10 Tips to Improve Your Flash Photography (Beginners’ Guide to Flash Photography)

It’s time to improve our flash photography and for that, I am going to give you 10 tips today. So let’s get started.

1. Use TTL Mode

The manual mode of the flash can be a little tricky to master. So you can use the TTL or iTTL mode of the flash, it’s kinda like an auto mode for the flash where the flash checks the current lighting condition and the distance between the flash and subject to determine the required flash power to light the scene.

2. Flash Exposure

Most flashes allow you to increase or decrease the amount of flash exposure that is the power of the flash. Mine goes from -3 to +3 in 1/3 stop increments. So I can press this button and move the dial to control the flash power.

3. Learn About Sync Speed

Most cameras do not allow us to use the fastest shutter speeds when using flash. Eg my camera Nikon D5300 does not allow me to set my shutter speed above 1/200 when the flash is on. So that is my flash sync speed 1/200. If I am shooting indoors this is ok. But outdoors, in broad daylight, a 1/200 shutter speed may give me a blown-out image. As I already have a powerful flash lighting my subject along with the super powerful sun. In such cases, I will have to increase my f-number, so it can affect the depth or bokeh of the image. High end cameras may allow you High Speed Sync, meaning you can set your shutter speed higher than the flash sync speed. So if you want to use your flash outdoors a lot, make sure your camera and flash both allow high speed sync, my camera doesn’t so that is a limitation for me.

4. Camera Settings

By changing your shutter speed, you can only alter the amount of ambient light in the shot and it doesn’t affect your flash power. As flash power is too quick to be affected by shutter speed, you control it by changing the aperture. If the image is overexposed, you need to close the aperture down, and if it is too dark, you need to open your aperture up. 3rd ISO – Shooting a flash at full power for a long time will kill your batteries, take longer to recharge between shots, and, in some cases, it may overheat the flash. By increasing your ISO, you allow one more stop of light into the camera. Therefore, you can reduce the flash power and still get the look you wanted. 

5. Bounce The Light

Pointing the flash directly towards your subject should be avoided if you are shooting indoors. Coz it may give you flat lighting that may just look jarring. It’s best to bounce the flash against another surface like a white colored wall, ceiling, or a reflective card on your flash – to create a bigger light source and soften the light that will hit your subject.

6. Diffuse The Light

Just like bouncing, diffusion enlarges the size of the flash area to create softer, more even light. The bigger the size of the diffuser, the softer will be your light and it will spread more evenly. So this diffuser can work for macro or small products, but this one will work better for bigger subjects like portraits.

7. Use Coloured Flash Gels

Flash Gels can be attached to your flash to add a coloured tint to the light that it emits. Aside from producing creative effects, it is also commonly used to match the colour of the flash with the ambient light. Meaning if my room has orange colour lights and my flash obviously will give out white light, the two colour lights may mix and the scene may look unnatural, so it is better to use a colour gel and change its colour to orange. You can make colour gels at home using some plastic and sketch pens.

8. Off Camera Flash

Using the external flash on your camera can be limiting as you can only have the light coming straight at your subject or bouncing from a surface nearby. Using a trigger for your flash will allow you to control the flash remotely. So you can position the flash wherever you want and experiment with different lighting patterns and use various

9. Multiple Flashes

When you have multiple flashes, set your flashes one at a time. It’s easy this way to see what each flash adds/detracts from the image and adjust accordingly.  When you set all your flashes at once and start shooting it can be really difficult to isolate any problems that pop up.

10. Practice

I know I told you to use TTL flash when you are confused or in a hurry. But when you are practicing, use the manual mode. So even if you then go on to shoot in auto mode, you will have the knowledge to still get the shot when the camera plays up. Also, it is better to practice with inanimate objects like toys or products first. You may ask your friends or family members for help, but they must be patient with you. Or else like me, you can try self-portraits.

The most important tip of all for better flash photography?  Experiment and learn how everything works together. What really worked for me was to read and reread the flash manual. It really helps guys!

I hope you liked my blog. Do let me know your suggestions and thoughts in the comments section. Thank you!

Also Read – Leading Lines in Photography


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