The Digital Photo Guy

Manual Flash Tips

by on Jan.24, 2010, under Monday Morning Tips

Why a Manual Flash is Good for You

Last week, we reviewed the LumoPro 120 and showed how it stacked up against Canon dedicated flashes. Today, we’ll cover some flash basics and show why a manual flash is a good tool for learning flash techniques other than just saving money.

When you use ETTL (Canon) or iTTL (Nikon) or any other automatic flash system, the flash and camera communicate to make all the decisions for you. This is fine for most snapshots where people accept the harsh, flat, deer-in-the-headlights look of straight-on flash. But, when you want to step up your flash photography, manual control of a  remote flash is a much better.

Here’s an example of a remote flash at work. I placed the flash on the seat of the car and fired it with a remote. Without the remote, it would have just been another antique car photo.

Every flash tutorial tells you to bounce the flash off the ceiling or wall for a softer, more even light. What they don’t tell you is that it can take just as much effort to dial-in the correct amount of flash using TTL and FEC (flash exposure compensation). Third, remote FEC is only available when using a long cable or an expensive OEM flash trigger like the Canon ST-E2 (~US$200). Nikon shooters catch a break because many Nikon dSLR/flash combos have a cool Commander Mode that lets you wirelessly control remote flashes.

The full MMT is available as a PDF in the Archives (free registration required).

FREE Flash Photoshoot – 1/30/10

Next weekend, I’ll rehearse my new flash photoshoot workshop at Deer Park Winery and Auto Museum (above photo) in Escondido. You’re welcome to join me for free from 10AM to 1PM. Museum entry fee is $5. I reserve the right to limit the number of participants because the museum is crowded and I don’t want any accidents damaging the cars. Those who preregister and show up at 10AM will be at the top of the list.

Palomar College dSLR and Photoshop Elements Webinars

If you don’t live in San Diego County or don’t want to spend 6 weeks in my Photoshop Elements class, there’s an alternative. For the past 5 years, I’ve taught at Palomar College in North San Diego County. Last year, I finally convinced the administration to let me teach via webinar. We’ve had students from all over CA and the southwest. The school is now convinced that webinars are a viable form of delivery.

If you’d like to register for a 3-hour dSLR Class or PSE for Digital Photographers, please follow the links.

Anza-Borrego Wildflower Photoshoot Workshop

This week’s rains portend a great desert wildflower display this spring. This year, I’ve moved the location to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to make it easier for people who want to stay overnight.

I spoke to rangers at the Visitors’ Center and got some great insight on where they believe the spring wildflowers will be best. We saw lots of ocotillo with early blooms and the snow on the distant mountains was spectacular. You can follow the progress of the wildflower bloom here.

There will be three choices of workshop dates, Saturday March 20, Sunday March 21 or both days. Click here for more details.

One Million Hits in Less Then One Year

This site was launched on Febuary 7, 2009. Sometime last week, we exceeded 1 million hits in less than 1 year. Thanks to everyone who has helped make this site so popular.

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2 Comments for this entry

  • Edwin N Weidman

    How do I register for this Program:MMT?

    • Lee

      On the right side of any page except the home page, there’s a registration form. Once you fill in the form, you’ll rx an e-mail asking you to confirm that you asked to register (keeps jokesters from wasting your time or mine). Reply to that e-mail and I’m notified to send you a password.

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