Flash for pro results

 ambient light

 Flash is the portrait photographerbest friend, you just need to master it...

Many amateur photographers dismiss flash because of the harsh, direct light it can produce, but neither of these need to be the case. Donbe scared of flash, because with a few simple techniques and a bit of practice, it can totally transform your outdoor portraits.

There are two effective approaches. The first is to use something to soften the light, such as a softbox or umbrella. These make the light source much bigger, reducing the harsh shadows produced by direct flash. The downside, however, is that they will reduce the amount of light reaching the subject. This can become an issue when shooting outside, because the flash may not be bright enough to light the subject effectively.

The second approach is to embrace the harsh light and use it to your advantage. This works best when you take the flash off the top of the camera so that the light isncoming from the same position as the camera. Using this technique you can even position the flash to mimic the effects of early morning or late evening sun, for dramatic results.

a few simple techniques and a bit of practice, flash can transform portraits”


 ambient light

Most automatic TTL (through the lens) systems wall try to balance the flash exposure with the ambient light automatically, although you can often adjust the flash exposure using your cameraflash exposure compensation feature.

If the subject is too bright, you need to set flash exposure compensation to-1; if ittoo dark try +1. The only thing to remember is that there is usually a maximum shutter speed that will work with flash (usually around 1/200 sec), so donset the shutter speed any faster than this if youshooting in Shutter Priority or Manual exposure mode.

Using manual exposure and manual flash may seem like a black art to some, but getting it right is just a case of changing one setting at a time, and in the right order. With your camera set to Manual and the lowest ISO, first you need to set your camera for the ambient light. In bright conditions, choose the fastest shutter speed that your camera can use with flash (usually 1/200 sec), then adjust the aperture to give your shot a slightly under-exposed background. Take a test shot.

With the aperture now set, you can adjust the power and position of the flash. Most

manual flashguns will have a dial or digital readout to indicate what distance will give the correct exposure at each aperture and power setting. Using this information, you should manually select a power setting that gives a distance suitable for your subject and framing, which will usually be between full to 1/4 power in bright conditions.

Position your flash at the distance indicated from the subject and take a test shot. If the subject is too bright, either move the flashgun a little further away or use a lower power setting. If ittoo dark, move .. the flash closer or increase the power.

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