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Understanding the correlation between Flash and Shutter speed

Understanding the correlation between Flash and Shutter speed


Have you ever worked on with the flash photography? If not, you are on the right path to read this article and get the knowledge about it.

You might have already known that flash is utilized when a photographer needs to pop-up the face of an individual. In this article, we will touch upon how to sync flash and shutter speed for capturing the perfect flashy portraits and also we recommend you the probable camera settings which can be used during flash photography.

So, let’s understand the concept in a simple way

When utilizing flash for portraits, you must ensure the shutter speed value does not exceed the flash sync speed.

For example, if your camera’s flash sync speed value is 1/200s, and you set the shutter speed value of 1/400s then, you can notice top portion of the image gets darker and the rest being brightened up. Look at an image below.

Note:  The above image shows, the shutter of the camera has already started to close down before the flash popping-in. As a result, the flash has never popped up in the top layer, and the camera’s sensor has acquired only the ambient light of the area which it had at that particular moment of time, leading the top layer to be dark. The rest of the area has been brighter since the shutter was exposed and the flash was popped-in.

Henceforth, it is important you set the shutter value less than flash speed value for producing a perfect flashy portrait.

To explain in detail, ‘lesser shutter value than the flash speed value means,’ longer the time shutter is wide opened to acquire the flash into the camera’s sensor. Hence, you get to see a preview with the perfect exposed image.

For example, if your camera’s flash sync speed is 1/200s and you set the shutter speed to 1/50s or 1/100s then, the shutter has a significant amount of time to acquire the flash with the ambient light to the camera’s sensor. Thus, you get a perfect flashlight portrait.

The picture was taken from Pexels and Photo by Pixabay

‘Flashes create beautiful portrait’

Camera settings when using flash

Normally, you know that flash is utilized during the low-light situations. Probable camera settings to recommend during flash photography are; set an ISO between 100 and 400. Lowest ISO prevents noise in the images. So, it is always safer to use the lowest ISO.

Aperture settings should be set on how much depth of field (sharpness) you want. If you require a broader depth of field, utilize f/16 or greater. If you need shallower depth of field, utilize aperture of f/2.8 or f/4. Normally, for portraits, shallower depth of field is used, and for the night wedding flash photography, photographers normally set the broader depth of field.

Shutter speed must be set based on the aperture you have set. If set at a wider aperture that is f/2.8 or f/4 more light enters through the lens due to wider opening. Hence, just set the shutter speed slightly below your camera’s flash sync speed value or exactly equal to it to avoid excess light entering into the lens, which can cause an overexposed image. Your approximate camera’s flash sync speed value can be identified through your manual. If you are using smaller aperture/ higher f-number then, you can utilize much slower shutter speed. For example; 1/200s is the maximum flash sync value of your camera, you can use shutter value much slower that is 1/50s or 1/25s. The reason why you can set much slower shutter value is since you have set higher f-number (f/16 or higher) less light enters the lens. The due reason is hole gets smaller when each f-stop is increased. Hence, setting slower/longer shutter speed assists you in acquiring more light to the lens and gets you the right exposed flashy portraits.

If you’re a commercial photographer or on the process of entering photography business, ensure your images are skilfully retouched, and perfectly exposed. You can take these assistances from photo editing service provider to ensure your images are looking great and engaging. Some of the services provided by photo editing services providers are; blemish removal, hair color change, red-eye removal, skin-smoothing, braces removal, exposure adjustment, facial glare removal, image masking and many more.

Look at the sample of before and after portrait below.

The picture was taken from Pexels and Photo by Bruce Mars

The above image is yet to be post-processed. Now, look below.

Expertly retouched face to clean the spots, and made it much better.

Ultimately, when using a flash for photography, setting the right shutter speed for your camera is necessary to get a beautiful portrait. By ensuring the shutter speed is not exceeding flash sync speed, you would succeed in getting the best of the portrait with the perfect exposed image.

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