The Most Important Flash Types You Need To Know

Introducing The Most Important Flash Types You Need To Know. A camera works by gathering light that is reflected off objects and exposing that light to its sensor. Cameras take such poor quality photographs in low light because not enough reflected light photons are being recorded on this digital plate. This is where the use of a flash can be useful.

Yes, sometimes flash photography is used to create certain visual aesthetics. But for the most part, they are used to bounce enough light off a subject for the camera’s sensor to capture a decently exposed photograph. There are many different types of flash options available to photographers in a variety to suit all needs, creative styles and budgets

1. Types of Flash

1.1. Internal Flash

Internal Flash - The Most Important Flash Types You Need To Know

Internal flash units are those which are built into the camera body itself. Most compact camera systems have this type of flash, while only some DSLR and mirrorless systems will include these.

An internal flash is easy to use and sometimes needed in situations, mainly when recording the moment is vital, but the overall image quality isn’t impressive. This is why many compact cameras will feature these. Despite being good to capture moments in low light, these flash systems come with several weaknesses.

Although the camera will judge the flashes’ power output, there is no way to adjust this manually. Their small size also means that they can’t light subjects in some environments even at their max power. Furthermore, they only shoot in one direction, which means a lack of creative control over the lighting in a scene. Lastly, because they are part of the camera’s body, they drain the battery fast.

1.2. External Flash Units

External Flash - The Most Important Flash Types You Need To Know

This type of flash unit is separate from the camera body and uses its own power source. They can be attached to the camera hot shoe (the socket with electrical contacts on the top of the camera) as a “Master” unit or off-camera as a “slave” unit.

These external units come in smaller, more compact versions for weight-conscious photographers or larger versions for those wanting larger output levels at their disposal. There are also speciality external flash units made for certain types of photography, such as macro photography.

To summarise, an external flash unit is intuitive and easy to use. Most modern units will have a “through the lens” (TTL) setting, which uses data from the camera to trigger the flash at the appropriate power setting. However, even when not using this mode, it is still easy to program the power of a Speed light. Do not be put off by the prospect of having to learn something new. A flashgun should be one of the first pieces of gear you purchase as a photographer.

1.3. Large Flash Units

Large Flash Units

Much larger than speed lights, these units have their own power source. Which will usually come from mains power but can also be from a battery. The output display is measured in watts (W) rather than a guide number (GN) or battery icon. These units have much shorter recycle times when compared to speed lights which make for stress-free shooting.

These lights are most often used in commercial photography and in studio environments. They can often be quite expensive, although there are a lot of lower-priced options that still make shooting with them open to non-professionals. Most photographers choose to use an umbrella or soft-box with these units rather than exposing a full flash.

2. Conclusion

That’s it for Introducing Flash Photography: Types Of Flash. Remember, lighting is the most influential element in photography and goes far beyond making sure you can shoot a decently exposed image. Moreover, It has the power to create depth, contrast, highlight subjects, and provoke emotion. As a result, the lighting used by a photographer has a crucial role to play in the overall effect of their composition.

Understanding the different types of lighting there are is the first step on the road to utilising these sources of light. Use this list as a starting point, but dive deeper into your research on the topic to make sure you get the most out of your photography.

The Most Important Flash Types You Need To Know, The Most Important Flash Types You Need To Know, The Most Important Flash Types You Need To Know

David Davis
David Davis
Hi, My name is Dave, and I am passionate about photography. I am currently travelling to document the world's most interesting people and places. I have started this blog to share these incredible sights and experiences with you, including all the knowledge I gain as a photographer/videographer along the way. If you share a passion for street, documentary, and travel photography, join the mailing list and stay up to date with the latest posts and resources direct from the field.

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