In continuing with our Alphabetical explanations of key photography terms, we’re now at the letter, “F.” And the biggest thing that comes to mind besides film is the thing that many photographers fear: flash. Yes, marketing departments will tell you that their high ISOs are so good that you don’t need a flash. But that’s silly marketing speak–especially coming from a guy that used to work in Social Media Marketing for the photo industry. Flash is all about creating your own light and should be used as a creative tool that can supplement the available light in a situation.
If you want to take your flash photography one step further, the next thing to get is a secondary slave unit that fires off simultaneously with your main flash. Why? Because a single flash unit often won’t suffice to illuminate a whole scene. However, since a good speedlight easily sets you back $100 plus, you may not want to shell out that money right away. That’s okay, though, because Impact lighting is now featuring a new series of slave flashes that come in at less than $30 each.
More experienced users will know that people just dipping their toes into the world of flashes and strobism often try to directly point their flash at a subject and hope for the best. That’s not always the best way to think about it. Direct flash will deliver harsh shadows on a subject, and if you’re going for that Terry Richardson type of look, then go ahead and fire away.
However, speedlites, speedlights and other hot shoe flashes are meant to be used differently. Keep this very quick list of tips in mind: