Flash photography is done either with a head on compact flash on the camera or with a studio flash lights. With studio flash lights, we have more control over angle and nature of the light (soft, medium soft or hard), whereas a head on compact flash has limited use.
When using flash lights with a compact and EVIL camera, we have to set only aperture and the shutter speed setting is not important unless we are using flash light with available day light. The distance between a flash and a subject is rather more important, which has to be taken into consideration. In case of an SLR or a DSLR camera with focal plane shutters, we have to keep shutter speed at or less than shutter synchronizing speed.
As a flash light throws a powerful burst of light in fraction of a second (1/750 to 1/30000 of a second), any shutter speed will work as long as the shutter is fully open at any given point of time. With copal shutters used in a compact and EVIL cameras, the maximum fastest shutter speed is 1/500th of a second, which is much slower than the slowest flash duration of 1/750th of a second. So exposure will not be affected either we use 1/500 or 1/60 shutter speed as far as there is no bright ambiance light.
In flash photography, we have to set aperture, which depends on the power of light thrown out from a flash and the distance between the flash and the subject. Output power of a flash is a guide number, which is either given in instruction manual or we can find out with the help of a flash meter.
Illumination provided by a flash at one unit distance falls by the factor of inverse square, when unit distance is increased. This means that if we have set a flash at one meter from a subject and we are getting certain brightness, then the brightness will fall to one-fourth value if we double the distance to two meters, and it will fall to one-ninth value if the distance is three meters. (inverse square).
So in terms of aperture, if at one meter, we are getting aperture f 22, then at two meters, we will get f 11 and at three meters, we will get f 7.3
When shooting with multiple flash lights in a studio, use of flash light meter will ease out these complicated calculations. It will also count fall of light by the use of various light attachments.
Advantage with studio flash is we can have more control over nature of light. We can either make it hard, medium soft or soft and diffused. With multiple lights, we can control contrast and tonal value of the photograph.
Flash photography with head on compact flash throws light from front and the result is flat. It is a good choice when we are just shooting pictures for a record purpose. It is very handy and easy to use, and a powerful flash is good enough to illuminate a large group of people. No loose wires are connected, and running over the ground which make you safe with your equipments. This makes a head on flash light, first choice for wedding and publishing house photography.
To understand flash photography in detail, read more about:
Flash light meter
How to use a flash light meter
Shutter and shutter synchronising speed
Read more about various subjects of photography
Digital photography tips
Fine art photography
Food photography tips
High angle photography
Low angle photography
Photography in direct sun light
Royalty free stock photography
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