. 

Or you can be a little bit more creative like this.

Two light set up. Flash with umbrella lighting Lyn, bare flash at the back lighting the flowers.

And this

White balance tweaking made the sky bluer. Itthipol was lighted by a single flash at camera right, gelled to balance the color temperature. 

I can go on and on, the possibilities are endless.

I encourage everyone that wants to try new things and be more creative in their photography to include off camera flashes in their arsenal.

 They are fun, exciting and challenging.

Let's dwell with some techniques in lighting in the coming articles.