Flash photography tutorial: balancing flash and ambient exposure

flash photography tutorial: balancing flash and ambient exposure

Flash photography tutorial: balancing flash and ambient exposure

This topic - balancing flash and ambient exposure - seems to one that many newer photographers struggle with. The big hurdle seems to be the basic starting point - how do you decide on the exposure for each? I'd like to explore this topic a bit with this post. The trigger for this was a question that  Read more inside...

Tutorial: Bounce flash photography

bounce flash photography

An photo of a jazz trumpet player during a session in a club, lit by on-camera bounce flash. Since it's a perfect example of how I use on-camera bounce flash so that it looks nothing like on-camera flash, I'd like to use it to illustrate this summary of on-camera bounce flash technique: The light in this image is nearly all from my flash.  Read more inside...

tutorial: how to use the guide number of your flash

using the guide number of your flash to determine flash exposure

GN  =  distance  *  f-stop Your flash's Guide Number (GN) is determined at 100 ISO, when it gives correct exposure at a certain distance, multiplied by the f-stop The idea that we can figure out the manual flash exposure by the combination of distance and aperture (for a given ISO setting), was  Read more inside...

flash & ambient light – reverse engineering an image (2)

off camera flash for portraits of the bridal couple

My friend, Josh Lynn, just posted this spectacular wedding photograph.  It does look like he used flash there, so I thought this would make a another good example to see if we can 'reverse engineer' a photograph in terms of his settings and setup. I first had a guess at how he set this up; and then had a look at  Read more inside...

using a neutral density (ND) filter with flash

using neutral density (ND) filters with flash to control depth of field

Working in bright light, the limitation of having a maximum flash sync speed forces a small aperture on us.  That small aperture means more depth of field than we might like. There are two ways to force a high shutter speed / wide aperture combination: - go to high speed sync (HSS) mode. -  Read more inside...

first curtain sync vs rear curtain sync

first curtain vs rear (2nd) curtain flash sync

A topic that has been briefly discussed on the Tangents blog before, is that of first curtain flash sync vs second curtain flash sync.  First curtain sync is also often called front curtain sync; and rear curtain sync is often called second curtain sync. (This is also covered in my book on flash photography). Since it  Read more inside...

background exposure and flash

flash photography - background exposure and flash

When I saw this dramatic sky with the approaching storm during our recent shoot at Coney Island, I knew I wanted to photograph our model against it.  By the time I actually started taking photos, the raindrops were already spattering around us. So there was little time to work. I knew I wanted a brooding sky.  Now,  Read more inside...

tutorial: balancing flash with ambient exposure

tutorial: balancing flash with available light / ambient exposure

Many of the questions I get on the Tangents blog relate to balancing flash with available light, and I want to pull it all together into a single article. The questions often revolve around metering for the ambient light, and how to balance flash with the ambient light. Tied in with this, is how to  Read more inside...

flash & low ambient light – adapting during an outdoor wedding ceremony

wedding photography: flash and low ambient light - adapting during the shoot

I'm often asked what I would do when I encounter a situation where you need to use flash, but there is no easy way to bounce flash.  My flippant answer is ... you're screwed! Well, not really. My advice is that you have to improvise and in some way of finesse your use of light.  In tough  Read more inside...

combining flash and ambient light

combining flash and ambient light

Going by the emails that I receive, one of the areas that many photographers struggle with is that of combining ambient exposure and flash exposure.  This question  is also expressed in other ways.  It can be a frustrated, "where do we even start?"  I also often see it expressed as an involved step-by-step deconstruction of technique,  Read more inside...