Getting Started in Flash Photography Pt 2

flash photography, exposure

Last week we kicked off our flash photography series by talking about how your shutter speed relates to flash exposure. Today we’re going to go over how aperture plays into that equation!

Unlike shutter speed, your aperture setting directly impacts your flash exposure when you are shooting with manual flash. As you know aperture controls the amount of light that you let into your camera. So if you’re using manual flash on a set power, your flash will either be brighter or darker based on how wide you open your aperture.

If you are in a setting where you don’t want your flash to be too bright, like at a reception, simply open your aperture wider to let more of that light in. In the same way, if you have to keep your aperture at a certain setting and your exposure is still dark (higher than f4 for example), you’ll want to compensate by turning up your flash power to get the right exposure.

In the same way, let’s say you have your off camera flash in manual set to a certain power. The closer you get to your flash, the more you will want to increase or close down your aperture. The further away you are, the more you will want to open it up.

When it comes to ISO, it controls the overall sensitivity to light in the image. The higher your turn it up the grainier it will be. With flash, I personally like to keep it low. However if you are in a dark venue, you might have to increase your ISO to keep your aperture setting where you like as well as keep your flash power to a setting where it can recycle quickly.

Speaking of dark venues… If you are a wedding photographer, I highly recommend getting a battery pack to save your flash from shooting at high powers and switching out your batteries throughout the night. I like to have two flash stands set up so that I don’t have to rely on one to cover an entire venue. It limits where you can photograph unless you use your on camera flash with it as well.

For the next part of this series, we’ll discuss different ways you can set up your flashes during a wedding reception!

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