Teach you how to use the off-camera flash

When hearing the three words “off the plane flash”, many people will be very nerve-racking. They either think it is a very complex technology, or they think it is too high to try, so they will stay away from it. Actually? “Off camera flash” is just a kind of flash light. Don’t you think the built-in flash light on the camera is difficult to use? In the same way, there is nothing terrible about off-board flash. Today, let’s teach you how to get started with “off-board flash”!

As we all know, the most important element of photography is light, and light can be divided into natural light and artificial light. When you take out your mobile phone on the street and take a photo, you actually use natural light, which is the most common light condition. The opposite of natural light is artificial light. Artificial light can be subdivided into continuous light source and instantaneous light source. The “off camera flash” we will talk about today is a kind of instantaneous light source.

Domestic forums and websites rarely mentionflash lampFirst, because of the difficulty of using flash, and second, because of the prejudice for a long time – the older generation of photographers always instill in you: “it is wrong to use flash”, “it is not natural to use flash”, “only mastering natural light is mastering photography”, and so on. In fact, it is all due to ignorance and prejudice.

1、 Why use flash lights?

Before using the flash, we need to know why we use it? There are two main reasons. First, to make up for the lack of light at the scene, and second, to create special effects to help the expression of the work. The first point is easy to understand. When we have very weak light conditions at night or indoors, and there is not enough light to meet the exposure, we can only use artificial light supplement to improve the light conditions, which is the most common situation.

The second is more difficult. It is the photographer’s subjective creative method. By changing the light characteristics, it creates a more dramatic light effect, including changing the color temperature, adding eye light, shaping the image of the subject, reducing or increasing the contrast, and high-speed solidification of the subject.

Learning to use flash is not only about using a new device, but also about moving into a new field – from passive light capture to active light control.

2、 How do I choose flash?

When selecting flash, you have to mention two parameters: TTL and high-speed synchronization. What is TTL? TTL is the abbreviation of Through The Lens in English, which is translated as “metering through the lens”. In the early days, many flash lamps could not choose brightness (light intensity), and could only control the amount of light by the time of light emission. The time of light emission was determined by the sensor on the flash lamp. The light emitted was reflected back to the sensor, but when the amount of light reached a standard value, the flash lamp would automatically turn off. The appearance of TTL makes the flash measure light directly through the lens. When enough light enters the lens, the flash will turn off, which greatly enhances the usability of the flash.

To take a simple example, the lens plus an ND filter, directly using the first metering method to get the picture will be much darker than the TTL metering method.

Another concept is “high-speed synchronization”, which is common in commercial and civil photography. According to the principle of camera shutter curtain, when the shutter speed exceeds the flash synchronization speed, forced flash will lead to uneven picture exposure. The more time the shutter passes, the greater the proportion of the black unexposed part. The synchronization speed varies with cameras, generally around 1/200 second, and some high-end cameras can reach 1/250. Almost all original flash lamps have high-speed synchronization function.

TTL and high-speed synchronization are basically standard configurations of the original flash.

3、 How to start?

When we talk about flash, your picture may look like this:

Don’t be nervous. Not all flash lights should be so loud. You need to prepare just a camera, an external flash light, a flash guide, and a flash rack to start working. That’s all.

The so-called off-camera flash, as the name implies, means that the flash is far away from the camera. At this time, you need to have a flash guide to synchronize your shutter and flash.

In the past, there would be a flash synchronization line to use off-aircraft flash, but now the wireless technology has been very mature, and the wireless flash indicator is your first choice. How to use: The hot shoe of the receiver is connected to the lower part of the flash, and the hot shoe of the transmitter that has successfully matched the frequency is inserted into the camera, and the synchronization is set.

The feature of wireless flash lighting is that it can not only control a wide range of distance, but also is not limited by location. Connect the wireless flashlight and adjust the settings according to the instructions of the flashlight:

4、 How do I use the off-board flash?

How to combine ambient light with artificial flash is the key to mastering flash.

Ambient light is the light that already exists at the shooting site. It can be the sun, street lamp or other on-site light sources. These light sources have determined the light conditions of the subject. For example, the golden light at dawn or dusk is the most commonly used ambient light.

Of course, if your on-site light source is good enough, we don’t need to use the flash. It is often difficult to obtain the correct exposure when shooting with backlight after nightfall, resulting in a dark main body of the picture, which is the limitation of the ambient light on the scene.

For example, in this picture, the night is low. If you want to keep the details of the clouds, you must measure the light of the sky, but in this way, the characters in the foreground will become black.

To overcome this problem, we need to introduce flash. The same is for background metering, but at this time, you can turn on the flash to light up the foreground (you may need to take more shots to adjust the flash setting, which is normal), and then you can get a picture with bright front and dark back, strong contrast and dramatic.

This is our scene picture. There is a flash light on the left and right of the character. The light on the left is added with a soft light umbrella, because the model’s face is facing to the left, and the light on the left with soft light is more uniform, which can retain more details of the face; On the right is the naked light, which creates a contour light on the right side of the model, forming a strong contrast between light and dark. The mutual cooperation of the two lights makes the light more hierarchical and varied.

This is a typical case of using flash to improve the picture effect. Next, let’s look at another example.

Let’s continue to see, the following picture shows the effect of shooting without flash. Due to the poor angle of the sun light, it will leave a large area of shadow on the face of the character, which is very ugly.

In this case, in addition to changing the position of the model, we can also use flash to solve this problem. As shown in the right figure below, a flash (plus a soft light umbrella) is set on the left side of the character, which can significantly improve the face shadow.

Not only that, we can also set another flash at the left rear of the model, and make the outline light on the left, even show a little star light, so as to improve the texture of the whole picture to a higher level.

This is the scene map of lighting. Have you found the rule slowly?

5、 Two Elements of Getting Started with Flash

We know that there are many factors to judge the characteristics of light in photography, including brightness, illuminance, light ratio, light level, light quality, light effect, light control, light color and other conditions to be considered, but for novices, the most important thing to get started is to grasp the “quality of light” and “angle of light”.

Key element A: quality of light

Through the above two examples, you should be able to draw a conclusion that the larger the light source, the softer the light. If you use a naked lamp directly, the light will be very hard, which is used to create a strong contrast between light and dark; The use of a soft light umbrella can not only make the light reflect slowly, but also expand the area of the light source, thus weakening the shadow caused by hard light and making the model look more soft and delicate.

Key feature B: direction of light

In the two examples we explained earlier, more than one lamp is used. This is because the effect of flash in different directions on shaping the subject is completely different. According to this feature, we can use multiple lights to create more rich and varied light conditions.

The convenience brought by scientific progress is fully reflected here. Today’s lamps are so intelligent and convenient that we can experiment with all kinds of lighting methods at no cost, whether it is the direction of single light or the cooperation of multiple lights. I believe you will enjoy it after you get started.

The so-called interest is the best teacher. The methods summarized above are all to guide you to overcome the fear of off-board flash and quickly get started with flash. On the road, you will find that you have opened a treasure house!