Different Types of Flash Photography

Learn The Different Flash Styles and Techniques

By making the smallest of adjustments, you can enhance a photo 100%. The types of flash photography you can use, depends on your camera type.

Compact Digital Camera

If you are using one of these, you are very limited as to what types of flash photography you can experiment with. Either read the relevant section in your camera’s manual, or search for reviews on your particular camera online. This may give you some pointers.

Most modern point and shoots should have a setting whereby you can add fill-in flash. They should also have anti red-eye flash or the ability to turn in off. Practice with each setting and try to get creative.

Nikon Coolpix with Built In Flash

You may be in a situation where you need the camera on Full Auto but do not want the flash to fire.

An easy way to prevent it is to simply put your finger over the flash bulb as you fire.

If you want to diffuse the flash, tape some tissue paper over the flash and vary the thickness to alter the amount of diffusion. There are also various accessories you can buy to do this but check compatibility first.

You can even use the camera’s built-in-flash to fire as many "Slave" units as you like. For example, the Sigma EF Super range, has a built in sensor which picks up your camera’s flash and fires simultaneously without the need for wires.

You can place the "Slave" unit anywhere in the room where it will receive the light, and Hey Presto! You have studio capabilities. Again, check for compatibility.

Advanced Digital Compact Cameras

Hotshoe on Canon Cameras

Your camera may have a manual setting, and a hot-shoe and/or PC-sync socket. If so, you should have the same amount of control over your external flash as a DSLR.

You can either have a hot-shoe mounted flash, or a bracket mounted flashgun like the Metz CL-4. Either way, with the right accessories, you can use the flashgun "off-camera" and get really creative. You can also use the amazing Pocket Wizards with any amount of flashguns or speedlights that you can afford to get uber-creative!

If the camera has an auto built-in flash, I would turn it off as it may affect any readings from other external light sources. Like the compact digitals, you can use as many "slave" units as you wish.

Professional/Semi-Professional DSLR

Hotshoe and PC Sync on Canon DSLR

Obviously as the names suggest, these cameras have the full capability for all types of flash photography or studio lighting.

For some internal photography work, I have on occasion, had 2 flashguns attached to my camera. One unit attached to the camera’s hot-shoe and the other (A Metz CL-4 hammerhead) attached to the base of the camera via the supplied bracket and PC-sync cord.

These days, I use the afore-mentioned Pocket Wizards with two speedlights, both usually off-camera but the system allows you to have one speedlight on top of the transmitter which sits on the hot-shoe of your camera!

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