metering for flash photography

controlling bright sunlight with direct off-camera flash – (model: Molly K)

Working with Molly K as our model during an individual flash photography workshop in New York, we put in action the thought-process when using flash in very bright light. There’s a specific algorithm that gets us to optimal settings.

But, as usual, there’s more to a final image than just the numerical settings on the camera …

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metering for off-camera flash? – start with the ambient light!

In the tutorial on balancing flash with ambient light, various scenarios are listed in where we start with our camera settings. My advice is that we invariably have to start with the ambient light. That will anchor our decision to an extent, and will determine how the final image looks.

This photo is from a photography workshop I presented in Birmingham, UK in 2009. In the afternoon session we used softboxes with manual flash to photograph the two models. And yes, the models did indeed stop the pedestrian traffic.

Camera settings: 1/200th @ f4 @ 200 ISO

Camera settings were determined by how bright we wanted the background. Without flash, the models were completely under-exposed as you can see in this next photo without flash. This made it easy to light them with the softboxes to give proper exposure.

Learn more inside…