Episode 25 Show Notes: Flash Photography ft. Joe Fitzpatrick

Peggy Farren 2017-02-28

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Here are the show notes for episode 25 of The Understand Photography Show:

Understand Photography General Notes

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Show Notes for Episode 25: Flash Photography ft. Joe Fitzpatrick

TTL metering means through-the-lens metering. On a Nikon it's called ITTL (intelligent), and on a Canon it's called ETTL2 (evaluative).

When the TTL meters through the camera, the flash is also metering.

When purchasing flash:
The brands sell proprietary systems that are unique to each brand. You should either stay within the same brand, or you can purchase a third-party brand-compatible flash. Peggy and Joe recommend against mixing brands.

When the TTL is on, on both on- and off-camera flash:
When you press the shutter button, the camera meters the screne without flash. Then the camera fires the pre-flash and looks at the brightness. It compares the brightness of every metering point, and assumes the brighter parts are the intended subject. It then adjusts the flash output to get the proper exposure. Then the main flash fires. This process all happens within a matter of milliseconds.

Flash in ETTL is like automatic mode, so it doesn't always achieve exactly what you're going for. Sometimes, when the background is bright (mirror, sun, glass), the light reflects back to the camera and throws it off during the TTL process. The remedy to this is either exposure compensation to make the flash darker or lighter -- or as Peggy always teaches -- SHOOT IN MANUAL!

"When you learn something under stress, you really learn it."
- Peggy Farren

Using flash in manual mode
- It varies over a wide range in 1/3 stop increments, so you can fine-tune it very precisely.
- Give another 1 count after the ready light to expose properly.
- To know how to adjust your settings, you have to make a decision: do you want the background black or to get the actual background?
- For a beach sunset, you set the meter to the background (mid-tone) and adjust the other settings. Take a test picture. Then test the flash separately. You have to guess the flash setting at first, and eventually you can test it based on experience.
- If you're using on-camera flash, you either need to stay in the same spot, or you have to adjust as you move forward or backward. Moving closer or further away affects how the flash illuminates the subject/background.

Just because your battery is stong enough for the camera to be on or capture a photo, doesn't mean it is enough to power the flash. It's a good idea to bring fresh, new batteries with you in case your flash is not performing like it needs to. Batteries that are recommended are Eneloop or Maha. Rechargeable batteries are an awesome investment!

Your camera settings can also affect the flash. As you adjust the aperture, it reduces or allows more light in. The shutter speed has no affect on the flash - maybe the ambient light, but not the flash because the flash is happening so fast.

How do you choose which flash to buy?

  • Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite Flash: $500-550
  • Canon 430EX III RT Speedlite Flash: $300
  • Peggy recommends buying the strongest flash you can get.
  • You definitely want TTL flash, and need something compatible with your system (ITTL Nikon, ETTL Canon).
  • With Yongnuo and similar brands, the top of the line will be in the $300 range instead of the $600 range.

Guide numbers:
- A guide number is used to help figure out the flash you need. It is calculated by the distance multiplied by the f-stop.
- If the guide number is 80 and you want to shoot at f8, you can properly expose the subject at 10 feet away.
- You have to ask: the guide number is for what lens focal length?
- Generally the bigger the guide number, the stronger the flash.

Flashes made by Canon, Nikon, and other manufacturer brands last longer, are better built, and more reliable.

Nikon has creative lighting system (CLS), which is closer to Canon's ETTL.

Focus Assist is a flash that emits to give the metering system something to look at.

When red-eye reduction is enabled, it emits two flashes. The red is actually caused because it is illuminating the blood vessels in the back of the eye. The red-eye pre-flash is used to get the subject's eyes used to the flash and avoid it occuring in the picture.

See you next week for episode 26!

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Peggy Farren is an award winning, professional photographer, instructor, writer and speaker.

With over 17 years as a full-time professional photographer, Peggy offers photography training through her training center, “Understand Photography”.

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