Flash Techniques Explained

camera flash

Flash photography is fundamentally not the same as shooting available light, which can be likely beyond your control: your flash, which you have some control over, and a standard camera exposure since two light sources are lighting your subject. In this portion of the tutorial we’ll concentrate on both of the other consequences of this fact, as they pertain to flash exposure.

Each type of flash control has clear benefits and disadvantages. When ambient exposure and both flash output changes, the flash ratio can be certainly adjusted by one without changing the overall exposure; a 1 FEC and – 1 EC setting will leave the overall exposure unchanged, for example. When only surrounding exposure changes, FEC and EC effectively become independent managements but these cameras also can make it harder to work with FEC and EC without also altering the general exposure to shift the flash ratio. The balance of the section targets using all these settings to control the flash ratio, if you just chance to possess this sort of camera.

Flash ratios of greater or 1:2 are where the topics in the first half of this tutorial become important, including its light place that is apparent and the flash position, since the flash can seem rather harsh unless carefully controlled. For this reason, most photographers will likely wish to use their flash as a fill flash, if possible, since this is actually the easiest kind of flash photography.

One of the hardest endeavors in flash photography is understanding how different camera and flash metering modes will change a complete exposure. Some modes assume you only want a fill flash, while others effectively ignore ambient light and suppose that your camera’s flash would function as the dominant source of illumination.

Luckily, all cameras use their flash as a fill flash the main light source or as either. The key is understanding when and why your camera uses its flash in all the manners. A table summarizing the most typical camera ways is recorded below:

The flash ratio then increases progressively as light reaching the subject gets dimmer, but the shutter speed remains at 1/60 of a second.

The key is knowing just how to get the desired mix between light from ambient sources and light — while also getting the correct amount of light that is complete (from all sources) to achieve a properly exposed image.

The “flash ratio” can be an important method to describe the combination between ambient light and light from your flash. Since the shutter speed does not affect the level of light shot from your flash (but does affect ambient light), it is possible to use this fact to restrain the flash ratio. To get confirmed amount of ambient light, flash and ambient light’s mix is corrected using only two camera settings: (i) the period of the exposure and (ii) the flash strength.

The flash ratio* is used to characterize the ratio between light from your flash and ambient light. At one extreme of the ratio is ordinary ambient light photography (left), and in another extreme is photography using mostly light from the flash (right). Practically though, there is always some number of ambient light, so an endless flash ratio is a theoretical limit.

*Technical Note: Sometimes the flash ratio is rather described concerning the ratio between absolute light and light in the flash. A 2:1 if so, 3:1 and 5:1 ratio would be equal to 1:2 a 1:1 and 1:4 ratio in the table above, respectively. Sadly both conventions are used.

It is very important to additionally note that not all flash ratios are necessarily attainable with a given flash unit or surrounding light intensity. If surrounding light is not extremely mild, or in case your flash is far out of your issue, it’s improbable that a compact camera’s internal flash could reach flash ratios approaching 10:1, for example.

Program (P) mode resembles Auto, except one can additionally induce a flash to be used in scenarios where the subject is well-lit, by which case the flash will become a fill flash. The fill flash ratio may thus be anywhere from 1:1 (in dimmed light) to 1:4 (in bright light).

Nevertheless, unlike with Automobile and P modes, the flash ratio never grows beyond about 1:1 and exposures are as long as crucial (aka “slow sync”). In Television mode, the flash ratio may also rise if the f stop that is essential is smaller than available with your lens.

In Manual (M) mode, the camera exhibits ambient light based on how you set the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Manual mode therefore empowers a substantially more comprehensive range of flash ratios in relation to the other modes.

In all modes, the applicable setting in your viewfinder will blink if there is a flash exposure not possible using that setting.

The best technique for altering the flash ratio is utilizing the right combination of flash exposure compensation (FEC) and average exposure compensation (EC). FEC works much like regular EC: it tells the camera to take whatever flash intensity it was planning to use, and also to override that from the FEC setting. The big difference is that while EC may affect the exposures and ambient light (depending on camera model), brassy intensity only affects.

Both EC and FEC are defined regarding stops of light. Each negative or favorable stop identifies a doubling or halving of light. Hence a 1 EC or FEC value means a doubling of light, whereas a -2 value means there is a quarter as much light.

With present Canon cameras, EC exclusively changes ambient exposure, whereas with most Nikon cameras, EC concurrently changes ambient exposure and flash intensity. A few of the more recent Nikon cameras, including D800 and the D4, can work either way via a custom function.

A Brand New Retro Nikon Body

Nikon has released a brand new camera body that’s a concept that many of us old film guys have been waiting for for a long time. I’ve just found an excellent Nikon Df review that confirms what I’ve been hoping this camera would be.

So the Nikon Df takes the body, ergonomics and design of the old 35 camera models and powers them with the same sensor found in the Nikon D4 (Nikon’s top of the line camera). The result is a camera that is made for serious professionals who need to be versatile. The idea is that Nikon has put assignable buttons and dials back on the camera. You can assign various functions to these buttons and dials that you need to get to often. This eliminates the need to dig through menu options on the rear LCD thus making it faster and easier to get the right shot.

Nikon Df

For example, if you are shooting in difficult light and need to bracket your exposures, this can be assigned to a button right within a finger’s reach. If you need to adjust the ISO this can be done as well.

This is how we used to shoot back when 35mm cameras were still widely used in professional applications. It made it easy to concentrate on the photographs and not fiddling with the camera.

Anyway – excellent review – check it out for yourself.


DX vs FX Digital Camera Sensors

I often get asked what the differences between DX and FX sensors are and how that weighs in when deciding to buy a camera. For some of you this is a very basic questions, but for the beginners out there this is very valid and should be a concern when you’re deciding what you want to be shooting on.

DX and FX are terms that Nikon uses. Canon simply refers to one sensor as “full frame” and the other as “APS-C”. In either case though this mainly refers to the physical size of the sensor. Full frame sensors (Nikon calls this FX) are the same size as the old 35mm film negative. Smaller size camera’s use a sensor that’s about 75% of this size. Then there’s micro 4/3 cameras. These sensors are basically half the size of a full frame.

So what does this all mean? Do you have to use a full frame sensor? Is the image quality better?

Well there are many factors that go into this as well as many myths. Size doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have better or worse image quality. In the early days of digital cameras this may have had an impact, but today the technology is such that you’ll probably never notice a difference comparing images side by side.

The one possibility of advantage is low light. Larger sensors can space the pixels differently and thus they can cope with high ISO noise a bit differently. This is a slight advantage if you’re shooting in low light quite often.

You can learn more here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_sensor_format

The Easiest Way to Build a Photography Portfolio

Portfolio Website

One of the biggest things to do when starting out as a photographer is actually building a photography portfolio website. You need to find a way to get your work online so its important that you do that in a professional way that represents what it is that you do. It can be an overwhelming task – you have to get all of your work together you want to show then find a way to present it online. This can be a big task.

Many people think they need to learn HTML and how a web server works. I’ve even known people who decide to sign up for a class to learn how to do their website. This is a little bit extreme I think. There are tons of tools out there that will get you what you need to be up and running quickly. And you don’t have to know how to code.

These days most portfolios run off of a content management system (some people just call it a CMS for short). WordPress is one of the most popular out there. It was built for making a blog, but did you know it works really well for making a photography portfolio as well?

WordPress works by using what they call themes. Themes are a way of presenting your content – its the design and layout of your site. All you need to do is find the right theme for your photography portfolio and you are up and running!

I’ve found an excellent tutorial that will help you get up and running in less than 5 minutes! Check it out here:


Making A Living In Photography

Professional Photographer

There is certainly no question that photography is a tough and hard business to be in. Part of what I want to talk about on this blog is ways that you can be successful in the photography business despite the odds. Before we begin I want to make clear that there are two serious initiatives that you need to understand. First, you need to be good and second you need to be ready to work hard and be aggressive.

Now those two statements are probably painfully obvious and they are probably also pretty subjective and hard to figure out. What does it mean to be good? And what does it mean to work hard?

Photography is an art. It is a way of communicating visually and although those of us in the communication business understand this – often times the people who hire us do not. To many people, aesthetics are simply a want and not a need. Since the late 1990’s we’ve seen a weirder economy than we’ve ever seen. Often times its more down than up. When money is scarce, clients tend to cling to it more. When times get better they stay cautious. So its up to us as photographers to really do a better job at convincing potential clients that using us and using our work has value.

So obviously there is some sales involved but the other 2 ideas hold true. You have to be good and you have to work hard.

What does being good mean?

Good is defined as what you do best. Its also defined by who is willing to pay money for it. If you are good at what you photograph and you find someone this is worth something too you will be fine.

What does working hard mean?

The downside is the competition. You need to work really hard because there are probably 10 other people who do what you do and do it well. And they’re going after your market as well. Its the simple idea of competition. How hard do you need to work? Harder than these guys.

But don’t worry – reputation is recursive if you do it right. You can still make a living as a photographer. I do and I know many who do.