Flash seems to be the Achilles’ heal of many beginner photographers, and why wouldn’t it be? A quick Internet search confronted me with jargon such as “TTL”, “Inverse Square Law”, “Fall off”, “Sync Speed”, “Guide numbers” to name only a few.
Flashes or speedlights, as they are also known, produce instant light, which is only visible for a millisecond. Instant light is not difficult to understand or use, just different from ambient or constant light and once the basics are understood, you might even fall in love with photography all over again.
This blog is aimed at the absolute beginner, but hopefully contains more than enough information to have you take the flash out your camera bag – there is a reason you bought it after all… Flash light is extra or fill-in light. It comes with the advantage that we can control it, from its strength to its direction; we can aim it and modify it until it is exactly how we want it. We can control the shadows it makes on our subject and in doing so we can bring out the best in our subjects shape and or features. It has the advantage that it can freeze movement.
It is light that is easy and convenient to modify, but lets clarify some of the jargon first.