photography classes los angeles

How to Use an External Camera Flash // Part 1: Settings

How to Use an External Camera Flash.

When photographing a wedding, party, or any type of event, You’re not always going to be able to get an exposure with available light. But you’ve probably noticed that on camera flash Well- kind of sucks. Well, It's probably time you upgrade to an external flash

TODAY I'M GOING TO GIVE YOU EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO GET STARTED

Personally when I'm using flash my goal is to make it look as little like flash as possible - and in the future, I’m going to give you some tips and tips on how to do so. But before diving into that, We need to talk about your basic settings and how your flash works. Like your camera, your flash has a manual mode. But without an effective means of metering - it can be impractical when on the move at a wedding, event, or anything requiring you to be on the move TTL which stands for through the lens, however, is essentially your flash's automatic mode. The way it works is when you begin to make an image your flash actively meters the light returning to your camera and cuts off once its output enough light to make a proper exposure. But also, like your cameras priority modes, you can tell your flash to either under or over expose an image by varying stops. Remember, your flash doesn't know what it is photographing so it will always expose for middle gray. In my experience when photographing a bunch of guys wearing black suits I set my flash compensation to -1 When I shot weddings, when photographing a bride with flash, I over exposed by about a stop.

That's pretty much all you need to know about your flashs' settings to get started.... But what do you need to know about your camera settings? Well because your flash is essentially shooting in auto - In order to have full creative control over how your images turn out its best to shoot in manual as your flash will adjust to your cameras settings for an exposure. However, It's important to note that flash exposure is solely determined by its output relative to your aperture and ISO alone. NOT shutter speed.

So in short: Set your aperture as you would normally dependent on your needs and taste and your flash will adjust. Shutter speed, on the other hand, while not having an effect on your flash exposure does have an impact on your ambient light exposure. But details on that will have to wait for another video.

I have been a professional photography work for 10 years while teaching photography at the same time. Follow the links below to see my work and be sure to subscribe to my channel on Youtube for more videos

YOUTUBE

Instagram | @retrograding https://www.instagram.com/retrograding/

Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/mikmilman/

www.mikmilman.com

Understanding Light

There are three things to consider when talking about light:

  • Quality of light

  • direction of light

  • Amount

img483.jpg

Quality of Light

Light can be either hard, soft, but there are varying degrees of hard and soft light.

Characteristics of a hard light source:

Hard light will have heavy shadows: more accurately, hard light sources create very crisp lines of shadow with very little gradation. Because of this, images shot with a hard light source gives the subject the appearance of having more detail or texture.

Synonyms and / or descriptors used when talking about hard light:

  • Harsh light - because of the extra detail it creates

  • Direct light - because hard light comes from a direct single spot opposed to soft light which is indirect

Examples sources of hard light:

  • The sun

  • Flash

  • Unshaded light bulbs

Characteristics of soft light

A soft light source is best thought of as indirect or spread out light. Think of how light enters inside of your home through the window. That light is bouncing around and spreading out before it ever reaches the glass. Soft light can be identified by elongated shadows (more gradation).

 

Synonyms and/or descriptors used when talking about soft light:

  • Indirect

  • Diffused

Examples of soft light

  • Window light

  • Shade

  • Light bouncing off of a white or lightly colored wall

  • Cloudy or overcast days

los angeles event photographer


 

Direction of light

The direction of light plays a huge role in the look of your photograph.

As an experiment photograph the same person or object from the front of, the side of, and behind  your light source to see what happens. You will end up with three very different looking images. Notice where the light begins to fall off. Which image looks like it has the most depth? Which looks flattest?

Amount

The amount of light is self explanatory but should not be confused with the quality of the light. You can have both an abundance of soft light as well as hard light.

Picture a scene in heaven in a tv show or movie. It is always depicted with lots of bright light, but that light is soft!

 

event photographer in los angeles

Amount 

Amount is simple. It's how intense your light source is. Thats it. Both hard and soft light sources can be very bright or very dim.