The Art of the Manual Flash

Started Jun 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
hirejn Regular Member • Posts: 433
Re: The Art of the Manual Flash

NYCphotoman wrote:

Shot a gig last night with Auto and TTL mode and it didnt quite work the way I expected it. Usually these modes work great for me, but this was a large dining room with high ceilings and it fooled the sensor. I didnt have time to fool with the flash.

So Im going to start getting back to manual flash photography. This is where you set the flash or flashes to one specific power and control the exposure with the camera settings (ISO, shutter speed, aperture). You monitor the exposure with the LCD screen and on Canons they have this highlight detection.

What are the techniques you use for manual flash and event photography?

If you understand how TTL works, you can use it to get great pictures. See my article here.

Flash is best off-camera firstly. Secondly, with it off-camera, you can keep it the same distance from the subject no matter where you are and thus one setting will properly expose the subject at the set distance every time. If the light or the subject moves, use aperture to compensate.

Do an experiment to find out how much light your flash puts out at a given ISO and aperture at a given distance. Use a light meter. Record the results and use this as a starting point for manual flash on location.

Use shutter speed or ISO to control ambient light. With TTL, any variable can control the ambient light in manual mode, while TTL puts the same light on the subject. I don't shoot a lot indoors except wedding receptions. I lock in an ambient exposure in manual and let TTL fill in the rest. I've tried manual flash and usually it's too difficult to plan distances and people are always moving, so I use TTL.

The problem with program mode is the camera makes too many decisions and it's not always easy to adjust. I never use it. At most I use aperture priority, but I try to go manual when possible.

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Joel Nisleit Photography
A camera or lens can't take good or bad photos any more than a brush and canvas can paint themselves a masterpiece.

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