Shooting flash photography can be tricky. It’s not just about pointing the light at your subject and going “Pew pew!”
To get the best shots possible, it takes knowing what settings to use and how to manage them. But don’t worry, we’ve put together a list of our favorite tips for getting great photos with flash.
Tips For Better Flash Photography
Don’t get too close [to a subject]
The best way to get good flash photographs is to stay at least 3 feet away from your subject. The distance gives both you and the camera enough time to bring up the ISO speed to increase shutter speeds for more success with the flash.
Turn the Flash Off Before [making adjustments]
When you are making changes to your camera’s settings, make sure you turn off your flash first. If you accidentally fire your flash while making adjustments, it can cause major problems.
Use a Tripod [to stabilize your shots]
Using a tripod will help separate subjects from the background without having to overexpose them in order to pull them out from the background. Stabilizing yourself and equipment will also give better results when shooting in low light conditions.
Be Aware of the Flash Angle [for interesting shots]
When using flash for photography, consider the lens angel you have over your subject. This is especially important when working with multiple subjects or in close quarters. Getting great flash photography requires you to experiment with different angles and heights to see how they affect light quality and how it falls on your subjects.
Shoot in Manual Mode
Manual mode allows you to manually adjust shutter speed and ISO setting with the help of your camera’s menu system. This will allow you to experiment with different camera settings to get the most out of your flash photography.
Shoot Video [for interesting effects]
You can create interesting effects using flash photography by shooting video. For example, try panning the camera while shooting with flash to create a unique light streaking effect in the background behind your subject. Try using slow shutter speeds for interesting light blurs, and experiment with different angles of light by moving the camera up or down to find your best composition.
Use a Flash Diffuser
A flash diffuser will soften harsh lighting and make it appear more natural. A flash diffuser will also help reduce red eye in flash photos.
Use a Light Reflector
A light reflector will help bounce light into dark areas on your subject’s face that don’t get enough light from the flash. Light reflectors make it easier to see details in your photos without having to adjust the exposure of the camera.
Use a Flash Trigger
A flash trigger is handy for remote flashes and is good for long exposures and when you don’t want to set off your flash manually.
When should Flash be used in photography?
Flash can add a lot of punch to your photography by adding depth and drama to your subject. Flash photography often makes it difficult to get sharp focus, so it’s best used when there are a number of subjects in the shot.
When you need high-key or low-key lighting, flash is the way to go because of its ability to produce more light with less exposure time than other lighting methods.
Flash can also create very dramatic effects, such as light streaks or shadows, when combined with a slow shutter speed while shooting video.
How to use Flash to create Depth in Photography?
Shooting with flash can be tricky. The reason for this is because your camera will want to expose the whole photo the same, thus losing out on the depth you have in your foreground and background. To get around this, try adjusting your settings and using different flash power and angles to find the best depth that works for you.
Do you need flash for outdoor photography?
You don’t need one but flash photography can be great when taking photos of outdoors. Outdoor photography is best done with a tripod, and also by using long shutter speeds to avoid blurring, especially on moving water.
How To Set up a Tripod for Flash Photography?
Tripods allow you to take sharper photos in low light situations, by holding the camera more stable. Tripods are also very helpful when taking long exposure shots. Use a light tripod, as they are easier to carry and you won’t be as frustrated when setting it up. Consider the height of your tripod – do you need it for macro photography? Try getting a tripod with adjustable legs so you can better customize it for your needs.
When Should I Use a Speedlight Flash?
Speedlight flash is great for low light, studio photography and can be used in macro, landscape, product and portrait photography . Using a speedlight means you won’t have to try as hard with the manual settings of your camera to get the right exposure – simply set the power and it will adjust everything automatically!
Flash Photography Techniques
Setting up your flash
When using the flash in photography, there are a few important settings you need to get right, such as the angle and power of your light. Angle of the flash is especially important when shooting photos in low light so that it reaches your subject from above but doesn’t make your subject look squinty if they’re looking straight into the camera.
Bounce flash is used to better direct light on your subject instead of letting your camera trigger it directly. It is especially useful when shooting in low light and when you don’t want to use the flash as the main source of lighting. To bounce your flash, you can use a portable bounce board, a DIY bounce card or even just a piece of card or white paper that you hold in front of your flash while shooting to direct the angle of your flash.
Using Flash with a Reflector
Using a reflector placed opposite your subject will cause the light from your flash to bounce off of it onto your subject, thus creating the look of natural light. The reflector must be positioned at a 45 degree angle that is opposite the light source. You can use any type of white wall as a reflector, but professional photographers use a white or silver piece of diffusion material (which acts like a screen) to ensure that their flash is reflected evenly.
Using Flash with a Softbox Photograph
Now that you’ve learned how to bounce light from your flash, take it a step further and make your flash softer and more diffused. A soft box is basically a white box that reflects the light from your flash so that it creates a softer, more diffused look. There are many different kinds of soft boxes (square, octagonal etc.), but they all do the same thing – create soft, natural light on your subjects.
For those of you who want to soften an already diffused light, use a flash diffuser. Flash diffusers come in many different forms and colors, but they all basically serve the same purpose – to soften an already diffused light source. They can be very easy to build with household items or you can buy them for relatively cheap.
If you are looking for an even softer light, try a flash bounce card. These cards are cheap and easy to make, but create a really soft light. Simply place one on grey paper and use a light to shine through it. The less the flash is diffused, the more it bounces off of it – thus creating the look of natural sunlight.
There are a variety of light modifiers that you can purchase to better control the look of your flash. These modifiers come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all perform the same function. They wrap around your flash to create all sorts of different looks. For example, a snoot will provide a single beam of light instead of an omni-directional light. Thus, controlling the light better.
Shooting flash photography can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. The tips we’ve provided for using flash below will help you get the best shots possible. Once you get a feel for what works and what doesn’t, you will find that flash photography is much easier than you thought it would be.
If you have any questions, leave a comment and we will answer them!