Posts Tagged 'flash high speed synch'

Flash Photography Tips 5

Slow Shutter Synch Flash Photography

Flash Photography Tips 5

Now that we’ve looked at the main differences between constant light (Ambient) and flash photography, it is time to experiment with some creative techniques in the wonderful world of flash photography. It may help if you basically consider flash photography as a double exposure picture, with one exposure for ambient light and the second exposure for the flash gun.

It may sound a little complicated and in our Flash Photography Classes we cover this topic in great detail. In the photo below I used ambient light to create a nice, attractive background and fired the flash to light the subject.

Flash Photography

By using Slow Shutter Sync, I manage to capture the light reflection and using the flash to capture the model.

What is Slow Shutter Synch?

Slow shutter synch means using a long exposure and the flash to freeze the movement. In the above picture I used a one second shutter speed and while I was rotating the camera, the flash fired and captured the subject. By rotating the camera it captured the lights in the background and created a nice pattern of movement, and when the flash fired it captured the girl’s image.

When does the flash fire during the long exposure?

It’s very important to know how the flash fires during a long exposure. If you use a TTL flash you have two different options for slow shutter synch: First (Front) curtain and Second (Rear) curtain. Most Manual flashes fire as soon as the shutter is fully opened (First/Front curtain).

What is First/Front Curtain?

This is the default setting for the flash synch, manual or TTL flash. The flash fires as soon as the shutter is fully opened and the shutter stays open to capture the ambient light and motion in the scene. It is an easy technique to create some nice effects such as Zoom Burst.

Flash Photography

Flash Photography is very creative provided you learn how to control the camera and the flash.

How about Second/Rear Curtain?

This technique is opposite of the First curtain, which means that the shutter opens but the flash does not fire until the shutter starts to close. This technique is very useful to show the motion of an object and the direction of movement. You can use Second/Rear Curtain with TTL or compatible flashes only. You need to set your camera or flash for this function (refer to the camera and flash owners manual for information about how to set Second/Rear curtain)

flash photography

In this photo the shutter opened, but flash didn’t fire till shutter started to closing and then flash fired to captured the subject.

Learning Flash Photography is a great way to take your photography skills to the next level. As I mentioned before flash photography means a double exposure, one with the ambient light and the next one for flash. The more you learn about these techniques the better you can capture the moment and not be limited by the ambient light. In the next article I am going to explain Off Camera Flash Photography. Go to our UPCOMING CLASSES page to find out more about Flash Photography Workshop.

Ted and the Omnilargess Team

Our next Flash Photography class is scheduled for July 6th and 13th. It is a 2 part workshop with lots of hands ons!

Flash photography Tips 3

Flash Photography Tips

Part 3: TTL Flash Photography special features

In previous articles I discussed the differences between constant light vs. flash photography and also some tips about TTL Flash Photography. In this article I am going to cover some important features of TTL flashes. Often photographers have asked me why TTL flashes are so expensive compared to non TTL flashes. The reason often comes down to convenience; below is a list of some of these conveniences.

1- Camera controls the output of the flash, so you have peace of mind that you always get correct exposure.

2- When you mount your TTL flash, your camera automatically sets the correct White Balance for Flash Photography, so you don’t need to worry about colour shift. Many of the new Nikon flashes (SB900, SB910, SB 710) come with colour correction filters; when you use these filters, the camera recognizes the colour filters and adjusts the White Balance accordingly.

3- Allows shooting using High Speed Synch (HSS).

What is High Speed Synch (HSS)?

High Speed Synch is one of the most useful features of TTL Flashes. High-speed synch flash is your DSLR’s ability to use a flash at shutter speeds faster than the camera’s native synch. Most cameras have a native synch of 1/200th of a second, and anything faster than that is beyond the camera’s ability to synch the shutter with the flash. But if you happen to be in a situation that requires faster shutter speeds to effectively capture the action, or for other aesthetic reasons (like a wide aperture), then you’ll over-exposure your image. However, high-speed synch flash/camera combinations allow you to use the flash at higher shutter speeds.

When are the times to use High Speed Synch?

High-speed synch flash is used when you want a shutter speed that is faster than your camera’s native flash synch speed, or when you want to use a wider aperture setting that requires a higher shutter speed as is often the case with outdoor daylight shooting. For example, you want to take an outdoor portrait and your TTL meter tells you that the f-stop should be f/16 with a 1/125s shutter. Those settings will give you too much depth of field, way too much actually. Nearly everything in sight will be in focus. Instead, what you want is a sharp subject, but a soft, blurred background, which would be achieved with an aperture of about f/2. That’s six stops of light difference, effectively putting your shutter speed up to 1/5000s. This is easily achievable by setting the flash to High Speed Synch. When you take your photo, you’ll have that beautiful, soft background that the pros get when shooting outside. You’ll also want to use HSS when you’re shooting with a telephoto lens, trying to capture fast action, using a fast shutter speed as well as a high f-stop. So in sports photography High Shutter Synch is ideal, and in some wildlife situations as well.

Flash Photography Tips

In this chart you see how by increasing the shutter speed and passing the synch speed effects the look of the photo

How does High Speed Synch work?

With a high-speed synch flash-capable camera and dedicated flash unit, all you do is set the camera to that setting. But how does it really work? Basically, at high shutter speeds the rear curtain starts to close before the front curtain fully opens. This way only a sliver of exposure moves across the image sensor. It is within this moving sliver of exposure that the flash fires, and voila! A high-speed shutter speed is synchronized to the flash. The flash does fire several times more during shutter traveling time than with standard flash mode. In standard flash mode, the flash fires once and the duration is much shorter than the time it takes for the shutter to move across the image sensor, and before the partially opened shutter covers part of the frame leaving large sections of black in your image. The underexposed black bands in the image is not good, to say the least!

Flash Photography tips

In High speed synch you can freeze the movement.

Stay tuned for our next article about Manual Flash Photography. Meanwhile head on over to our Upcoming Classes page and check out our exciting lineup of upcoming workshops. As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Ted and Omnilargess Team

Flash Photography

Flash Photography Tips

Part 1: Flash Photography

Exposure is the main key in photography in general and with Flash Photography, exposure plays an important role for successful images. If your exposure is not correct you may get a darker or brighter picture.

Histogram in Over exposed photo

Histogram in Over exposed photo

Flash Photography

Sample of an Under exposed image

Correct exposure under constant (ambient) light is controlled by the dynamic threesome of:


-Shutter speed

-and ISO

The combination of these variable settings is what makes correct exposures.

Flash Photography

A correct exposure

How about exposures with Flash Photography?

Flash Photography is different from constant light photography for many reasons. One of the most important differences is the duration of flash. Usually the duration of flash is 1/1000s to 1/4000s; flash photography can be fun when you fully grasp the principles and learn some fundamental techniques.

How does such a short duration of a flash change the basic rules of exposure?

For correct flash exposure, four things need to be controlled and balanced:

– Aperture


– Distance (from the flash to subject)

– Power (the flash’s actual blitz of light, taking into consideration any diffusion)

Two things relate to camera settings, and two things relate to the flash itself. To really understand flash photography, it is essential to memorize those four things. You may have noticed shutter speed is not among these controls, and the reason is the duration of the flash. In the simplest of terms: regardless of what shutter speed you use, the duration of light that emits from the flash is around 1/1000s.

Does this mean I can shoot at any shutter speed in Flash photography?

One of the times shutter speed does come into play has to do with the SYNCH SPEED; if it helps to understand this, think of it as a maximum speed limit enforced by your camera and the only time it comes into play is when you use flashes or strobes. You can find the synch speed in your camera’s owner manual. The synch speed is usually under or around 1/200s.

Can you be more specific about Synch Speed? 

In normal flash modes, you need to ensure that the shutter speed is set at or below the ‘synch speed’ for your camera. DSLRs have sync speeds of either 1/200 sec or 1/250 sec, depending on the model; if use a faster shutter speeds part of the image will be obscured by the falling shutter curtain.

Can I use slower shutter speed for flash photography?

Slower than Synch speed is the most creative choice with flash photography. We will cover both techniques, including slow synch flash photography, later.

What if I want a super fast shutter speed in flash photography?

This is possible only if you use a TTL flash gun. This technique is called High Speed Synch (HSS) and we will cover this technique as well. So stay tuned for upcoming articles!

What role does distance have in flash photography?

It’s called Light Fall off. Light falls off because of something called the Inverse Square Law. The light spreads quickly and literally falls off (weakens); because of this spread, the distance from subject (and background) from the flash influences correct exposure.

What does this mean for flash photography? 

An object (like your background) that is twice the distance from a flash head will receive a quarter (1/4) of the illumination – or two stops less light. An object that is three times the distance receives one ninth (1/9) the illumination – or three stops less light. An object that is four times the distance receives one sixteenth (1/16) the illumination – or four stops less light, etc.

For more in-depth learning check our Workshop List  for complete list of workshops and field trips. We are going to have a TTL Flash Photography workshop on March 17 and 18. This two part workshop covers the most popular settings in TTL Flash techniques and will help you master the creative possibilities of flash photography.

Photo Tip Friday

Photo Tip Friday November 1

High Speed Flash Synch


What is High Speed Flash Synch?

All cameras have a Synch speed, which means that you can capture an image using a flash up to certain shutter speed and you cannot pass that speed, usually around 1/125s to 1/250s. Using a TTL flash allows you to pass the set synch speed of your camera and shoot the photo at any shutter speed, even as fast as 1/8000s!


What is the limitation of High Speed Synch?

Using High Speed Synch (HSS), your flash starts to fire several rapid bursts of light to light the scene evenly as the shutter opens. It means that you are limited to a shorter distance. For example you can use High Speed synch for up to 1.5 meter (5 feet), (at ISO 800). You can increase the ISO for farther distance.




High Speed Synch flash photography needs lots of patience and practice. There will be hit and misses while learning the technique, but once you nail it down then the fun really starts. Here are some quick tips to get you started:

1-Use Manual focus and pre focus first

2-Try to use the highest f-stop to increase your Depth Of Field.

3-Using Tripod is a must.

4-A shutter release cable or wireless trigger makes HSS more fun.

5-Set the camera to Continuos drive mode for at least 3 frame per second.

6-Always use fresh batteries for your flash when shooting HSS, as it drains the battery quite fast.

That is all for this Friday. See you all again next Friday in our Photo Friday Tip!

Ted and Omnilargess team

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