Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Working with a speedlight flash

From: Up and Running with Lighting: Studio Lights and Flash

Video: Working with a speedlight flash

That little pop-up flash on your camera can provide some extra light in a pinch. But it's often not a good light to use for anything other than a snapshot. So if you'd like to take your images to the next level and create something that looks more professional, you'll need to use an external flash, also known as a speedlight. Now most modern flash units attach to your camera via hot shoe, just like that. And it uses a mode called TTL or Through The Lens technology.

Working with a speedlight flash

That little pop-up flash on your camera can provide some extra light in a pinch. But it's often not a good light to use for anything other than a snapshot. So if you'd like to take your images to the next level and create something that looks more professional, you'll need to use an external flash, also known as a speedlight. Now most modern flash units attach to your camera via hot shoe, just like that. And it uses a mode called TTL or Through The Lens technology.

Now TTL tells the camera and the flash to work together to determine how much light the flash should emit in order to properly expose your subject. Now if you're new to the world of flash photography, you might set your camera's exposure to automatic or program mode and then begin taking pictures. And this is where most people start. The problem is, sometimes you don't have control over how the images turn out because the camera and the flash are making all the exposure choices for you, and your images might look flat, flashed out and harsh, or just plain boring.

But don't worry. Even with the flash located in the most basic position, on top of the camera, with an auto-exposure setting on your camera, you can still create an interesting, beautifully lit photograph with these techniques. So I'm going to show you a few right now. And I'll be doing this with my model here. Mike, hey Mike. >> Hey. >> Thanks for helping us out today. >> No problem. >> So I'll be taking a few different pictures of you and we’re going to be making some comparisons. So, I'll just have you looking straight ahead, always kind of a similar expression for all these pictures.

So, I’m going to start off by everything's in automatic, and I’m going to be taking a picture of Mike just with the bare flash. Make sure everything's on here. And, focus on Mike. And, okay, you're looking good, but wow, this flash shot is looking pretty flashed out. And I've also got a, a shadow behind him. So what I think I'll do is, try something to diffuse that light a little bit. So I'm swiveli-, swiveling up the flash head here. And inside, most flash heads, you’ll find a little white card, you can just kind of pull out, like so.

And what this does is the light from the flash bounces off this white card into his face and softens it a little bit. So, let’s try taking another shot, this way. (NOISE) Let's see how this looks. Mm, a little bit better, it's softer. But I'm going to show you another way to soften the light. And just like what we did in the constant light series we're going to diffuse it. So we have a couple options. One, you might try using one of these white plastic attachments you can put on top of your speedlight to soften the light, or if you'd like to get a little more elaborate, you can try little mini soft box.

And these are pretty easy to use. And you can just attach it to your flash. It fits on pretty much any flash you might have, like so. And what this does is it diffuses the light coming from the flash and softens the light falling upon Mike. So I'm going to take another shot this way. With this diffusion box. (SOUND) Okay. It's looking pretty good. Now, it's looking not quite as bright. Because well I've got a diffusion panel here. And it's kind of knocking down the light a little bit.

So I can try getting in just a little bit closer. Take another shot. Looks pretty good. Okay. So this is one way that you can soften and diffuse the light. Let's say maybe you don't have any diffusion attachments. And maybe you just want to do some experimenting with other things that you can soften the light with. One of them might be say a big white wall, like this. what we're going to do is take the flash head and swivel it around. So now the light from the flash is pointing at this white wall.

And I have it kind of at an angle. It's kind of like playing pool. You hit the wall with the light. And now it's going to bounce back on Mike. And it's a much broader space, much broader light source, it will be softer bouncing back on Mike. So we'll take another shot this way. Point my flash over towards the, the white wall. Looking good. Now that looks really nice. Not only now is the light softer on Mike, but I also have a little directional light coming at him. Because it's coming, bouncing off of this and coming at him from the side.

So it's really nice, and soft, and directional. That looks pretty good. Now let's say you can't find a white wall anywhere. Another way to bounce the light would be to swivel your flash head up like that and point it at say a white ceiling. You want to make sure it's something white or close to being white. Because if you bounce it off a green wall, or a blue wall, or a red wall or ceiling, people are going to have that color cast on them. But, it's a great way to soften and diffuse the light. Thanks, Mike, you did a great job. >> Thank you.

>> Okay. Photographing with a speedlight doesn't have to be an intimidating experience. Just try these techniques and experiment. You don't have to learn everything at once.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Up and Running with Lighting: Studio Lights and Flash
 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Up and Running with Lighting: Studio Lights and Flash.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.