Photography is an art that requires a lot of skill and knowledge to get right.

There are many techniques and tools that photographers use to create stunning images, and one of them is flash photography.

Flashing in photography is a technique that involves using a flash to add light to a scene or subject being photographed.

In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about flashing in photography, from the different types of flashes to the best practices for using them.

Types of Flashes

There are two main types of flashes that photographers use: external flashes and built-in flashes.

External flashes, also known as speedlights, are separate units that attach to a camera’s hot shoe or are mounted on a stand.

They are more powerful than built-in flashes and offer more control over the direction of light.

Built-in flashes are small, low-powered flashes that are built into the camera body.

They are convenient for quick snapshots but are not suitable for professional photography.

In addition to external and built-in flashes, photographers can also use studio strobes, which are powerful flashes that are used in a studio environment.

These strobes are typically mounted on stands and are triggered by a wireless remote or a sync cable.

Studio strobes are ideal for portrait and product photography.

Flash Modes

Flashes have different modes that control how they emit light.

The most common flash modes are TTL (through the lens) and manual.

TTL mode measures the amount of light that is reflected back into the camera and adjusts the flash output accordingly.

This mode is ideal for situations where the lighting conditions are constantly changing, such as in outdoor photography.


Manual mode, on the other hand, allows the photographer to manually adjust the flash output.

This mode is ideal for situations where the lighting conditions are consistent, such as in a studio environment.

Flash Compensation

Flash compensation is a feature that allows the photographer to adjust the power output of the flash.

This feature is important because it allows the photographer to balance the flash output with the ambient light.

For example, if the ambient light is too bright, the photographer can reduce the flash output to avoid overexposing the image.

On the other hand, if the ambient light is too dark, the photographer can increase the flash output to properly expose the image.

Flash Sync Speed

Flash sync speed is the maximum shutter speed that can be used when using flash photography.

This is important because if the shutter speed is too fast, the flash may not have enough time to properly expose the image.

The flash sync speed varies depending on the camera model and the type of flash being used.

In general, DSLR cameras have a higher flash sync speed than mirrorless cameras.

Best Practices for Flash Photography

Now that we’ve covered the basics of flashing in photography, let’s discuss some best practices for using flash in your photography.

Use flash as a fill light:

Flash can be used to fill in shadows and create a more balanced exposure.

This technique is known as fill flash and is particularly useful in outdoor photography where the subject is backlit.

Use flash to freeze motion:

Flash has the ability to freeze motion, making it ideal for action photography.

To freeze motion, use a fast shutter speed and adjust the flash output accordingly.

Use diffusers and modifiers:


Flash can create harsh and unflattering light, especially when used at full power.

To soften the light, use a diffuser or modifier such as a softbox or umbrella.

Use flash compensation:

As mentioned earlier, flash compensation allows you to balance the flash output with the ambient light.

Use this feature to create a more natural-looking image.

Experiment with different flash modes:

Try using TTL and manual modes to see which one works best for your situation.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with flash output and flash sync speed as well.

Flashing in Photography – Wrap Up

Flashing in photography is a powerful technique that can add depth and dimension to your images.

By understanding the different types of flashes, flash modes, and best practices for using flash, you can take your photography to the next level.

Remember to experiment and have fun with flash photography, and don’t be afraid to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

Happy shooting!