Tips & Tutorials

In Focus: The Basics of External Flash Photography

External flash units are a wonderful tool to have. Besides their practical advantages—they are powerful illuminators of low light scenes, great for providing fill light for daylight shots, help eliminate red eye and can even help save camera battery life—they also can be easily positioned and directed, allowing you to get even more creative with your shots. This series of articles introduces some basic techniques to start you off on the wonders of external flash photography. 

Learn how to use your Speedlites effectively in external flash photography with this series of articles

 

Start flash photography in 9 steps

Understanding the role of each function on your external flash unit makes external flash photography so much easier to understand. This article gives step-by-step instructions on how to operate the E-TTL Auto flash system, explaining some basic concepts of external flash photography along the way.

 
 
 
Bounce Flash Photography Part 1:  Let’s Start Bounce Flash Photography

Bounce flash photography: A technique that helps to create soft, natural lighting in photos, it involves reflecting (“bouncing”) light from flash off other objects. Part 1 gives step by step instructions on the basics of shooting a natural-looking indoor portrait. 

 
 
 
Bounce Flash Photography: Change Color Using White Balance Settings

Expands from Part 1 to provide more advanced tips for bounce flash photography. Learn how to use Flash Exposure Compensation to adjust the tones and white balance of your bounce flash photos.

 
 
 
Daytime Sync Part 1: Capturing a subject standing against the sun

The technique of using an external flash as an assist/fill light to the sun is known as “daytime sync”.  Part 1 teaches you how to use it to illuminate the subject in a scene with backlight from the sun.

 
 
 
Daytime Sync Part 2: Capturing bright and impressive shot of flowers and subjects

Learn how to use daytime sync in situations with insufficient light, and also the ways in which you can use it for portrait and flower photography.

 
 
 
How to Produce Bright and Vivid Shots

In this article, learn the techniques behind combining flash photography with high ISO speeds to either 1. Make models look radiant 2. Capture wild birds in vivid colours and 3. Reproduce natural skin tones in your photographs. 

 
 
 
Capturing Portraits with Slow Sync Flash

Slow sync flash is the technique of combining a slow shutter speed with an external flash. This article gives 2 case studies on how you can use it in portrait photography to capture sharp pictures of your subject, in a night scene or even when there is motion blur.

 
 
 
“Freezing” Movement with High-speed Sync

There are limits to the fastest shutter speed you can use with a normal flash, which can be quite a hindrance for certain scenes involving fast or vigorous motion, such as bike races or capturing swift, flying birds and insects. Here's how you can obtain a faster shutter speed with the use of high-speed sync.  

 
 
 
Adjusting the Flash Duration to Capture Subjects

You can use your Speedlite to help you capture moments so fleeting they are not visible to the naked eye by controlling flash duration. Learn how to do so with this step-by-step case study. 

 
 
 
Achieve multiple exposures with stroboscopic flash

Stroboscopic flash is a feature that lets you obtain multiple exposures by firing the flash continuously. How do you do it, and what should you look out for to make the best of it? Find out in this article.

 
 
 
Carry out remote flash photography with wireless firing

Wireless firing enables you to remotely fire a flash that is placed away from the camera. Check out this article for some tips and ideas on how to use this feature for landscape, potrait and still photography.

 
 
 
Multi-flash photography - great for professional studio-like effects

Most of Canon's Speedlites allow you to control and fire multiple Speedlite units remotely. Here are some ways you can use multi-flash photography to create professional-looking effects. They are highly technical, but worth a try!

 
 
 
Canon's Macro Lites are great not just for macro photography but also for portraits!

Canon's Macro Lites allow you to shoot with the appropriate amount of brightness even when they are fired from as close as 2cm from the subject. Check out how you can use them not only to obtain amazing macro photos, but to achieve unique effects in portrait shots. 

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