Flash Photography Basics

In this blog post I am going to give you tips how to control on camera flash, and how to change Background exposure independently from your Model/ Subject exposure.

When we put Flash unit on the top of our camera, we no longer have just one exposure to set, actually we have to exposures:

  • Ambient light exposure, and that is the light that we cannot control (sun, street light)
  • Light from our flash, we will call it Flash Exposure in this post.

All cameras have ability to control separate Ambient and Flash Exposure. We can separate exposures by shooting in manual mode in all camera brands (except Canon) using manual mode. Canon cameras have different abilities than other cameras brands.

Steps How to control Background and Subject/Model Exposure with non Canon Camera:

  • Set your Camera to Manual mode,
  • Set your Camera to HSS mode (High Speed Sync) in order to be able to shoot with higher shutter speeds
  • Set your Flash unit to ETTL (automatic mode), if you want camera decide what is the proper exposure, or Manual mode if you want you to control Flash.

Shutter controls the ambient light and Aperture controls flash output.

If you want for example to have darker background you will need just to increase shutter, or opposite. If you want brighter background, you will decrease shutter. 

If the distance between your camera and subject is 5 or 10 meters, you will not going to have good results, because the flash units are not so powerful. You can overrun this problem by using of camera system (soft box etc).

Steps How to control Background and Subject/Model exposure with Canon Camera:

  • Set your Camera to Aperture Priority Mode,
  • Set your Flash to HSS mode (High Speed Sync) in order to be able to shoot with higher shutter speeds
  • Set your Flash unit to ETTL (automatic mode), if you want camera decide what is the proper exposure, or Manual mode if you want you to control Flash.

In order to control Background exposure with Canon Camera, you have to use Exposure Compensation on your camera.

You can control your background by increasing or decreasing your EC values. For darker background you will set the EV values to -1, -2, -3, -4, or if you want bright background you need to set EV to plus values (+1, +2, +3, +4).

You can change Subject/Model Exposure using Flash Exposure Compensation (FEC). On the top of the camera you can find Flash +, – sign, and by increasing or decreasing it, you can decide what exposure is right for you.

Conclusion

Using external Flash gives you a possibility to create separate exposure for background and your Subject/Model. That way you are in the position to have better control on your image, and to achive extraordinary results.

Please visit my other blog posts related to Flash Photography, and if you have some question or suggestion please let me know. https://www.emilphotostock.com/flash-photography-second-curtain-sync/ and https://www.emilphotostock.com/godox-tt685-flash/.

Cheers,

Pick Your Perfect Camera…

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