Understanding Flash Photography a Little Better…With a Garden Hose

Generally speaking, it’s easier to learn new things if we have something familiar that we can compare it to. We essentially use what we know as fact to create a bridge of sorts to the unknown, making the learning process naturally flow. This is exactly the approach Mike Browne decided to take when creating a video tutorial on lighting. Browne takes an ordinary garden hose and uses it to exemplify the way a speedlight emits light and how you, as a photographer, can control it:

In the video, Browne gives examples of different ways you can use a speedlight and explains their differences by comparing them to water spraying from a hose. Clever!


Shooting with the flash aimed directly at your subject.

soft light

Adding a diffuser will soften the light slightly.

diffused light

Bouncing the flash off the wall will produce even softer light.

“When you get a blast of full on [light] that’s when you’re going to get burnt highlights and black background. It’s not a nice kind of light at all.”

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