How a flash and shutter speed can affect your photograph using ambient light

Discussion in 'Learn Photography' started by Chris, Dec 2, 2015.

  1. #1 Chris, Dec 2, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015

    I was going through a set of images for a recent shoot for a salon and though it would be a good way to explain to the those not used to using flash how you can control ambient light and change the feeling of a photograph.

    The two pictures above are taken with the same camera, same flash, same shutter speed and the same processing done to them in lightroom - no photoshop trickery pockery. All is identical apart from settings.

    The scene

    To camera right, we have a flash pushed into a silver umbrella to bounce onto the subject, the white wall to camera left is acting as a fill source.

    The camera is set the same ISO 100, Shutter speed at 160/second. The only two differences here in this picture is the F-stop and the flash power.

    The first picture has an F-stop of f.6.3 so the flash is acting as a fill flash and was at around 1/16th power, but because so much ambient is coming in, the sky has no colour or definition.

    By changing the f-stop to from f6.3 to f.11 the camera aperture closes allowing less light to enter the camera and so can capture the sky and ambient light becomes darker. But what of the model?

    Well, she too would get darker as well. I don't have picture to illustrate this but it would just be a darker picture in general.
    So the only option is to increase flash power. Seeing we went roughly 2 1/2 stops up, we can we need to push the flash power up by the same amount. Thus, the power on the flash went from 1/16th power to 1/4th power. I found that it was still a little dark, so I pushed the flash to one more stop at 1/2 power. Which is what you see above.

    The flash used here was the powerful Godox flash I wrote about here. Many standard flashes may not be able to produce the above effect unless using a high-speed sync.
    Davis, Martyn and moroseduck like this.
  2. That's awesome. I really want to get my head around flash, there just aren't enough good natural light hours in Britain.
    Chris likes this.
  3. Maybe we should make flash the subject of the next meetup. I would be happy to do some training for people.

    And the good thing about flash is you can use or abuse the natural light whatever it is. In some ways the overcast winter light in the uk is exactly what we need.
  4. And I have enough kit to share around as well :)
  5. we have done similar things here- just buy a bunch of cheap Yongnuo triggers and you are a good to go. Meeting sent me an email this week actually as a prompt 'don't forget us!' kinda thing
  6. @moroseduck what do you say? Are you up for another meetup? Could be Oxford, Bristol or London.
    moroseduck likes this.
  7. I'm in for flash 101 in Bristol.
    moroseduck likes this.

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