Choose a Flash for Its SLR

When you go into the picture necessarily believed to be equipped with a good housing and good goals… but it is important that you neglect the accessories that will make the difference in your practice.
This is a guest article from Samir of the digital camera Studio blog, which distills his photo, especially on the studio and post-processing tips. So I leave the word
The flash is essential to succeed his photos in light conditions not always obvious. Choose a good flash became quite difficult given the amount of parameters to consider: what kind of flash? What power? What criteria?

Don’t worry, this article from is here to guide you!
Why you should buy an external flash
The importance of light
In photography the determining factor in the success of your photos remains light, by getting the best quality of light as possible that you will put all the chances on your side to succeed your shots.
Master light is not always obvious in many situations using the Sun for good time enough to succeed your images sometimes you are forced to use artificial light, but this is that flash will come to save your life
The disadvantages of the built-in flash
Most amateur photographers, when they start, think that the flash built into their case is an asset, and unfortunately I strongly discourages its use (unless you do not have the choice). The flash built into the boxes have plenty of flaws:
·Leur too low power
·the ‘ inability to rotate to diffuse the light, it is critical
· difficulty to precisely adjust the intensity of the flash
The built-in flash must be a “backup” solution, to really focus on an “external” flash. And if you’re not convinced remember that some pro cameras don’t even have built-in Flash…
The different types of flashes
There are 3 main categories of flashes for different practices, it is important to know about what kind of material to turn its needs.
Flashes cobra
Contrary to what one might think the cobras flashes are not dangerous reptiles
These are the most common external flashes, they are so called because of their shape which is reminiscent of the famous snake. These flashes have many qualities that make them the most popular in the world of photography (even pro photographers!)
·ILS are small and easily transportable (in a bag by ex.).
·ILS have a very good power, we can find models to shed light on a very great distance.
·ILS operate on batteries and/or battery, and so are really versatile.
·Leur form of “cobra” allows to rotate to direct the light where desired, it is an undeniable asset in all situations!
·ILS have an excellent quality/price, there are models ranging from 30 to 400, but by choosing correctly you can get by with a great copy for a hundred euros
Studio flashes
Studio flashes as their name implies are before all reserved to use “fixed”.
·ILS are generally much more powerful than the flashes cobras
· studio flashes operate on battery, so less expensive in batteries
·Sont often supplied with a foot/stand so the position of the light and much more easily editable, no need to be equipped with accessories
·De by their power and their construction they have a time between each much smaller Flash, so you can shoot without gene!
Ring flashes
There is a 3rd type of flashes, these are the “Ring flashes” flashes or annular. Particularly suited to macro photography, you should consider buying one if you are fan of this practice.
They have the particularity of producing pictures without shadows (or at least reduce them to a minimum), and highlight the most textures and colors.
They are sometimes used in photo mode or portrait for a rendering with a light very “hard”. Attention, contrary to what one might believe if you photograph a boxing match “Ring flashes” are not at all suitable…
The 4 essential parameters
To choose precisely the model of the flash need you to pay attention to 4 major criteria:
The power of a flash is given by a number Guide number.
In general this figure is given for a fixed number of ISO: 100 and a “spread” distance, 35mm, 105mm, etc…
According to the use you make this figure must be large enough to allow you to illuminate a subject over a long distance. Don’t forget that more a flash is more powerful he will consume energy and therefore of batteries, and unlike the pink Bunny Duracell your Flash may quickly fall KO
Recycling time
The flash recycling time is the time between 2 flashes. There also according to the use you want to make your flash is an important parameter to take into account, it will also vary depending on the power of the flash used.

  • If you photograph moving subjects and that you need to shoot in burst, prefer a short recycle time
  • A vice versa if you do most of the “posed” portrait you have time to prepare the subject of your photo so the Recycle time matter.

TTL operation
A Speedlight can operate in 2 different ways:

  • in manual mode, it is up to you to set the power of your Flash based on the mood of your scene. It’s pretty “drunk” If you’re new, the advantage of manual mode is that you have total control of the light, the downside is the waste of time… and we all know time is money!
  • in TTL mode is the box and flash that communicate to automatically determine the proper flash for your scene power. This mode is hyper-pratique when you’re a beginner, anyway the most recent flashes are compatible TTL!

Sync speed
Flash sync speed is the speed “limit” beyond which your Flash will more fire. In general it is around 1 / 250 s, beyond the trigger is too fast for your flash to follow.
According to the types of photos that you do it can be interesting to have a high speed (photo of sport for example), there still some flashes in sync high speed that can exceed this limit.
After choosing its flash based on the above criteria it is very useful to equip themselves with some accessories that will bring a real added value to your images (and yes it still takes out his wallet… photography is a passion that eventually cost)
These are in my opinion the most useful accessories, indeed the gross light that is emitted by the flash is often too “hard” and she gives a medium to your images. To soften it and have a better rendering must “broadcast” and “shape” this light to spread it on his subject.
There are different types of diffusers for flash cobra and studio:

  • Des simple plastic ferrules
  • Des umbrellas
  • Des light boxes
  • Des “Snoot”: tubes instead to focus light in 1 point
  • Des grids

This list is not exhaustive, the scattering of light is a complex topic that can be addressed in a future article (if you are wise only)
You can paste on the surface of your flashes of gelatins of colors to color your scene very simply. Gelatins can settle in several ways (scratch, scotch etc.) it’s a great way to create really cheap creative lighting!
Batteries & chargers
Finally if you plan to use your cobra flashes regularly you need to invest in good rechargeable batteries (it is cheaper) along with their charger.
Personally I use the Sanyo Eneloop whose reputation is more to do and which are very practical because they will be discharged almost not when not in use!
A method step by step to make its choice
To sum up here is a diagram of how to identify the good flash according to your practice. By asking you all these questions you will simply identify the flash need you.