Basic Flash Knowledge

Control Brightnes Control Brightnes

Exposure compensation and flash intensity

There are two ways to control brightness when shooting with flash: You can adjust either exposure compensation or flash intensity. Adjusting exposure compensation changes brightness over the entire photo, with the subject and background equally affected by any adjustments you make. On the other hand, adjusting flash intensity only affects subjects located within range of the flash, leaving background brightness out of flash range unchanged.

Auto flash shooting

Both subject and background become brighter.
Flash intensity does not change.

Background brightness remains the same as when shooting using the Auto setting.
Only subjects within range of the flash become brighter.

Backgound Blur Backgound Blur

Shooting mode and aperture setting

To create and control background blur, set the mode dial to Av (aperture mode). Then use the main dial to select smaller numbered settings (called f-numbers) to blur the background. To extend focus and decrease background blur, select one of the larger f-numbers.

Eliminationg Shadows Eliminationg Shadows

Normal flash sync and high-speed sync

When photographing a strongly backlit subject or when the subject is in the shade and you want to avoid background whiteout, use normal flash sync for fill-flash. This uses light from the flash to brighten shadows, effectively balancing subject and background brightness. Since most external flash units produce fairly strong light, they can reach distant subjects and allow use of large f-numbers. However, this is sometimes not desirable, such as when you want to blur the background. In this case, high-speed sync makes an excellent choice. This allows you to use smaller f-numbers to create backgrounds with more blur than normal flash sync, effectively separating the subject from the background.

Normal flash sync is easy and convenient. However, it cannot be used with fast shutter speeds, making it difficult to employ small f-numbers and thus create background blur.

High-speed sync allows you to shoot with the smallest f-numbers available in Av mode, giving you the ability to maximize background blur.

Changing the Overall Colors Changing the Overall Colors

White balance

The overall color of a photo can change depending on the light source. White balance control lets you compensate for this, giving you the ability to adjust for color variances caused by different light sources. When using auto white balance (AWB), white balance is automatically set for natural color. However, you can adjust this setting to create special moods in your photos.

Note: Photos shot under daylight.

Note: Photos shot under daylight.

Note: Photos shot under daylight.

Note: Photos shot under daylight.

Keys to Better Flash Photography

Flash pointed directly at a subject produces harsh, unnatural light. An external flash unit, however, gives you the freedom to point the flash at walls or ceilings to reflect (or “bounce”) light from the flash. This produces soft lighting and reduces hard shadows, resulting in more natural-looking photographs. This is a simple technique you can use to create fantastic photos!
Note: The color of ceilings or walls may affect the overall color of your photos.

When there is no ceiling or wall handy to use, you can still produce soft lighting with an external flash. Simply place a piece of white translucent paper (like tracing paper or a paper towel) between the flash and subject. This is a simple technique you can also use when flash bounced off colored walls or ceilings causes undesirable tints in photos.