3 Basics of Flash Photography

Using flash in photography is not just a matter of illuminating the subjects. When used properly, it can craft the shape of the subject, add contrast, and even set a mood to the image. It’s thus quite essential that you learn to use flash the correct way if you want to develop as a photographer. To help you with using flash, Pye Jirsa with Adorama talks you through three common misconceptions associated with it:

Understand the inverse square law. This law simply says that the further you take the light away from the subject, the light reaching the subject will be decreased by a factor that’s the square of the distance. Simply stated, the light will fall off rapidly as the distance between the subject and the light increases. So, if you need to move the lights around during the course of a shoot, keep in mind that you’ll need to adjust the flash power or the camera settings for proper exposure.

Although they sound similar, soft light differs from diffused light. Sources of light that are larger in size produce soft light. Whereas a diffused light is light that has passed through some translucent material like a fabric. They produce less specular highlights.

Flash units don’t pump out all their power instantaneously. They need to build up that power, reach a peak, and then fade out. This cycle is known as flash duration.

“At full power, you’re going to have the slowest flash duration.”

Slower flash duration means that you won’t be able to completely freeze a subject in motion. To freeze motion completely, be sure to lower the flash duration by turning down the power and increasing the ISO.

We hope these three things won’t confuse you in the coming days when working with flash. What other questions do you have regarding flash photography? Let us know.

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