How to Avoid 8 mistakes With Your Speedlite on Camera

You just got your new flash and you are super eager to use it, of course! Here are some pointers for using your Speedlite. 

 

  1. Harsh light

Don’t point the flash directly at your subject. By pointing up the flash to hit and reflect off of any white surface. The ceiling, the wall behind or next to you. The trick is to soften the light and create a beautiful natural-looking light with soft shadows. You are creating a softbox out of the walls and ceilings around you. 

 

 

  1. Blinding people with Direct flash

Never shoot the flash directly at the person, unless it is completely necessary. In this case, it would be a good idea to switch the TTL option on, so that the flash output is what you need to light your subject correctly. This is measured throughout the lens telling the Flash at what distance your subject is and what intensity light is needed. TTL is an auto function setting, when in doubt use TTL.

 

  1. The black bar

This occurs when your shutter closes quicker than the speed of light. The shutter closes before the light fills the sensor and that’s when the “black bar” or weird line in the photos appears.

On manual flashes, the max sync speed is usually anything between 1/120 – 1/250. The best way around this problem is to get an HSS flash. High Sync Shutter, which now allows you (camera dependent) 1/4000 – 1/8000 of a second.

 

  1. Overheating

Instead of shooting like Rambo at the baddies, slow it down. 

If you have no choice, set your flash to 1/8 or less and up your iso on your camera. You can slow down your shutter speed or open your aperture as well to compensate for the loss of light. 

Choosing the right batteries will also make a significant difference as you need to look at batteries with higher mAh. The Eneloop blacks have proven to be one of the most efficient batteries for this task. Most flashes do have a safety precaution in place to stop the flash from overheating and burning out. 

 

  1. Slow recycling time

This boils back to slowing it down! Rather wait between shots and take time composing giving your flash enough time to recycle or you can dial down on the light intensity, ? or less. As a rule of thumb for me personally, I don’t shoot on 1/1 full power or ½ Half Power unless I have to. 

 

  1. No catchlights!

That little white card that pulls out of the flash head…. That bounces a bit of light back onto your subject. And TADA! You have some catchlights in the eyes. It fills in some of the shadows in the face area as well.

 

  1. The light isn’t spreading wide enough 🙁

That second little almost see-through card that pulls out at the top of the flash head is to increase the spread of the flash. You can Actually set your flash to widespread by setting the flash zoom to 24mm. The narrower you set the zoom to 85mm, 105mm the narrower the spread of the light becomes.

 

  1. Damaging your flash (this is probably a list on its own)

  • Leaving batteries inside the flash. This might cause batteries to swell, leak acid and damage your flash permanently. If you see some acid leakage, use a toothbrush and Purple methylated spirits to clean the area.
  • 360Degrees. When your flash says it can turn 360 Degrees, it doesn’t mean it can turn 360+ degrees around in circles. Internal cables are connecting the flash head to the PC board in the body section. When turning the flash more than 360 degrees you might and probably will break the cables off. When it feels like you are forcing the flash head to turn, STOP!
  • Don’t pull out the white and diffuser card with force. Be gentle. It’s rather easy to insert the diffuser card back in its position, however, if the wide-angle diffuser card breaks off this has a direct impact on the zoom function of the flash and you will need to send it in for repairs.
  • You got a protective pouch for a reason, use it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.