How to learn on/off Camera flash usage

Started 10 months ago | Discussions thread
kli Senior Member • Posts: 2,819
Re: How to learn on/off Camera flash usage

Lord_Gnomish wrote:

I’m a newbie in photography. I’m trying to learn everything from scratch.

I have an upcoming wedding of a close friend. I will try to take photos during wedding. I believe I will be in need of flash. But don’t know to use it. I purchased hvl-f45rm. Do you have suggestions how learn using it?

I tend to say Step 0 is learning ambient-only exposure. Be comfortable shooting in M mode, and swapping stops among iso, aperture, and shutter speed settings before learning flash. Flash exposure has you juggling a lot more factors, and it's always easier to learn how to juggle five balls (iso, aperture, shutter speed, flash power, flash-to-subject distance) while riding a unicycle (balancing flash against ambient) if you already know how to juggle three while standing.

For event photography (on-camera) skillz, I'd recommend going to Neil van Niekerk's Tangents website, and work your way through the Flash Photography Techniques section (or the book version of the same).

Once you've learned the basics of TTL, bouncing, flash metering/exposure, and direction and quality of light with a single on-camera flash, then it's time to learn about using a single off-camera flash, Strobist style. And only after you have thoroughly mastered using one off-camera light with one modifier, should you consider getting additional modifiers and/or lights, because the complexity will increase with every light you add, in terms of trigger debugging and ratios.

Also, if you are just a guest with a camera, I would highly recommend that you check you are not blocking them and that your flash won't interfere with whatever the official wedding photographer is doing. Don't be an "Uncle Bob." Having a fast prime in the bag wouldn't hurt, either.

If you are the one who is assigned as the official photographer, I say rethink what you're doing, and whether or not your close friendship can take it if it turns out you can't deliver any great photos of the special day. Or start practicing, studying, researching, and preparing like MAD. A wedding really isn't the time or place to be learning how to use a flash/your camera. It's definitely not something for a newb to tackle as a solo first shooter. I tend to recommend the following three links, but I'm only a hobbyist and wouldn't try to shoot a wedding if anybody begged me.

Just to get a sense of what's involved in preparing to be a wedding shooter. YMMV.

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