Making the Most of the TCM Flash Function

On its own, a speedlite may seem like a humble, straightforward piece of equipment. However, for many photographers, learning to manually balance flash photography involves a lot of guesswork and frustration. What many people don’t realize is that the oft-ignored TCM feature can save a lot of hassle when working with off-camera lighting.

What exactly is TCM? As photographer Gavin Hoey from Adorama explains in the video above, it’s an acronym that stands for “TTL Flash Converted to Manual Flash”. TTL mode allows you to grab an initial meter reading, then TCM “locks” that reading into Manual settings. So, in other words, it provides easy metering and consistent lighting results without the need for flash meter readings.

In this demo, Hoey illustrates just how powerful and effective the feature is at capturing correct, consistent exposures over the course of a shifting photo shoot. This unsung hero will put an end to hours spent fumbling with light meters and exposure settings. No longer will you have to worry about your flash fluctuating power between snaps of the shutter.

Best of all, this time-saving technique is equally effective if you’re working with more than one light source! Hoey goes on to explain how he uses remote transmitters to lock in different power readings on separate devices.

It’s not uncommon to avoid flash photography altogether because of the challenges it seems to present. But it doesn’t have to be an insurmountable obstacle. With the push of a button, you have the power to simplify any flash photography assignment thanks to TCM.

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