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Harsh, unflattering lighting can ruin a photo—and with flash, it's easy to get harsh, unflattering lighting. But flash is a necessary part of a photographer's toolset—after all, the world doesn't always provide you with the best natural light.
Fortunately, it isn't difficult to get great results from flash, and in this course, photographer, author, and teacher Ben Long details the concepts and techniques behind effective lighting with flash. Ben starts with fundamentals that build on exposure principles taught in other installments of Foundations of Photography—simple techniques that improve the results from a camera's built-in flash. He then focuses on fill flash techniques and on using flash as a key light. The course also explores topics ranging from bouncing and syncing flash to shooting with one or more off-camera flash units.
As you should already know, priority modes on your camera give you the option to control either shutter speed or aperture. In shutter priority mode, you can select the shutter speed you want, and the camera will automatically choose the corresponding aperture that yields a good exposure. Aperture priority does the opposite. Choose an aperture and it'll calculate a shutter speed for you. These modes still do this when you're shooting with a flash but there are some caveats to be aware of. First of all, in a shutter priority mode, your shutter speed range will be limited by the flash sync of the camera.
If your camera has a flashing speed of say one two hundredth of a second, then you won't be able to choose a shutter speed faster than that speed in shutter priority mode. It simply won't be an option. Normally of course, you use shutter speed to gain motion stopping power. However with a flash picture, the flash itself, will do a pretty good job of freezing motion, as long as that motion isn't too fast. So when you're shooting with a flash, your shutter speed choice is mostly about brightness of the ambient light in your scene. If you choose a shutter speed and the camera's meter decides that it cannot open or close the aperture enough to get a good ambient exposure, then it will indicate that in your viewfinder.
This is the exact same behavior that it has when you are shooting without a flash, for example, in a Canon Camera it will flash the aperture number in the view finder. Nikon cameras use the exposure compensation display in the view finder to show precisely how much over or under exposure you will be facing. Aperture priority mode gives you control of aperture, which means you have control of depth of field in your image but of course, for the flash, aperture control is also one of the ways that you can control the flash brightness in your scene. Note that aperture changes also affect the flash range, a smaller aperture means that your flash effectively has a shorter range.
If you pick an aperture and the camera decides that it can't choose a shutter speed that will allow a good ambient exposure, it'll indicate that exposure problem in the same way that it does when you're shooting without a flash. Again, Cannon cameras will flash, the number. Nikon flashes will show the exposure compensation display. Now if you're hoping to shoot extremely shallow depth of field with your flash then things get a little complicated. If you open the aperture very wide to get shallow depth of field then your camera will need to increase the shutter speed but remember. When you're shooting with a flash, your shutter speed can only go up so far, so it may not be possible to get a fast enough shutter speed to shoot with the wide aperture that you want if there's a bunch of light in your scene.
Fortunately, your flash may have a work around for this, and we'll see that later. We will be exploring these modes a lot during the rest of this course, so you'll be able to see how they work in the real world, and how I manipulate them to get better results.
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