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To work effectively with a flash you must have a solid understanding of exposures, so we're going to review a couple of things here. Exposure of course is that combination of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings that yield a Given the level of brightness in your final image. What's more your exposure settings provide you with control of motion stopping in your image, as well as depth of field, and the amount of visual noise. The word exposure derives from the fact that when you press the shutter button on your camera The image sensor is exposed to light for a certain amount of time.
How long it is exposed to light is controlled by your shutter speed setting. Shutter speed is pretty intuitive. A longer shutter speed means that the image sensor is exposed to more light. The lens in your camera has an aperature which can be opened or closed. An aperture that is open wider Allows more light to hit the sensor during the time that the shutter is open in addition different apature settings effect the depth of field in your image. Finally ISO controls the effective sensitivity of the image sensor a higher ISO setting means that your sensor needs less exposure to capture an image of a given brightness.
Now while you can calculate all of these settings by hand, your camera saves you this trouble through the use of its light meter. The light meter measures the light in your scene and calculates shutter speed, aperture, and possibly ISO settings that will yield and image with a nice level of brightness. It does all of this by measuring all of the ambient light in your scene. Sometimes, though, there's not enough ambient light in your scene to get a good exposure without having to use a very long shutter speed.
Now if your subject is moving or you're shooting hand held, then a long shutter speed may not be practical. That's just one instance where a flash can be useful. However as you'll see later, flash is not only used in low light conditions. You'll often find the greatest value for flash In very bright. Now if you are not clear on any of the exposure topics that I have glossed over here. Then take a look at my foundations of photography, exposure course which works through all of these topics in great details. Again you really need to have that solid knowledge of exposure theory before you move into working seriously with a flash.
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