Flash isn’t Flashy

We often get the same response when speaking to people about flash photography. May it be over the phone or at photographic events, we hear a lot of…

“ Flash is too hard..” or “I wouldn’t know where to start with flash!” 

So, we thought we would try and debunk some of the myths around flash photography and prove why flash isn’t some sort of witchcraft and is key to progressing as a photographer. 

1. FLASH IS REALLY COMPLICATED?

NO, not really. It’s true that there’s a lot to learn, but often people get overwhelmed because they try to learn it all in one go! Imagine trying to learn to drive in one lesson! If you start by getting to grips with the basics, when you try new techniques and different equipment it’s much easier to understand; and it could be just a case of learning where the buttons are!

Single light setup using HB320

www.tanjabouwhuis.nl

2. FLASH IS TOO HARSH AND CAN’T LOOK NATURAL?

NO, it can look natural. How you use your flash determines the look and feel of your image. It’s fairly simple to set up your flash to take a very natural looking portrait and have it look like ambient light, especially now with the use of HSS (High speed sync) But also flash can look very dramatic and unnatural depending on how you want your image to look and how you set up your flash.

Shot on location with a HBU250 

Walter Evans Photography

For more information and to watch our video on HSS click here

3. FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY IS REALLY EXPENSIVE?

NO, it doesn’t have to be. Some companies will tell you that you must have the latest rocket-powered super flash with all the bells and whistles! Whereas realistically you could use a simple flash head like the Interfit F121 200W which is perfect to get you started and great value.

Interfit F121

Once you have mastered the basics with this type of light you can move on to more advanced flash heads like the Badger Unleashed or S1, which offer more power, functionality and flexibility.  

Interfit Badger Unleashed
Interfit S1

Accessories like modifiers and stands can be very reasonably priced and if you stay with the same lighting brand they should work across their whole range. Meaning you do not need to replace them if you upgrade or change flash heads. 

For more info on modifiers and what effects they have click here 

Check out our What Modifier Do I Need Blog

4. FLASH ONLY WORKS IN THE DARK?

NO, it can be used at any time. A lot of people think a flash is just for lighting a subject in the dark or, if a subject is in shadows. You can obviously use flash for this purpose, but it can also be used during the day to add some light to darker areas, for example; use flash to fill in dark eye sockets that are often a result of shooting during bright sunlight. Or add natural-looking light in places it didn’t already exist. Flash gives you more control over your light which will allow you to be a lot more creative. 

Shot with using HBU250 to overpower the Spanish sunshine and fill in the shadows. 

Hazel Hurley

5.FLASH ONLY WORKS ON MANUAL MODE?

NO, you can use it in other modes. A lot of modern flashes come with something called TTL (Through The Lens). This is where the light meter on the camera works with a metering system on the flash allowing them to work together on a selection of different modes.

Shot at 1.8 on aperture priority using the HBU250 

 For more information on TTL and how it works click here Watch Video On TTL

In summary 

  • NO: Flash isn’t complicated 
  • YES: Flash can be used in most photography situations
  • NO: Flash doesn’t have to be expensive
  • NO: Flash isn’t limited to manual mode.

Hopefully this blog has cleared up a few misconceptions and given you enough information to give flash photography a go!

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