camera flash

Camera flash

Why do we need a camera flash?

There are a lot of camera flashes on the market thse days. The purpose of a flash is to add light when natural light is to low or dark. A camera flash is a must have for anynserious photographer. Mastering th flash requires a bit of experience and I know lots of people being afraid of using the flash due to uncontrolled results.
Understanding how the flash works is vital for a decent result. During th exposure, when the curtain opens, an elecrical impulse is send to the flash triggering a short powerfull light. The duration of the flash is few hundreds of times shorter than any exposure. Advanced users are able to control when the flash triggers at the begining, in the middel or at the end of the exposure when the curtain closes, generating various effects. Also advnced users are able to trigger the f
As several times during one long exposure crating duplicated images of a moving subject in different positions. One tutorial about this effect called stroboscopic effect, will be described in a different article on how to become a photographer website
Coming back to our topic, the camera flash we need to talk about few important elements:
– Camera flash power is the maximum amount of light that one flash can generate. The more money you spend on. Flash, the more powerfull it will be. It can make a big difference
– Flash settings: Ettl, manual or multi
camera flash
photo taken with camera flash bounced off the ceiling
ETTL – or exposure through the lens. This setting may seem to be an advantage to use for a beginner.  How ETTL works, is the flash is being set by the camera. The camera reads the distance and the light level of the subject And the flash will decide whether it needs to trigger, or not, amd if it does, how much light is equired to fill in the shadows. It may work well in daylight in many normal circumstances, but there are a lot of disadvantages, for someone using the flash to bounce the light on a surface rather than shooting stright towrds the subject. I guess it is nozt acceptable from my own prfessional photographer perspective to shoot directly anyway towards a subject as the result is not satisfactory. Harsh shadows and overexposed areas of the subject are not someting experinced photographers are looking for. If you use the flash to bounce the light , the flash doe not know where that surface is and the results are not comtrolable. The cameraa takes a reading of a subject and the flash takes a poor decision.
I am using personally only the manual mode, and I always start few test shots with the maximum power setting of the camera flash. I decide then to modify the aperture or shutters speed depending on the circumstances. If i can afford to work with bigger shutter speeds,or longer exposures, i may choose to de rase the intensity if the flash in order to save the batteries, but my primary concern is to have as much light as possible.
As a professional photographer, i work only with the camera flash when i can bounce the light on a large surface like a ceiling or a wall that will give me the effect of a large light source and e shadows on my subject will be smoother. One thing which is very usefull on a camera flash is the bouncing card which in the open position, may help with a fill flash function, depending again on the arrangement on the circumstances.
One example is shooting a portrait in a room where there is not enough light to have a decent exposure. I would recommend, turning the flash gun towards the ceiling, and lifting the bounce card in open position. This way the whole ceiling becomes the light source, and the card becomes a fill flash.
A very interesting capability of a camera flash these days is to be able to syncronize several flashes. One flash becomes a wireless trigger for other flashes positioned strategically in a different location, illuminating the subject from a different angle. This will enable any photographer to create images more interesting and unusual. You can have one master flash on the camera and several “slave” flashes around a subject at a distance.
Using the camera flash is a must for any serious photographer. Controling the light means controling the result and that makes the difference between a photographer and a person with a camera.
I do not have the say that in various conditions, the camera flash is absolutely necessary. Shooting indoors canot be done without it in many circumstances like parties, conferences, wedding etc where natural light is not sufficient. One aspect to be taken into consideration is th gact the flash should not be fired to man times in a raw as it may be damged. Also one important recommendation is to have an additional camera flash battery pack, which will give you added power for longer. There is nothing more frustrating than missing the important moments of the event due to the batteries getting to weak to trigger in time.
Tips in using the camera flash:
1. Shoot portraits against the sun in daylight and use the fill in flash. You can experiment with any mode you want, ettl or manual and the results can be very good. You can obtain a beatifull lit face with a sun lit contour of the subject
2. Take the flash off the camera, either with a cable, or a wireless trigger in order to differentiate yourself from the large mass of photographers who are lazy to do it or have no clue how. Having the light source anywhere other than your direction is way better. You can play with various positions of the light and choose the one you like the most.
3. Have more than one flash. If you have the posibility to invest a bit more, a second or a third flash will give your photos an edge otherwise impossible to achieve. Having more flashes synchronized is a professional way to shoot and the results will speak for themselves.
4. Never shoot towards the subject, always bounce the light off another surface.
5. You can use flashes on location, combined with special sofboxes designed to use camera flashes instead of expensive lighting equipment.
6. Never be afraid of the flash but embrace it.
Using the camera flash is a must do in any serious photographer activity and understanding and controlling the flash should become a reflex, like all camera settings.
If any questions on the topic on how to use the camera flash, feel free to send us a message and we will be happy to respond.




About Christian Tudor

professional photographer, main editor at Academy of Photography and owner and principal photographer of Tudor Photography