What is your routine with speedlight flash?

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by sarah_michelle_larsen, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. Hi.
    I'm wondering if I should measure the light with my camera (on manual) before I turn on my speedlight, and then adjust the light.
    Or should I just turn on the speedlight and measure the light right away?
    Thank you.
  2. That's going to depend, among other things, on the effect you want to create and your flash settings -- TTL or manual. Personally, I measure (with a meter) ambient light, set the camera to underexpose 1/2-1 stop, then meter the flash at the correct exposure. This gives me a bit more drama and separation between subject and background.
  3. Thank you Peter. I will try that:)
  4. Sarah:
    I recently wrote a general description of how I use my Nikon i-TTL on-camera flash system in another thread here:
    In a nutshell, I'll typically make an i-TTL test exposure with a subject, evaluate it on the LCD, and, if necessary, make on-the-fly adjustments using the flash compensation dial on my camera (this mostly applies to event coverage--for studio applications, everything is set to manual).
    However, if you also want to expose for the background, that requires a slightly different technique. While my flash is still set to i-TTL mode, I'll typically set the camera in manual mode: First, I'll dial in my preferred shutter speed (the minimum required to freeze most motion, but not more than my flash's sync speed--typically 1/250th). Second, I'll select my preferred aperture (if shooting singles or small groups, generally around f/5.6). Lastly, I'll dial-up my ISO until I can expose for the ambient (background) light level (my flash then automatically adjusts its i-TTL output accordingly). Since I'm shooting with full-frame bodies, I have quite a bit of headroom with my ISO setting before the noise level becomes unacceptable. If I find that I still need more exposure for the ambient, I'll drop my shutter speed slightly (e.g., 1/160th), and/or open up my aperture slightly. If it's really dark, I'll switch to a faster prime, open up, and focus as precisely as possible, often hovering an active focus point over the subject's eye.
    I'm not the be-all, end-all authority on this--these are just the techniques that I use.

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