08 Apr 2013

Another ambient/flash balancing speedlite trick

Speedlighting Blog No Comments

Whilst in New York recently I grabbed a quick shot of Tanya on the way to Central Park. I have written before about this neat trick but I never get tired of it and am constantly suprised that more photographers dont use it – largely due to their lack of understanding of light I suspect.¬† I can’t tell you the exact EXIF data as for only the second time ever I deleted the original files by mistake – I know “Back up!” – yes yes but I was on the move….. – “Take a portable back up.” – YES!

So this trick is easy – I was in TV mode (but you could be in any) set a shutter speed that gives you the shot. In this case it was around 1/500 th – I was exposing for the background in this case. Then dial in a negative exposure compensation – say -1 to reduce the dominance of the background. Then put the on camera flash into high speed sync (on the Canon Speedlite it’s the thunderbolt symbol) to get round the sync speed ceiling and dial in a positive flash compensation¬† – say +1. That way we slightly over-expose the subject and bear in mind that high speed sync is a stobe effect and therefore weaker than normal single burst flash.


As a couple or extra pointers make best use of your flash power by ensuring the beam is zoomed in tight and point the flash head at the subject. Remember we are not trying to light the scene just the subject to separate them from the scene.

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