Understanding flash photography and flashes...

Discussion in 'Education' started by BratNikotin, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. Can anyone here help or direct me to some resources to understanding flash photography and flashes...

    There are so many features on the flash, but I am not aware on how to and what maybe more important - why to use them

    I have a very old, Nikon SB-600 and Yongoo (910.. something)
    Have no manuals for either, but ,, never the less. I understand the words on the controls, but I do not know what I may need that or this button for,
    What I am asking is: How can I design my mental path, to know that for this-that -and-such, I would need to do certain things on the flash ? SO the question is not really about how to use a flash technically, but more on what does it do for me, and do I recognize the need for a particular feature ?
    Maybe books/articles ? any educational resources ?
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

  3. I can't really find useful manual for the Youngnuo but with the Nikon all you need is the manual which can be downloaded from the Nikon website.
  4. AJG


    If you want to more about lighting in general the best book that I know of is Light: Science and Magic. This won't have specific information relating to the controls on your flash, but if you're looking for more understanding about light and how to use it this is a great source.
  5. It sounds like you are asking more about lighting, and less about how to operate a speedlight. Is this correct?

    Lighting is mainly about power (do I have enough light?) and quality (do I like the aesthetic character of the light?).

    If portrait is your genre, then read these websites thoroughly:
    - Sekonic
    - Profoto
    - Strobist
    - Flickr with the search term "portrait"

    Spend time (hours and days), looking at images in your genre (portrait, as one example):
    - Flemish Renaissance painters
    - the Peales (Rembrandt and Charles Willson)
    - Yusuf Karsh
    - Annie Leibovitz

    After you have done the above, you will be a lot further down the road of learning.
  6. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Strobist Looked it over yesterday, seems useful.
  7. Let's start with the counter question about cameras you intend to use.
    Nikon TTL system flashes work as such only with Nikons.
    • TTL flash is awesome sauce. - You do your guide number math to determine you'll have enough power put your flash on TTL and let it make sure that your picture won't get overexposed, although you might have enough power to do that. - Really convenient! (Although you might end feeling a need to dial in a flash exposure compensation after checking a first shot)
    • Wireless TTL (optically): Meant to control flashes, you put around your subject, automatically. Needs to get set up. - Make one flash on camera "master" the others "slaves" put them on the same channel and into the right mode... No clue if this really works if it requires exposure compensations to tell one slave to be main and another to be fill. I also guess that you might need 3 flashes in total one as the transmitter ion camera (not lighting the scene) and a main and a fill. Sometimes the built in flashes in some cameras can serve as the master in a small setup.
    • Wireless TTL via radio remote: The same but more convenient; remotes weigh less than a flash. other photographers are less likely to trigger your set lots of light don't interfere with the flash command transmission... - Yongnuo tend to offer such remotes for their flashes. No clue if those will trigger Nikon units too.
    • Wireless remote for manual flash: Highly desirable feature! You can bury a flash inside a modifier (like a brolly box on a light stand) and don't need to walk to it and remove the modifier to access the flash's output setting. Put each unit on a different channel of your wireless remote. This is really great if you are trying to do precise studio work and it works with any digital camera with a hotshoe, not just Nikon.
    • High speed sync: Makes the flash fire multiple small discharges each to expose a bit of your image through the narrow slit of your FP shutter set to something higher than sync speed. - I haven't tried that feature. - Its for using fill flash while shooting wide open in broad daylight. it reduces absolute flash power drastically. - Try it out, if you feel a need for it.
    • Auto thyristor modes: Meant to serve with cameras that don't support Nikon TTL. - Your digital Leica? Your old F or Argus ? - If you could use TTL instead forget about them.
    • Manual mode: If you want precise reproducable results, with nothing fooling your TTL auto exposure and have the time to do multiple test exposures, they seem still the way to go.
    IDK what you'll need. I want hotshoe flashes to work in TTL mode for convenient casual / journalistic shooting. - If that feature is horribly overpriced (as in Leica rebadged Metz units) I'll stick to Autothyristor and manual. - In a studio setting I'll most likely pick manual. manual with wireless remote is convenient as mentioned above I think I have 2 Yongnuos and one remote that work together but only tried them on camera in TTL so far. for bigger setups I'll toss in a few more simple flashes, that will get optically* triggered by the others.
    (*= Yes! Optically triggered ain't great. OTOH my friends & family aren't famous enough to hold press conferences in their kitchens or living rooms.)
    I am not overly sure about wireless TTL because I haven't dabbled enough with it. For camera in right-, flash in left hand approach a TTL extension cord can do the same trick. - I am not sure if it works smoothly with other systems; my 3rd party for Pentax one demands exposure compensation. - Maybe the additional contacts eat signal voltage?
    Get Eneloop batteries! & kind of enough appropriate chargers. - If you want to be anal & better safe than sorry pick at least one charger capable of measuring the capacity of each individual battery and note your measurements on the batteries with a different colored sharpie every 2 years.
    Other quickly self discharging batteries permit faster flash recycle times. To hobbyists I don't recommend those primarily. - Get Eneloops for everything +50% backup Eneloops & fast self-discharging batteries on top of that for very special needs, if at all. - FTR: You can overheat a hotshoe flash with too much machine gunnery. IMHO batteries needing recharge before each and every somewhat serious shooting can be very annoying.
  8. - Irving Penn

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