Supplement to the Get a Flash First
and Learning Pop-Up Flash
The little, bright light tube that comes with a camera since the advent of automatic exposure has been one of the greatest mysteries for camera owners. Most know (or think they know) that the little flash unit is provided to provide light when the sun goes down.
While it used to be that simple during the days when intelligent metering was absent, today's camera and flash allow users to have much more control on how the flash works with the camera as an individual unit. You'll be surprised on how simple the concept really is, and I hope I can demystify the simple flash and improve your day-to-day photography. Note that I won't be covering the topic in detail as mastering flash photography is an art by itself. There are so many things you can do with a flash unit that you're limited only by your creativity. In addition, we're not covering issues like flash settings if you're using a manual flash unit or choose to control the flash without automated metering (i.e. ETTL, PTTL, etc.) I'll provide you with a simple primer that will shed light (pardon the pun) on the whole subject matter, especially if you're a beginner.
You only have to remember three things as soon as your flash is turned on (either when you pop-up your on-cam flash or attach your hot shoe flash).
- YOUR SUBJECT IS EXPOSED WITH THE FLASH
- YOUR AMBIENT/BACKGROUND IS EXPOSED WITH YOUR CAMERA
- THE FARTHER YOUR SUBJECT IS FROM THE BACKGROUND WALL, THE SOFTER THE SHADOW OUTLINE
What you need to do before we start: 1) Set your camera to Manual mode. 2) Set your flash to Auto ETTL mode (for external flash units) and make sure the flash exposure compensation is set to "off" or "0", if you don't have an idea what I'm referring to, read the user's manual
. I'll show you a set of photos and they'll be very self-explanatory.
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