• Sales Line: 0344 8004444
  • Storefinder
Free Delivery
Finance
Price Match
Trade in

Breadcrumb

Go to My Basket Section

Utilising Sony's external flashes

Utilising Sony's external flashes furthers your creative photographic possibilities (Part 1)

Lighting for refined images

Lighting is the key to creating a mood that effectively conveys your artistic intent. Here we'll introduce a few lighting tools and techniques you can use to capture professional quality images.

Guide numbers - External flash for greater distance

“Guide Numbers” specify a flash unit's ability to illuminate subjects at a distance. The guide number is equal to the maximum flash-to-subject distance multiplied by the appropriate aperture F-number: Guide Number (GN) = distance (m) x aperture (F-number)

A guide number of 60 (in meters at ISO 100), for example, means that a subject 15 meters away will be properly illuminated with an aperture setting of F4 (60 = 15 x 4). If you decrease the aperture size to F8, the distance will be halved so that subjects at a maximum distance of 7.5 meters (60 = 7.5 x 8) will be properly illuminated. Boosting the camera’s ISO setting can produce results similar to using a flash unit with a higher GN.

External Flash Units
Bounce Flash
Soften shadows and enhance depth

Although an off-camera flash setup can enhance visual depth, it is usually easier and sometimes just as effective to bounce the light from an on-camera flash unit off a nearby surface such as a wall or ceiling for more natural lighting with enhanced dimensionality. The difference can be dramatic, and since the flash unit stays on the camera you retain maximum mobility and speed. Bouncing the flash also provides broader coverage, and is ideal when you need to light a group of people, for example.

Ceiling Bounce

Direct Flash


Bounce Flash

Aim the flash towards the ceiling to diffuse and spreads the light for softer moods and more sophisticated images than can be achieved with direct flash.

Direct Flash

Bounce Flash

Ceiling bounce

Direct Flash


Bounce Flash

You can also bounce off a wall if you want soft shadows that fall to the side of subject contours. This approach can sometimes blend better with indoor lighting.

Direct Flash

Bounce Flash

Flash Synchronization
High-speed and slow flash sync

To create background bokeh in bright light you need a fast shutter speed with a large aperture. If you also need fill flash the maximum shutter speed will be limited, and that can make it impossible to use a large enough aperture. High-speed sync (HSS) makes it possible to use flash at all shutter speeds, so you can increase the aperture as needed.

Slow sync is used in situations where a slow shutter speed is required to properly expose background scenery indoors or at night. The flash fires to expose the subject, and then rather than closing immediately the shutter remains open for long enough to expose the background as well. This gives you well-balanced images in which both the subject and background are properly exposed.

High-speed sync

Fill-in flash normally limits shutter speed, requiring a small aperture that keeps the background in focus. HSS allows high shutter speed and large aperture for shallow depth-of-field.

High-speed sync

Normal flash properly exposes the subject but the background is dark. With slow-sync flash both the subject and background are correctly exposed.

Next month we are showing you how to work with off camera flashes.