Using Flash B bracket with flash and umbrella
Planning for a photoshoot!

Flash photography tips and tricks- how to use

by Kunal Malhotra
Kunal Malhotra
 on July 16, 2015
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Flash Photography is an art in itself, once you master it, this will be one of the best addition to your photography skills. Never consider using a flash as a back-up during low light conditions, if used effectively, you can produce excellent photos in daylight as well.

A flash can be used to overcome the shadows while clicking portraits or to achieve professional lighting by using it as a key light. You will realize its importance when you start using a flash yourself, practice makes a man perfect.

In this blog, you will learn everything you need to know about flash photography, so you can create beautifully lit and well-crafted images in any shooting situation.


Using flash as a fill-in light source

The first question you would have in your mind would be: How to set my camera setting while using a flash?

Well, you need not make any changes to your camera setting while using a flash. Simply set the camera exposure taking the background as the reading point, forget about the model/subject at this moment. After setting your camera exposure, light the model using the intensity of your flash as the fill-in light source.


Using Flash as a bounce light source

Have you seen portraits with hard shadows? Finding it hard to overcome the problem of hard light falling on your subject? Well, the cure to hard shadows is diffusion of light, which means you need to bounce the light from another surface to diffuse the light and make it soft in nature. Bouncing the light also helps you to eliminate the red-eye effect in your photos.

If your speedlight is capable, and you are shooting indoors, try simply aiming the flash at the ceiling and you will be amazed with the smoothness of the light.

By bouncing the light away from the subject, you are almost doubling the distance that the light travels. This may cause the camera to underexpose slightly. If it does you can either increase the exposure compensation of your flash by 1 or 2 stops to increase the power output, or do the same with the camera’s exposure compensation to let in more light.



Using flash off-camera

Just because the flash is made in a way that it fits on the hotshoe of your camera, it does not mean you would be breaking any of the rule of photography by using it off-camera. Also, exposing your subject using the light source from the top of your camera will only make it look too flat and boring, and will give the same result as your built-in camera flash.

The real difference with flash comes when we make the light more directional by firing it from an off-camera position.

This way, the flash produces an attractive mix of shadows and highlights, adding depth to the scene. What’s more, it gives us the freedom to light our subjects from any direction we choose.


Let’s learn how to shoot using a flash in 3 easy steps:

Step 1: Exposing the frame

Get started by setting your camera to Manual mode to get full command over the lighting (Always remember not to exceed your camera’s shutter speed over the maximum flash sync speed). Then, find the background as per your need, forget about the model/subject as of now and set the exposure of your camera accordingly.

After exposing your camera correctly, reduce the exposure on your camera by almost a stop, either by increasing the shutter speed or by narrowing the aperture to create a dramatic photo.

Step 2: Lighting up the subject

Once the camera has been set as per the steps mentioned above, set your flash on a stand by giving direction to the light. To soften the light, place a diffuser or an umbrella. Set the flashgun to Manual and take a couple of test shots while adjusting the flash power until the subject is correctly illuminated.

Step 3: Bringing in the second flash
Backlighting the model adds a glamorous effect to outdoor portraits. Use a second speedlight, positioned behind the subject in such a way that it illuminates the hair properly and evenly. This kind of light is usually used to make the model stand-out from the background and give a professional look to the photo.

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