Posts Tagged 'TTL Flash photography workshop Abbotsford'

Flash Photography Tips 6

Flash Photography Tips 6

Part 6: Off Camera Flash Photography

While on-camera flash photography is creative and fun, off-camera flash photography can take you to a whole new world of creativity. In previous articles I discussed fundamental techniques of Flash Photography, basically for on-camera techniques. In this article we are going to look at some principles of off- camera flash and ideas for how to use this technique.

What is Off Camera Flash Photography?

Off Camera Flash Photography means that you use the flash gun off the camera hot shoe. It means that not only can you adjust the amount of light to your liking, but also you choose the angle and direction of light. You can use more than one flash gun to control or create different highlights and shadows. In simplest terms, you can have a small portable studio wherever you go!

What are the advantages of off camera flash?

To begin with, you can control the angle and direction of light. Also since the flash is not mounted on your camera, you carry less weight which can be a big bonus especially in long hours of shooting. With Off camera flash you can use different light modifiers such as an umbrella, soft box, grid, etc. to modify the light. Another big advantage is that you have complete control over the ambient light by increasing the flash output and place the flash closer to your subject.

Flash Photography

Off Camera Flash Photography Techniques


Can I use TTL in Off camera flash techniques?

Although in this article I am going to cover manual shooting for off camera techniques, you can use TTL as well. Using the TTL system, you need to invest more money on triggers and flashes though.

How does an off camera flash fire?

For your camera and flash to “talk to” one another you will need to use a wireless trigger. The starting price for a pair of wireless triggers is just under $100.
Flash photography


One transmitter is attached to your camera’s hot shoe and the second one (receiver) is for the flash unit. When you take a picture the camera sends the signal to the transmitter and the transmitter sends the signal to the receiver to fire the flash remotely.

Flash Photography

Samples of Off Camera Flash Photography. Click on the image to see large size picture.

How about using the camera’s built in flash?

The built in flash in many new Prosumer DSLR cameras can work as a commander to fire another TTL flash or flashes remotely. This type of trigger works via an infrared beam which the built-in flash transmits to the remote (slave) flash unit to fire the correct amount of light.

Are there any disadvantages with an infrared trigger?

The biggest disadvantage is that the camera and remote flashes must be in line of sight to work properly. So if you place your off camera flash under a cover (such as behind a wall) the infrared beam cannot reach the flash and fire it. Another complaint about this method is that the camera’s built in flash has to fire, which means you may not get the exact effect you are after due to light from the built in flash.

I discuss TTL off camera flash in detail in our Flash Photography workshop. Check our Upcoming Classes to find the flash photography class and register.

That’s all for this short article. As always, please contact me if you have any questions.

Ted and the Omnilargess Team

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 Tips 2

Flash Photography Tips

Part 2: TTL Flash Photography

In the previous article I discussed one important aspect of the differences between Flash Photography vs. constant light photography, which is the shutter speed. In this article I am going to talk about TTL vs. Manual Flash Photography.

What is TTL flash?

TTL stands for Through The Lens. With TTL flash, the camera and flash control the flash output (i.e., the power) as you adjust any of the other settings. That’s it in a nutshell – the differences between Manual flash and Auto / TTL flash.

How does TTL work?

Flash metering is achieved through the lens, using the camera’s metering system as it analyzes the scene through the lens you’re using.

Nikon first introduced TTL (Through The Lens) flash technology in 1980. The basics of TTL operation is rather simple and applies to all camera systems. With TTL flash exposure, when the shutter is tripped, the light from the flash fires off, racing to hit the subject. Let’s look a little more in depth at how TTL flash works. When you press the shutter release, a TTL flash will fire a Pre-Flash before the actual shot and the camera measures the Pre-Flash with the ambient light level to calculate the power needed in the actual flash for the shot. Don’t try looking for a Pre-Flash though, it happens very fast, only milli- or micro-seconds before the main flash, so you will only see one flash, not two, because the human eye is too slow to able to separate and see the two individual flashes. (The Pre-Flash in TTL flash photography can cause blinking in some people.)

Why is it important to learn how TTL Flash Photography works?

In manual flash photography you need to constantly adjust the out put of the flash according to the ISO, F stop, and distance. With TTL flash, the flash output is varied and controlled by the camera’s metering system. This means that within a certain range, our chosen aperture or ISO, or distance to our subject, does not influence our TTL flash exposure.

Flash Photography

In TTL Flash Photography you can maintain the exposure for your main subject while changing the ambient light

This is such a crucial point to understand about TTL flash, that I want to mention it again for emphasis.

With TTL flash, our chosen aperture or ISO (within a certain usable range), does not affect our exposure – and in a sense becomes transparent to our exposure metering. (Our camera and flash work together in calculating what it deems to be correct flash exposure, by increasing or decreasing the output from the flash.)  What does affect our exposure, is the reflectivity of our subject, and how large our subject appears within our frame.

In other words:  Aperture and ISO do not control flash exposure when we use TTL. This is because the camera will tell the flash to emit more (or to emit less) light as the camera deems necessary for correct exposure.

Then how can I control the exposure in TTL flash?

The only way to control TTL flash metering is with Flash Exposure Compensation. While you can control Manual flash exposure with any of the four variables mentioned earlier, with TTL flash you must use flash exposure compensation to influence or make changes.

What is the better metering mode for TTL flash?

The best metering mode is Centre Weighted mode when working with TTL flash, for better results than with the other modes.

What is the best Exposure mode in TTL flash photography?

You can shoot TTL in any exposure mode, but the one I prefer is Manual exposure. Since your camera controls the flash output, in manual mode you can set your shutter speed (within the synch speed), ISO, and aperture according to how much of the ambient light you want to capture, and your flash would fire the correct amount of light to lighten the subject. I cover more about TTL exposure in our TTL Flash Photography Workshop with plenty of opportunities to shoot and compensate for ambient light.

That is all for now. If you want to learn more about Manual shooting check out our new Manual shooting in Field Photography workshop  on April 2. It is a full day of field photography where we are going to use only Manual exposure mode. Or check our Upcoming Classes to find more amazing photography workshops.

Ted and the 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.

Off Camera Flash Techniques

Off Camera Flash Techniques Part 2

Exploring ways to create a variety of portrait lighting with just one light 

In a previous article (Off Camera Flash Photography) I explained how the position of a light source can really change the look of your subject. In this tutorial I am going to show you some popular setups for Off Camera Flash Techniques, which can be used to capture outstanding portraits with just one flash and a reflector.

For the images in this tutorial I used:

  • One Nikon SB900 flash in Manual mode, set at 1/8 power, mounted on a stand.
  • One 32” Octagon soft box (as flash modifier)
  • One 32” silver reflector
  • Nikon D3 camera body mounted on a tripod, set on manual exposure with 1/125s shutter speed, Flash White Balance (it is important to set the white balance manually whenever you shoot with off camera flash), ISO 200.
  • Nikon 105 Micro lens with an aperture setting of f 8.
Off camera Flash

32″ Octagon Soft box

Basically that’s all the equipment you need for off camera single flash portraits! Here are some lighting diagrams showing how I placed the flash in different positions to achieve a variety of looks.

Off Camera Flash Techniques

One flash with soft box

Off Camera Flash Techniques

One flash with soft box behind the subject

Off Camera Flash Techniques

One flash with soft box behind the subject and reflector to fill the shadow

One flash with soft box and reflector to create Rembrandt effect

One flash with soft box and reflector to create Rembrandt effect

Portraits and a variety of Off Camera Flash Techniques

Now let’s take a look at the samples together.

Off camera flash

In this photo I placed the light (Flash and Octagon box) to the right side of the camera a little higher than the model’s head. Notice the shadow under the chin and eyes are dark. But the nose got very interesting depth.

Off camera flash

Same as image one, with the addition of a reflector to fill the shadows. Notice the eyes are brighter, the shadow under the chin is smoother and the nose maintains the nice shape.


off camera flash

I moved the light to the back of the model. Notice how the light on her face creates a moody effect.

Off Camera Flash

I opened up the aperture to allow more light in. Back lit subjects have a dreamy effect.

Off camera flash

I set the aperture back to f8 and added a reflector to create a romantic effect. Notice how smooth the light is.

Off camera flash

I moved the light to right side of the camera and at a slightly higher level. This is called Rembrandt Effect. This classical lighting is often used for business portraits.

Off camera flash

Adding a reflector can smooth the effect and create a softer, more romantic image.

Off camera flash

By rotating the octagon box towards the camera, I managed to reduce the light spill to the background. Notice the background is a darker shade of grey, while I maintained the Rembrandt effect on my subject.

Off camera flash

I placed the light right above the subject for another moody effect.

Off camera flash

Adding a reflector to bounce some light back to the face creates a very soft effect. Notice that the size of the eyes and the shape of the neck have changed.


That is all for now. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial about the variety of technique possible with only one off camera flash. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Stay tuned for the next tutorial which will look at off camera flash techniques using two lights.

Our TTL Flash Photography class is scheduled for October 29 and 31. This two part workshop will explore the wonderful world of TTL flash photography, on camera and off camera flash.

Ted and the Omnilargess Team


Flash Photography Techniques

Flash Photography Techniques Workshop.

Flash photography techniques for beginners to intermediates

Flash photography is totally different from ambient light photography. There are several variables in flash photography that you should apply to achieve the best result. For example:  in flash photography you capture the light in a fraction of a second, therefore shutter speed does not play a big role in your exposure.

Flash Photography Techniques

High Speed Synch in flash photography

There are many interesting flash photography techniques such as Fill Flash Photography Techniques:

Flash Photography Techniques

Normal shooting without Fill Flash Photography Technique

Flash Photography Techniques

By add fill flash you can capture a natural looking image in almost any situation

The Flash Photography Techniques workshop is a 2 part class which covers the most popular and useful flash photography techniques.

Are you looking to be more creative with flash photography techniques?

Did you know that flash photography can be so much fun when you understand how to use different settings in your camera and flash?

Come and join us for our very popular Indoor Flash Photography workshop and take your indoor photos to an exciting new level!

Part one is a classroom session and starts on October 29 at 7:00 to 9:00 pm and covers: 

1: Flash fundamentals techniques

2: Controlling exposure with flash 

3: White Balance and Flash Photography 

4: Shutter speed and Flash exposure

5: Aperture control in Flash Photography

Part two is the practical and hands on session which starts on October 31 at 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and covers

Hands on setting camera and flash for different indoor flash photography. There will be loads of practical assignments on:

1: Special Effects in Flash Photography

2: Ambient light and Flash

3: High Speed Flash Synch

4: Slow Shutter Flash Synch

5: Accessories for better Flash Photography

6: Light modifiers for Flash photography (Softbox, Grid, Bouncer, etc.)

And more!

Flash Photography Techniques

Fast Shutter speed using flash photography techniques

This Flash Photography Techniques workshop is for beginner to intermediate photographers with a DSLR, mirror less cameras, and any point shoot camera with a hot shoe for external flash.

Join us for this popular class and you’ll gain skills and be able to apply beautiful lighting to the darker, short days of winter!

Ted and the Omnilargess Team

TTL Flash Technology

TTL Flash Technology

Photo Tip Friday April 3

TTL Flash Technology makes flash photography fun

TTL Flash Technology makes flash photography fun

Flash Photography can be very awarding when you know the techniques. Most of the newest digital cameras allow you to enjoy the ease of use of TTL Flash Technology, but your experience will benefit greatly by understanding some basics first.

Many photographers, including myself, generally don’t like the harsh affect of flash in their photos, but there are several different techniques to tame this harshness and create natural looking images. In this tutorial I am going to explain some basics of TTL Flash Technology. In my example image below I used TTL Flash to capture more detail of the figurine in dim light conditions and so I could maintain a faster shutter speed to avoid camera shake in macro photography.

Using Flash TTL Technology allows you to maintain shutter speed or depth of filed in Macro Photography

Using Flash TTL Technology allows you to maintain shutter speed or depth of filed in Macro Photography

So what is TTL Flash Technology?

TTL means “through the lens”. Flash metering is done through the lens, using the camera’s metering system, which looks through the lens and filters you are using.

How does TTL Flash Technology work?

Nikon first introduced TTL flash technology in 1980 and the basics of TTL operation is rather simple and applies to all camera systems. With TTL flash exposure, when the shutter is tripped the light from the flash fires, racing to hit the subject. Let’s look a little closer at how TTL flash technology determines the amount of flash required. When you press the shutter release, a TTL flash will fire a Pre-Flash before the actual shot, the camera then measures the Pre-Flash with the ambient light level to calculate the power needed by the actual flash for the shot. Don’t try looking for a Pre-Flash though: it happens very fast, only a mille- or micro-second before the main flash. You will only detect one flash, not two, because the human eye is too slow to be able to separate and see the two individual flashes. (Note of interest for portrait photographers: the Pre-Flash in TTL flash photography can cause blinking in some people.)

What is the main difference in TTL and Manual Flash?

In Manual flash photography, the flash fires a certain amount of light (chosen by you) and you will need to set your camera (Shutter speed, Aperture, and ISO) according to the power of the flash and the distance between flash to subject.

Thanks to TTL flash technology, the computer inside the camera controls the output light of the flash and turns the flash off when the exposure is correct.

Using TTL Flash allows you to focus more on your subject and ret assure that you get the shot!

Using TTL Flash allows you to focus more on your subject and ret assure that you get the shot!

Can TTL Flash Technology be used indoor and outdoors? What are its limitations?

Two very good questions!  For the first: Yes, absolutely. As a matter of fact when you learn how to use TTL flash technology, you can use flash almost everywhere to create amazing effects. With TTL Flash Technology your camera meters the ambient light as well as the flash and makes an almost perfect exposure.  The only limitation of TTL, if it can be said as such, is that your camera’s meter will always set exposures to achieve a balanced average scene.  If you want to create a low key (darker) or high key (brighter) image, you will need to compensate for your camera’s metering parameters.  Fortunately this is not difficult to do!

Is it difficult to learn Flash techniques? 

Although many things about TTL Flash Technology and Manual Flash Photography can seem technical and complicated, flash photography is quite easy to learn and the techniques are fun to apply. We have scheduled a flash photography workshop for May 13 and 14. This two part workshop has plenty of time for hands-on experience working with your flash as well as practical assignments. The class size is limited to nine students. For more information and to register for this fun, informative workshop please follow the link below.

Flash Photography workshop Canada

TTL Flash Technology Photography workshop Canada

That is all for this Friday and see you all next Friday with more photography tips.

Ted and the Omnilargess Team

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