April Assignment: Flash Techniques

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Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3395
April Assignment: Flash Techniques

More than a few of us struggle when trying to use flash photography - be they the on-camera variety, some kind of speed light, or even off camera studio lighting.

Most people use their flash in 2 ways, indoor, low light or as a fill flash, but there are really so many ways in which you can use your flash. The idea of this exercise to push us all to learn some of the many creative ways to use their flash.

Take the time this month to read through your camera/flash manual and truly explore some of the many flash modes available to you.

Experiment with dragging your shutter. Play around with using your flash for fill light in back lit or full sun situations. Maybe explore what slow sync shutter is, try doing some rear curtain flash shots. Try setting the camera to a really long shutter, and manually fire the flash with the test button into the scene to see what you get. Learn how to ad motion blur with a longish shutter and rear curtain sync. Test out lowering the flash power to record "ghostly" images. Set your flash to repeat fire and get some stroboscopic effects.

This can be as simple or complex an exercise as you want to make it, but let's use April to better learn how to use our flash!

Here are some sites to help get you started (in case you feel as lost as I do on this topic):

Fill Flash

Slow Sync Flash

Rear curtain Flash

It doesn't matter if you are working w/ a p&s or a dSLR; an on-board flash, a speed light, or even studio strobes - the are just so many creative ways to use flash with our cameras. let's hope this month finds us discovering new ways to use these often maligned tools of the trade.

Remember, this particular thread is about learning and trying new things. There is no judging or voting. Post as much as you want. Try out as many different techniques as possible. And share your results here - where we will all be trying to learn and grow.

Best,
GiGi

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2334

I tried this shot in natural light without flash and liked it much better, but thought I'd share that I tried the slow synchro on this and it is kind of cool how it worked. I don't think you can see it terribly well at this size, but there is definitely a blur of the pouring water, overlaid by a very sharply defined stream of water. It's not the best shot to try it on, but it at least got me trying the slow synchro, as I've never used that option before. I'll have to try some better shots with it. Anyway, thanks for the flash challenge as I'm learning things about my camera that I haven't used before at all!

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3395

AWESOME TRACY! That is the the point of these monthly exercises - to make us stretch and learn and grow as photo enthusiasts. Biggrin

TFS!
GiGi

Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378

Great one Tracy! I am definitely going to try to get some of these shots this weekend. That reminds me what ever happened with the Learning Exposure lessons we were going to all do here?

EL2
EL2's picture
Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 1665

"Amy_&_Eva" wrote:

That reminds me what ever happened with the Learning Exposure lessons we were going to all do here?

I posted the lesson, but it seems like I didn't get feedback from anyone, so I didn't post any other lessons. Figured that everyone might be too busy.

Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378

I'll check it out El....thanks. If I can I'll get to it this weekend & post.

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2334

El, I think I saw that first assignment right when I first started posting here, and I was a bit overwhelmed and so didn't do it. But I would do assignments now, for sure. I'll have to try to find that thread.

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2334

Kind of like this slow synchro attempt too -- my DS trying to escape tickles from his dad and sister:

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2334

Nobody else is posting here, but two more from me and then I probably am going to stop the flash practice for a bit unless I get some brilliant idea of something I want to try. Today I just did a couple of shots of my son's Chuck toy with rear-curtain flash. Worked out nicely.

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3395

Tracy ... this is SO COOL! I have tried some rear curtain shots, but mine aren't sharp at the end image so all I get is a lot of blur. Going to try to tweak it a bit and then I'll come and share some.

Thanks for playing!

GiGi

Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378

I really want to get some shots to post here, but I have not had a chance yet Sad I will sure try though!

Joined: 07/30/06
Posts: 835

I just posted this but it didn't work. Attempt #2.

I tried fill flash using my onboard flash. All shots are SOOC other than watermark.

Attempt 1: Clear day, sun behind and to left of shot.
All shot at FL: 85mm
F. 8.0
SS: 1/200
ISO: 400

1. Flash Off

IMG_3425wm by Gem_D, on Flickr

2. Flash on, 0 flash exposure compensation

IMG_3426wm by Gem_D, on Flickr

3. Flash on, -2 flash exposure sompenation

IMG_3428wm by Gem_D, on Flickr

Attempt 2:

Backlit subject - sun behind and above. Changed settings on this one between shots as could not shoot wide open with flash on. Need to go back and repeat at same settings.

Shot 1: Flash off.
FL 17mm. F5.6. SS: 1/400 ISO 100

IMG_3447wm by Gem_D, on Flickr

Shot 2: Flash on.-2 EV
FL. 17mm. F.22.0 SS 1/250. ISO 400

IMG_3450wm by Gem_D, on Flickr

I learnt that I could reduce shadows on my subject using fill flash. I also learnt I could adjust the flash strength to reduce the effect of the flash on skin tone and colour. I can also use fill flash to draw attention to a subject.

CJWilkes's picture
Joined: 01/04/09
Posts: 880

I really suck at product but DH has me do his product photography for him. I used flash for these:

http://www.wilkersonart.com/copperpendants.html

I have to learn product and metals much better. People - no problem but not too great on the products.

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3395

great work everyone! please continue to add to this thread if you get the chance to try out any flash techniques - I know I have some to add, I've just been too busy as of late.

Best,
GiGi

Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378
fill flash

I have some that I think qualify as fill-flash that reminded me of this older thread. Sorry I am late posting anything here but since you said we still could, here they are Smile

My hummingbird feeder (and the clothesline shown here) hangs from the edge of my back porch, so the lighting situation is VERY tricky and I had to shoot tons of frames to get my settings right.

I shot in aperture priority, setting it fast enough to "freeze" the super-fast birds and have everything in focus; and even though it was daytime, the feeder hangs under the porch roof edge so the birds were in shadow---so I added some flash while still remaining in manual, in order to pick up the colors of their feathers. Shot at 183mm and 248mm respectively.

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3395

AWESOME JOB!!!!

TFS! And I hope others will continue to add to this (or any of the other assignment threads) if they get a chance to try it out!

Best,
GiGi