for photographers

Why do you need a flash and how to use it correctly?

Flash - a necessary thing. Even if you have super-fast lenses in your arsenal and full frame camerashooting at high ISO.

What is flash for?

The most widespread and narrow-minded opinion is that it was light when there is not enough light. Actually this is not true. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, low light can be dealt with thanks to the high ISO and open aperture on a fast lens. But what's wrong with this option and why is the flash still needed?

An external flash is the ability to control light. If we are shooting people in low light, for example, our additional light source in the form of a flash serves two very important functions:

  • separates the object from the background
  • normalizes color temperature

This is especially important during reporting, be it wedding or photo at the party.

Here is for comparison two club photos с и without outbreaks:

photo without flash

photo without flash

photo with flash

photo with flash

It's not for nothing that I raised the topic of high-aperture fixes. Super popular Sigma 35 f1.4 Art does not give any advantages over less fast Canon 35mm f2 IS USMsince luminosity alone does not help when photographing indoors. You can't do without a flash.

I will go through the problems that it solves in more detail. using flash during wedding photography... When you are shooting indoors, the big problem is not so much low light as the nature of the lighting.

  • First, the color temperature. Interiors Kiev registry offices full of all kinds of flowers. They are: deep green (oh, this Goloseevsky registry office), yellow, pink, orange, blue, brown-red with stains (talking about a photo bench in Central Registry Office). Shoot this splendor without a flash ... try it yourself, I won't dare to do that.
  • Second, the location of the light source. During photoshoot You can position the models yourself relative to the light source as you like. When a photographer is shooting a reportage, he cannot afford it. The worst option is when the couple is facing you, and behind them is backlight from a huge window. No super sharp aperture of f1.4, or even f1.0, will help. Only a flash.
  • Thirdly, when photographing people, the diaphragm must be covered. Unless you want to focus on just one person or part of it.

So, we figured out why a flash is needed. Next question:

How do I use flash?

What you should never do is shoot people with a flash head-on. This is both unpleasant for people and ugly in the photo. The correct light is diffused. There are a lot of ways to get diffused light. Here in this article I compared different compact devices to get it. The simplest diffused light is light reflected from the ceiling. The diagram shows how this works.

how to use flash

 But don't rely only on light from the ceiling. For example, in Central Registry Office, the ceiling is so high that you won't get a reflection at all. To solve the problem, put on the back of the flash reflector.

The cheapest and easiest way is to wrap a piece of cardboard on the back with an elastic band or tape. Cheap, angry and inconvenient (for me personally). To make the surface of the reflection larger, and the attachment of the reflector to the flash reliable, I recommend the following thing:

flash (1)

The reflector can be easily removed and put on, it is held with Velcro. This Chinese miracle is for sale somewhere on ebay.

Where else are flashes needed?

Flashes, of course, are needed not only for reporting. A wide scope of their application is Subject photography... Earlier I used the following set for this purpose:

puffs with umbrellas

Now I have switched to studio flashes Arsenal VISICO VT-200 which is very happy.

set for shooting with flash vt-200

I will not dwell in more detail on the use of flashes in subject photography, because this is a topic for a separate article. Moreover, such filming is often best done in photo studios.