Introduction to Using an External Flash
Photography is a subtle art. Amateurs make a lot of mistakes in the beginning. However there is nothing discouraging in making mistakes. You can never learn something new if you are afraid of making mistakes.
Using various camera lenses, equipment and accessories is key if you are a photographer. Especially when you are new to this field, learning about the right usage of the accessories becomes very essential for you. In this article, we are going to talk about using an external flash in photography.
There are several people who think that flash is important only when you are shooting in the dark. However this is not true. Using flash play a very important role in removing unwanted shadows from the subject.
This is the reason why most of the photographers use flash in the daylight too. The use of external flash becomes quite important as the flash that comes with the camera lacks certain abilities.
Why an external flash unit?
Though the majority of cameras come with inbuilt flash however external flash units are vital to every photographer. Here, we are going to enlist reasons that make using an external flash so important.
The first advantage of using an external flash unit is that it reduces the chances of red eye reduction. When you attach an external unit to a photographer, the light is coming from anywhere near the camera lens. In that case, there is very little chance of getting red-eye reduction.
The in-built flash is smaller in size as compared to an external flash units. This is the reason why the light in the camera seems more natural while using an external flash.
Shooting a photo in which the subject is supposed to be far away from the camera, external flash becomes important. In such a case, better illumination can be achieved only by using an external flash.
Some precautionary measures
When you are using an external flash unit, you should always keep it away from your or anyone’s eye. The light coming from it is very intense and it should never be pointed towards anyone’s eye.
The voltage inside the flash unit is also very high. You should never open the flash unit to know its working or to fix it.
Where to use an external flash
Now we have come to the most significant portion of this article. No matter how good your appliance is, if you don’t know how to use it, you won’t get many benefits. Here, we are going to discuss the ways of using an external flash.
Use the external flash when you are shooting in a dark lighting situation
You should use the flash mostly when you are shooting in a dark lighting situation. There is a bit of misconception about the dark lighting situation. Many amateur photographers think that dark lighting situation means in the night or something like that. This is not true.
Even if you are shooting portraits of a model outdoors, when the light is uneven, you should use an external flash. Doing so will remove unwanted shadows from the subject.
Avoid using photographs when the subject is farther away
Whenever you are shooting a photo when the subject is farther away, using an external flash is not advisable. For those who are shooting outdoors like in a stadium or something like that, using a flash would create undesirable effects on the photo.
You can also use the photo in a bright situation
Shooting in a bright situation also requires using an external flash. In such situations, the subject looks dark due to the presence of intense light in the background. In such a situation, using an external flash would illuminate your subject.
Don’t use the flash if it makes your subject look pale
This is another important thing to consider if you consider using an external flash. In certain situations, using the flash makes the subject to appear pale. In such a situation, you can get better results if you don’t use the flash.
The flash settings
You can never get better results from your camera if you don’t want to use the flash in a proper way. Only after you understand the settings right, you will be able to get the best results from the flash. Here, we are going to talk about the settings of the flash.
The flash mode
This is the first step that you should consider while adjusting the flash settings. Using the manual mode requires you to adjust the settings every time you shoot in different situations. Using an external flash in manual mode is recommended so that you can adjust the flash according to the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.
The night mode
If you set the flash on night mode, it would be most suitable for creating nice little ambient light in the photograph. When you are shooting in a low-light situation, it would be really helpful in creating the soft light effect.
Set the flash power appropriately
Flash power decides the amount of light coming out of the flash unit. In the areas where a considerable amount of ambient light is available, you should set the flash power to a lower value. More flash power is needed when you are shooting in a dark lighting situation.
You can adjust it after taking a few shots. If the subject looks dark, you should increase the flash power. In the same way, if your subject looks pale, decreasing the flash power would be a better idea.
Some additional tips
Now you are done with the settings, there are some additional tips that you should keep in mind when using a flash as part of studio lighting, or on its own. There are several situations that demand different usage of a flash.
Proper reflection or bouncing effect of the flashlight
In some conditions, you can’t use the flash directly on the subject. You can use a white card on the flash is nice. In some situations, you can use an umbrella where you will point the flash. And the light will bounce back from that umbrella to create a nice smooth effect all over the place.
We have discussed several ways of using an external flash. You can succeed in using the flash or any other accessory only if you understand your requirements properly.