The use ofFlash inPhotographyBy Chris TimothyImage by Patrick Hoelck
The use ofFlash inPhotography1. Introduction – Purpose and considerations2. On Camera Bounce Flash3. Strobist Flash4. Video Lighting
Introduction- PurposeUsing Flash is key to controlling and manipulating lightwhen available light is not the appropriate for the shotyou hope to capture. Flash gets given a bad name byphotographers using inbuilt factory camera ﬂash. Youhave no control over the direction of the that type ofﬂash. It can only come from one angle and height andusually hits the subject square on. The visual effect looksﬂat and lacks dimension and interaction betweenhighlights and shadows. As photographers we’re alwayslooking for perfect light and yet, the quality of availablelight isn’t always ideal. But if you use ﬂash wisely, youare able to enhance or over-ride the available light in alocation you wish to shoot in. With careful andconsidered use of ﬂash, you are more in control of light,and hence the way your photos will look – than if youjust accept the ambient light. the existing ambient light.
Introduction- PurposeHaving the ﬂash come from a differentdirection to that of the camera addsreal depth and interaction of highlightsand lows lights thus a nicer contrast.Flash can delete an unwanted lightenvironment and add mood, emotionand connotations to your work.Here Patrick Hoelck’s Flash has addeda nice gradient between the highlightsand the shadows and also a naturalvignette on the background. In additionto this it also acts as a key light to thesecondary light, the window. It solvesthe problem of silhouetting. Flash caninteract with as well as concur naturallight.
Introduction – Considerations –Camera Tech/SettingsTo use Flash to its potential you have to consider your camera settings to ensure youcorrectly expose. There is no speciﬁc equation to ensure you do this correctly. However youdo need to analyse the lighting situation that you are in and consider what effect the ﬂashwill have on it and ensure you leave room for it in your settings. For example deliberatelyunder exposing to leave room for the ﬂash to enter the shot. Without ﬂash With Flash 1/160 @ f3.2 @ 800 ISO 1/160 @ f3.2 @ 800 ISO with ﬂash
Considerations. Exposure.Using the Light Meter In digital SLR photography it’s important to understand what the light meter isand what it does before discussing how to use the camera’s built-in meter to setand manipulate exposure and in this case use it to helps allow for ﬂash.The built-in light meter found in your digital SLR camera measures the amountof light being reﬂected off objects through the lens and into the camera.This measurement is then used by the camera’s computer to determine what itbelieves to be the best exposure for the scene, with that exposure being theproper combination of shutter speed and aperture and ISO. Here is a DSLR in built, on screen light meter. It is measured in stops. The image of the light meter says your exposure settings are correct. A -1 = under exposed,+1 = over exposed.
Using the Histogram When we use Flash there is a danger we will wash out detail in anything which isalready bright/reﬂective. For example a white dress or the sky. The screen on DSLRcameras are relatively small and it is difﬁcult to check if a small areas has lost detail or isbleached out. You could use digital zoom on play mode to check. However this is timeconsuming. Another way to check is to use the histogram to analyse your exposureresults.
Using the Histogram A Histogram covers the Dynamic Range of color/tone from black to mid tones towhite. Dynamic range in photography describes the ratio between the maximum andminimum measurable light intensities.
Using the Histogram As long as the data in your graph ﬁnishes before the edge of the graph you are ok. Ifthe data falls off the graph you have either over or under exposed.
Using the Histogram Under or over exposed? So, when shooting with ﬂash always check you histogram graph to ensure your shot is not under or over exposed. If you don’t you will probably loose detail in the high lights or shadows.
The Catch LightTo learn how to use Flash it is always useful to analyse other peoples ﬂash work. There is areally helpful clue to analysing where they have positioned or bounced their ﬂash and it iscalled a Catch light. A catch light is a small white circle in the subjects eye which tells uswhere the ﬂash was positioned in the shot.
The Freeman – Light PortraitsDean Catch Celebrity
On camera bounce ﬂashOn camera bounce ﬂash is a way of controlling your light. It turns being “onlocation” into a studio. The techniques requires the photographer to ﬁre theﬂash at/on somewhere which reﬂects. You ﬁre the ﬂash where you would like astudio light positioned. Window Subject Camera/Flash Firing the ﬂash
Blocking Direct FlashIt is important when using this technique you block any ﬂash from hiDng your subject directly. You do this with various pieces of equipment but you could use a black piece of foam or even your hand. This technique allowed the photographer to bounce the ﬂash to his leJ creaKng soJer light than a direct ﬂash. The direcKon of the ﬂash is well composed as the subjects take on a higher saturaKon than that of the locaKon.
Here the Photographer has used the 70-‐200mm lens, a f2.8 wide open aperture and then simply has to wait for the right expression. He is posiKoned so that there are defocused highlights in the background to help create separaKon. The ﬂash is bounced oﬀ to the right into the large recepKon room. Result-‐ slight contrast, well lit shot.
Still life and T.T.Lcamera settings: 1/80 @ f4 @ 1600ISO; TTL bounce ﬂash. The Flash is shot to the left, reﬂectsback and makes a nice combination oftones, again nice interaction betweenthe highlights and shadows. All thesame is not aesthetically pleasing.What is TTL?TTL is a AUTO for ﬂash, it stands forthrough the lens. It looks through thelens and judges the light that is enteringthe camera and powers the ﬂash levelsaccordingly.
Considerations – White BalanceWhite Balance is a difﬁculty when using on camera bounce Flash. This differs from using aStrobist Flash. Your white balance really depends on if the ﬂash ﬁres at the subject directly,then you could set your shite balance to ﬂash, or if you bounce your ﬂash off a wall, texture,roof, it will bring some of the hue/colour tone from that service so your white balance mayneed to change to match it. The images below show the orange tones that reﬂect from the location. Shooting on RAWwill enable you to change the white balance after you have shot to correct, or you can morecomplexly cool the image in Photoshop or Lightroom to help gain the desired tones. Daylight white balance
Strobist FlashStrobist means off camera ﬂash. Thismethod of ﬂash photography allows youto position the ﬂash where you wouldlike it as it is totally free of your camera.A photographer usually uses a stand orassistant. Your ﬂash acts as your studiolight. In this technique you need to synca ﬂash gun/speed light with yourcamera. This then enables your ﬂash togo off at the exact moment your cameratakes a picture. There are someadvantages and disadvantages ofshooting Strobist rather than On camerabounce ﬂash. For example the light willbe much harsher in strobist because allthe ﬂash hits your subject. It is notdiffused like bounce ﬂash so therefore ishard more direct light rather than soft.This results in a high contrast image.
Strobist Flash using T.T.LTo conduct this technique expose your shot pre ﬂash, one stop under toallow for when the ﬂash enters the shot. The camera light meter will helpyou in this.1/200 @F/2.5 @ 200 ISO 1/200 @F/2.5 @ 200 ISO with TTL ﬂashPosition your subject and ﬂash to gain the desired shadows. Here a soft box is used to diffusethe light. The light is being held with a Monopod rather than a stand on this occasion. You can ﬁlter ﬂash to match the colour of the current light sources. Flash tends to be blue, cheap ﬂash lights have more green Knts.
Tutorial for Strobist Flashhttp://www.youtube.com/user/CamCrunch?feature=watch
Video LightHere you cansee a circularL.E.D video lighton the CanonFlash gun underthe ﬂash.
Video LightIn addition to using various speedlights and ﬂashguns. Video lighing is another techniquewhich can provide great effect. Using video light in a scenario where tungsten light is thedominant source of light, helps in achieving a more natural look. Video light is also acontinuous light source, making immediate changes to the lighting intuitive – what you seeis how it will appear. You need to judge each scenario to decide if to use On camerabounce ﬂash, Strobist or Video lighting. On camera bounce ﬂash Oﬀ camera Video Flash
Video LightVideo light allows for constant adjustment of the light. LED is usually day light colour. Its whiter than regular bulbs which tend to have the orange warm tungsten glow.
Our task; Shoot 3 portraits Using; 1. On Camera Bounce Flash 2. Strobist Flash 3. Video Lighting Your images should be perfectly exposed. Your cameras manual seDngs/tech, light meter, white balance and histogram should be consulted when shooKng. Your portraits can occur in an environment of your choice of whoever you wish. These techniques can be shot in day or night. To do this technique correctly your images should contain a smooth gradient and combinaKon and interacKon of highlights and shadows.