"A portable flash set up - Godox Ving speed light, speed light mounted soft box, Yongnuo 622 triggers"
If you are looking to improve your flash photography skills you may find the following 5 basic flash photography tips useful:-
1. Basic flash photography tips – don’t mix light sources
Mixing light sources, and the results of mixing light sources, is something I see time and time again in flash photography and I have to say it is not a good idea. Different types of lights have different colour temperatures and trying to balance several different light sources is a real faff. Sure it can be done, using gels and the like, but it takes time, it takes a thorough understanding of light and it is a total pain in the ass.
Rather than trying to balance several different light sources I would recommend using a single light source for flash photography, i.e. the flash itself and nothing else – including natural light. Block out natural daylight as much as you can, turn off all artificial lights and light the subject using flash light (multiple speed lights if needed) only.
2. Basic flash photography tips – Learn to use ETTL
One thing I have noticed about photography tutorials and photographers offering help and advice is that they all suggest using full manual settings at all times. None of the blogs, journals and articles I have read recommend using ETTL over manual flash, which is weird.
There are times and situations when setting the flash power manually isn’t feasible and doing so will lead to missed shots, such as when the flash to subject distance continuously changes. In these situations ETTL (tweaked using flash exposure compensation) is the way forward.
Many photographers comment ETTL is inconsistent and “hit or miss” however I can only put this down to user error. If you know how to use ETTL properly, know how to use the flash exposure compensation, know when to use flash exposure compensation and know how much flash exposure compensation to apply you will get consistent results time and time again using ETTL.
3. Basic flash photography tips – use light modifiers
The light emitted from a flash or speed light can be harsh, even when the power is set down low, therefore I would always recommend using some type of modifier to soften the light and eliminate hot spots.
There are many different types of light modifier available, and the most suitable will depend on the specific situation. If I have the opportunity to set up some flash lights and the model is going to be in one spot I will use shoot through brollies, because I find these give the best results. If I am at an event, working the room and taking photos with the flash on camera I will use a small soft box attached to the speed light with a cinch strap.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a single light modifier that will give the best results in all situations and you will need different types of light modifiers, and those I recommend you have include shoot through brollies, a large soft box, a speed light mounted soft box and small reflectors.
4. Basic flash photography tips – Get the flash off camera
If you want to improve your flash photos instantly all I can say is “get the flash off camera”. Taking the flash off the camera opens up a whole world of creative opportunities. When you take the flash off camera you have total control over where and how you light the subject.
If you want to take your flash off camera you are going to need an extra bit of equipment to get the flash to fire when you press the shutter button, and the bit of equipment I use is the Yongnuo 622 flash trigger and TX transmitter. There are other flash triggers available, such as the Pocket Wizards, but these are a lot more expensive than the Yongnuo triggers but no better. If you want to fire your flash off camera I highly recommend the Yongnuo brand.
5. Basic flash photography tips – Forget about bouncing the flash
I have read many blog posts, journals and articles on bouncing flash and how good it is, however I have to disagree. Working out the flash power (manually) when bouncing it is a challenge and the chances of getting it right are slim. Bouncing the flash light using ETTL is going to confuse the hell out of your camera and it will over or under expose all over the place.
The best thing you can do is forget about bouncing the flash and use a modifier to soften the light and prevent hot spots instead.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.