The Practicing Photographer
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Using high speed flash sync to dim ambient light


The Practicing Photographer

with Ben Long

Video: Using high speed flash sync to dim ambient light

Hi my name is Ben Long and this week on the practicing photographer. Flash all flash have a sync speed, if And now when I take the shot, okay, the background is darker, here's the shot before, and, boy one thing about this Canon Okay that could almost twilight or night I'm What if I wanted to go even darker.
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  1. 4m 42s
    1. Evaluating camera-strap options NEW
      4m 42s
  2. 1m 35s
    1. Introducing The Practicing Photographer
      1m 35s
  3. 9h 50m
    1. Choosing a camera
      5m 27s
    2. Looking at light as a subject
      2m 22s
    3. Using a small reflector to add fill light
      5m 45s
    4. Editing photo metadata with PhotosInfo Pro for iPad
      6m 30s
    5. Let your lens reshape you
      7m 26s
    6. Compositing street photography images with Photoshop
      7m 44s
    7. Expand your filter options with step-up and step-down rings
      3m 56s
    8. Shooting without a memory card
      3m 6s
    9. Give yourself a year-long assignment
      5m 28s
    10. Working with reflections
      1m 26s
    11. Exploring mirrorless cameras
      7m 25s
    12. Batch processing photos with the Adobe Image Processor
      7m 30s
    13. Limiting yourself to a fixed-focal-length lens
      2m 13s
    14. Creating tiny worlds: Shooting technique
      4m 15s
    15. Creating tiny worlds: Post-processing techniques
      11m 41s
    16. Shooting macro shots on an iPhone
      3m 18s
    17. Using a tripod
      3m 33s
    18. Wildlife and staying present
      5m 58s
    19. Batch exposure adjustments on raw files
      6m 52s
    20. Why Shoot Polaroid
      11m 12s
    21. Seizing an opportunity
      4m 4s
    22. Four photographers do a light-as-subject exercise
      12m 24s
    23. Shooting macro bug photos with a reversed lens
      4m 54s
    24. Varnishing a photo for a painterly effect
      13m 36s
    25. Shooting wildlife
      7m 24s
    26. Discussion on how to shoot architecture
      12m 27s
    27. Using a lens hood
      4m 48s
    28. Working with themes
      2m 48s
    29. Setting up an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    30. Processing an HDR time lapse
      7m 55s
    31. Two perspectives on travel photography
      12m 28s
    32. Scanning Photos
      5m 37s
    33. Photo assignment: shooting an egg
      3m 13s
    34. Reviewing the egg shot images
      6m 47s
    35. Shooting in your own backyard
      4m 38s
    36. Jpeg iPad import process
      3m 17s
    37. Shooting a product shot in open shade
      9m 34s
    38. Reviewing the product shot images
      4m 5s
    39. Warming up
      3m 26s
    40. Taking a panning action shot
      10m 17s
    41. Scanning polaroid negatives and processing in Photoshop
      8m 17s
    42. Shooting a silhouette
      3m 9s
    43. Going with an ultra-light gear configuration
      5m 29s
    44. Working with masks and calculations in Photoshop
      12m 38s
    45. Working with flash for macro photography
      4m 56s
    46. Colorizing a black and white photo in Photoshop
      5m 10s
    47. Using duct tape and zip ties in the field
      4m 14s
    48. When the on camera flash is casting a shadow
      3m 4s
    49. Using Lightroom on the road
      6m 28s
    50. Listening to your camera to get good exposure
      2m 20s
    51. Shooting a successful self portrait with a phone
      7m 18s
    52. Switching to Lightroom from another application
      9m 48s
    53. Photographing animals in wildlife refuges
      6m 41s
    54. Shooting level
      2m 42s
    55. Photoshop and Automator
      8m 54s
    56. Shooting when the light is flat
      3m 23s
    57. Discussing the business of stock photography
      9m 48s
    58. Shooting tethered to a monitor
      3m 21s
    59. Making a 360 degree panorama on the iPhone
      4m 45s
    60. Understanding the three flash setup
      3m 34s
    61. Shooting a three flash portrait
      4m 6s
    62. Understanding the differences with third party lenses
      4m 43s
    63. Understanding why files look different on depending on device
      5m 25s
    64. Working with a geotagging app on the iPhone
      4m 43s
    65. Using high speed flash sync to dim ambient light
      7m 29s
    66. Using your iPad as a second monitor
      5m 46s
    67. Understanding exposure with a leaf shutter camera
      3m 28s
    68. Photography practice through mimicry
      8m 8s
    69. Canon wireless flash with built in radio control
      5m 59s
    70. Posing and shooting pairs of people
      5m 35s
    71. Shooting with a shape in mind
      3m 15s
    72. Shooting tethered to a laptop
      4m 40s
    73. Softboxes vs. umbrellas
      2m 55s
    74. Getting your project out into the world
      6m 25s
    75. Exploring how to think about shooting a new environment
      3m 56s
    76. Discussing the book "The Passionate Photographer" with Steve Simon
      6m 4s
    77. Highlighting iOS 8 updates on the iPhone5S
      10m 46s
    78. Exploring manual controls with iOS 8 and ProCamera
      5m 30s
    79. Understanding how to compose with an empty sky
      4m 54s
    80. Using an iPhone to make a print in the darkroom
      7m 16s
    81. How to use glycerin as a photography tool
      2m 16s
    82. Understanding micro focus adjustment and Lens Align
      11m 19s
    83. Working with hair in post
      3m 28s
    84. Taking a quick portrait and directing a subject
      5m 50s
    85. Getting inspired through the work of others
      11m 22s
    86. Taking a flattering portrait with flash
      4m 21s
    87. Creating an unaligned HDR image
      3m 3s
    88. Exploring how to use Bokeh
      5m 38s
    89. Shooting stills from a drone
      6m 57s
    90. Using a monitor to get a first person view of the aerial camera
      8m 0s
    91. Understanding lens profile correction
      5m 33s
    92. Working with models
      2m 40s
    93. Understanding the labels on SD cards
      10m 32s
    94. Setting up a macro time lapse of a flower
      6m 18s
    95. Taking a portrait that's tightly cropped or slightly obscured
      3m 24s
    96. Tips for shooting panoramas
      7m 16s
    97. Carrying a point-and-shoot camera
      4m 44s
    98. Adjusting the color of shadows in an image
      5m 35s

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Watch the Online Video Course The Practicing Photographer
9h 56m Appropriate for all May 16, 2013 Updated Mar 26, 2015

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In The Practicing Photographer, photographer and teacher Ben Long shares a weekly serving of photographic instruction and inspiration. Each installment focuses on a photographic shooting scenario, a piece of gear, or a software technique. Each installment concludes with a call to action designed to inspire you to pick up your camera (or your mouse or smartphone) to try the technique for yourself.

Ben Long

Using high speed flash sync to dim ambient light

Hi my name is Ben Long and this week on the practicing photographer. We going to do something really, counter intuitive. I'm going to use my flash, to make the background in this scene darker. And I know that sounds completely backwards but here's how it works. Flash all flash have a sync speed, if you watched my foundations of photography flash course you should know this already, that there is certain shutter speed on your camera that you cannot go past. When you're using a flash, and this is because the shutter on your camera is actually two curtains that open and close. At faster shutter speeds there's actually just a little slit of an opening that passes up and down the focal point.

So there's not time where the shutter is completely, open once you pass about a 200th of a second. That means there's no time that you can fire a flash into your scene and have it expose the entire frame. So, on most cameras once you're using your flash, the camera, there's no way you can dial it past a 200th of a second, sometimes it's a 160th of a second. Im using a Canon Speedlight 600EXRT with a wireless transmitter. This flash has the ability to go into a high speed sync mode.

This allows me to shoot with flash, through the entire shutter speed of my camera. I am probably, in this exercise, going to go up into the thousands of a second. If your flash doesn't have that feature, you maybe to add it through a third party wireless transmitter. A lot of pocket wizard transmitters, have the ability to add high speed sync. So, I'm going to start at the very beginning and take you through this whole process. We're going to go through a lot of steps here, and most of the pictures we take are going to have lousy exposure. But you're going to see how this works. I'm want to start by, taking first, just a normal shot, no flash, so you can just see the framing that I'm doing here.

I'm going to frame Christie up here. I want to, I want to blur out my background, as much as possible, I'm not using a super fast lens but I'm opening up at four. And I get this, nice enough shot, but she's competing with the background. I really want to pull the background down, there are a lot of different ways of doing this. I could try to reduce the field to blur it out, I'm already at a four, that's as fast as this lens will go. I can try to crop in tighter so I don't see as much background but, I like the sense of the environment that she's in. I'd like to keep that, but I just want it to be more about her.

Remember, every decision you make as a photographer, is about trying to help your viewer understand, the subject of the image and the background of the image, trying to guide their eye through the frame. So what I would like to do is have the background darker. Well, I know how to do that, I'll under expose, so I'm going to dial in, say. Two stops of under exposure. And now when I take the shot, okay, the background is darker, here's the shot before, and here's the shot under exposed by two stops. Background is darker, that's nice, but she's darker also. I need more light on her, fortunately, I have a flash right here, so, I'm zeroing on some exposure ideas here.

I shot that. Last shot. I don't know what I shot that at. I shot that at 1/4000th of a second, at a four. Way beyond my flash's synch speed. But, well in fact I'll just show that to you. I'm going to go ahead and attach the flash, get it all hooked up here. And now, I'm running out of hands, now frame up my shot. Or at F4, the camera is flashing the shutter speed of 200, meaning it's saying, I am going to shoot this at 200 and your exposure is going to be off.

If I simply activate high speed sync on my flash. That's all going to change. So on this particular flash, I just have to I can do it in either from the flash or through my wireless transmitter here. And now, something else happens. I get, a shutter speed of 1/5000th of a second. I want to fill this side of her face a little bit. I fire the flash and I get this. Okay, that's looking pretty good. I've got a much darker background. She still looks overexposed, so now I just go through the normal process of figuring out a good flash exposure.

I'm going to take my flash exposure compensation down one stop, and, boy one thing about this Canon 242145, when you hold your camera like that for awhile, the lens drifts, so I have to reframe every time it's very annoying. I know, I should find some real problems to complain about, but that's the only one I've got right now. Okay, that's looking better, the flash is getting a little bit more under control. I think I'd like to just see what happens if I take the background down even more. I'm going to go down three stops under exposed.

I'm doing all of this. And now put your priority mode, now what's cool is that I'm staying at F4 so I'm still getting the soft background. I'm combining two techniques to focus attention here, blurring out the background a little bit and I'm darkening the background. Okay that could almost twilight or night I'm getting into really a curious mix of light here. And the flash on her is not, not too overexposed. What if I wanted to go even darker. All right. Right now I am at, a 6400th of a second at F4. I cannot dial in any more, underexposure using exposure compensation, so I'm going to set it back to where it was, and I'm going to switch out of aperture priority mode, and go to manual mode.

I'm going to dial down to F4. I was at a 6400th of a second, so I'm just going to go ahead and drop that to one 8000th of a second, which buys me, like another third of a stop. So I can go down here. Okay, that's good. Notice the flash is getting darker. As I'm underexposing, so I'm just going to turn my flash exposure compensation back up. I'm just balancing all of these, these three parameters, my ambient exposure, my flash exposure, and I'm doing that through changes in flash power, changes in exposure compensation.

I have two other parameters I can play with. I can play with ISO, which is going to make the flash brighter. I can play with flash positioning, I can also play with aperture, aperture will also make the flash brighter. All of this is covered in. In foundations of photography flash. So, let's go up here. That's pretty good. Background's still getting darker. I'm just curious how far I can go. I cannot take my shutter any further. An 8000th is as far as I can go on this camera. But I can start stopping down the lens, so I'll go from F4 to F56, which will be a difference of one stop.

That's probably mostly going to affect the flash. That's probably not going to do much to the background, but we'll see here. It's still is going to be some under exposure. Its good. My flash is getting a little darker when I turn off my flash power some more. Now at this point, I think I've gone, way beyond what I, what I need in terms of background darkening. I think the better shot is more in here. I like this, this is a good balance, of foreground light to background light. It's dimming the background enough that I've got more attention on her, but it still looks like a daytime shot. But, you can see how much power I have.

With this flash, to actually turn the sun down. I have eliminated a tremendous amount of light from this scene. If I needed to shoot a broader area, if I was shooting a, a couple of people or a bigger scene I would need more flashes to illuminate them, but I would still go through this same process, of first determining the ambient background exposure that I want. I figured out that I needed to underexposed by a certain amount. I then had to turn on high speed synch. And then it was just a matter of balancing all of my normal flash parameters. The difference is, with high-speed sync, I`ve got a lot more latitude on my shutter speed.

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