O'Reilly logo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

The Flash Book

Book Description

Scott Kelby, the world’s #1 best-selling photography technique books author, is here with a new concept in photography and flash books—one that’s designed from the ground up to get you straight to whatever it is you need to do with a flash right now, get your answer fast, and get you back to shooting with your flash.
Thanks to inexpensive flashes that are compatible with all major camera manufacturers (such as Yongnuo), owning and using a flash is now easily within reach for nearly all shooters, whether you're a hobbyist or aspriring professional. Once you own a flash, though, you'll have a lot of questions about how to get it to create the light you need—questions about camera and flash settings, questions about direction, quality, and quantity of light. And in addition to knowing how to use your flash, you need to know which modifiers and triggers you might need, and you need to learn use them quickly.
That’s why this book was created: to quickly get you to the technique, the setting, or exactly the right thing you need to do right now to improve your work.
Here’s how it works: When you need to know how to do a particular thing, you turn to the chapter where it would be found, find the thing you need to do (it’s easy, each page covers just one single topic), and Scott tells you exactly how to do it just like he was sitting there beside you, using the same casual style as if he were telling a friend. That way, you get back to shooting fast.
This isn’t a book of theory, full of confusing jargon and detailed multi-step concepts. This is a book on which button to click, which setting to use, and exactly how and when to use it, so you’re never “stuck” wondering how to use your flash again. This will be your “go to” book that sits within reach any time you’re shooting with flash, and you are going to love having this type of help right at your fingertips.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. About the Author
  7. Contents
  8. Chapter 1 Flash Controls and Settings: Ya gotta start somewhere, right?
    1. Seven Things You Need to Know Now. If You Skip Them . . .
    2. Same Thing Over Here. Skip Them at Your Own Peril!
    3. Here’s Another Thing
    4. These Are the Last Two
    5. You’re About to Learn a “System”
    6. You’re Not Going to Mess with the Back of Your Flash a Whole Bunch. Or at All
    7. Say Hello to “Mister Flash!”
    8. Why TTL Might Be Making You Hate Your Flash
    9. The Most Common Reason Flash Shots Look Bad
    10. Don’t Put Your Flash on Top of Your Camera
    11. Don’t Use Your Pop-Up Flash to Try to Fire Your Hot Shoe Flash. Ever
    12. Why You Need a Wireless Controller
    13. Why You Don’t Want Just a Wireless Trigger
    14. The Difference Between Optical and Radio Wireless
    15. What If Your Flash Doesn’t Have Built-In RF Wireless?
    16. Troubleshooting: If Your Flash Doesn’t Fire
    17. Understanding the Whole “Brightness” Thing
    18. What to Do When 1/2 Power Is Too Bright
    19. How to Change the Power (Brightness) of Your Flash
    20. Where to Set Your Power to Start
    21. Why I Recommend You Set Your Flash to Manual Mode
    22. Putting Your Flash Into Manual Mode
    23. Getting Your Flash to Refresh Faster
    24. Which Type of Batteries to Use
  9. Chapter 2 Next Level Flash Stuff: It’s that stuff. At the next level
    1. Using More Than One Flash? Then Using the Group Feature Will Make Things Much Easier
    2. How I Assign My Groups
    3. Putting More Than One Flash in a Group
    4. Using Channels to Keep Other Photographers from Accidentally Firing Your Flash
    5. Slave Mode Lets You Fire a Second Flash without Wireless
    6. Getting More Power Than Maximum
    7. Want Your Beam Wider or Tighter?
    8. Your Flash’s Modeling Light
    9. Want to Make the Light a Little Less Harsh? Put on a Diffusion Cap
    10. When Diffusion Caps Don’t Work
    11. Your Flash Has a Built-In Wide-Angle Diffuser . . .
    12. Using Your Flash’s White Bounce Card
    13. Do You Need a Flash Meter?
    14. How to Wait Less Time Between Flashes
    15. Freezing Motion
    16. Getting Soft Blurry Backgrounds with Flash. Spoiler Alert: You Use High-Speed Sync
  10. Chapter 3 Camera Settings for Working with Flash: This part is way easier than you’d think
    1. Why We Need to Shoot in Manual Mode
    2. Shutter Speed Controls the Light in the Room
    3. F-Stop Controls the Brightness of the Flash
    4. ISO Makes Everything Brighter or Darker
    5. Where to Set Your Shutter Speed (and Why)
    6. When to Change Your Shutter Speed
    7. Which f-Stop to Start With
    8. Where to Set Your ISO
    9. Here’s Your Camera Settings Checklist
    10. The Big Secret: Balancing the Light
  11. Chapter 4 Using Flash for Portraits: How to make people look awesomer
    1. Get It Off Your Camera
    2. Make It Soft and Beautiful
    3. This Helps a Little, but It’s Not a Softbox
    4. My Favorite Softbox for Flash
    5. You Can Make Beautiful Light for Just $20
    6. No Friend to Help? Get Out Your Debit Card
    7. Use a Strip Bank Softbox on Your Second Light
    8. Get a Tighter Focus and More Drama by Using Grids
    9. Use Metal Grids to Get Tightly Focused Beams
    10. Using an Umbrella to Soften the Light (It Works, but Don’t Do This)
    11. Big, Beautiful Light Comes from Big Softboxes
    12. If You Need Really Big Light on a Budget
    13. Instant Headshot Setup
    14. The Most Popular Place to Position Your Flash
    15. Getting More (or Less) Shadows
    16. If You Need Even Softer Light, Feather It
    17. How High Up to Position Your Flash
    18. How Close to Put Your Softbox
    19. Lighting to Make Your Subject Look Thinner
    20. Bounce Flash Can Save the Day
    21. Adding a Second Flash
    22. Use Fall-Off for More Professional-Looking Portraits
    23. Creating Fall-Off Manually by “Flagging”
    24. Three-Flash Edge Light Setup
  12. Chapter 5 Using Flash On Location: This is truly terrifying stuff, so maybe you should skip this
    1. Why We Need to Put Gels on Our Flash When Shooting on Location
    2. How to Deal with Problem Room Light
    3. How to Attach a Gel to Your Flash
    4. Pre-Cut, Pre-Sized Commercial Gel Setups
    5. Easy Location Flash Step One: Positioning Your Subject
    6. Easy Location Flash Step Two: Metering
    7. Easy Location Flash Step Three: Underexposing
    8. Easy Location Flash Step Four: Positioning Your Flash
    9. Easy Location Flash Step Five: Adding an Orange Gel
    10. Easy Location Flash Step Six: Flash Settings
    11. Easy Location Flash Step Seven: Adding More Gels
    12. Flash with a Reflector as Your Second Light
    13. Getting Some Fill Light Outside without a Softbox
    14. On Overcast Days, You Can Use Wide-Open f-Stops to Get Soft Backgrounds
    15. Awesome Trick for Simple, Clean Backgrounds
    16. Shooting Interiors with Flash
  13. Chapter 6 How to Light Backgrounds: Baby got back!
    1. Lighting Backgrounds without a Second Flash
    2. Before You Aim a Flash at Your Background, You Have a Decision to Make
    3. Inexpensive Backgrounds
    4. Which Color Background to Order First
    5. Using Canvas or Painted Backdrops
    6. Light Stands for Lighting Backgrounds
    7. Why the Distance You Place Your Flash from the Background Is So Important
    8. Turn Off Any Front Lights While Lighting the Background
    9. How to Light for a Solid-White Background
    10. Lighting a Wider Solid-White Background
    11. How to Avoid Spill on Your Background
    12. Keeping the Background Flash from Spilling onto Your Subject
    13. Creating a Graduated Background Look
    14. Getting a Tighter Background Spot Light
    15. Color Gels for Backgrounds
    16. Adding Color to Your Background
    17. Changing the Color of Your Background
    18. Spotlight Gradient Background Effect
  14. Chapter 7 Using Flash at Weddings: Here comes the bright . . .
    1. Simple One-Light Bridal Portrait Setup
    2. Shooting the Bride Getting Ready
    3. Reception Option #1: On-Camera
    4. Reception Option #2: Serious Diffusion
    5. Reception Option #3: Lighting the Room
    6. Reception Option #4: Seeing Flash in the Frame
    7. Lighting the Group Formals
    8. Rotating Your Head for Bounce Flash
    9. Flash Behind the Bride
    10. Add a Gel to Match the Room Lighting
  15. Chapter 8 How to Mount Your Flash: That sounds bad, but you know what I mean
    1. Which Type of Light Stand to Use for What
    2. Why You Need a Tilt Bracket
    3. Using Your “Little Foot” to Hold Your Flash
    4. My Favorite for Location Shoots: Mounting Your Flash on a Monopod
    5. Mounting Second Flashes: Clamp It
    6. Mounting Second Flashes: Joby Flash Clamp
    7. Mounting Second Flashes: Tether Tools RapidMount SLX with RapidStrips
    8. Mounting Second Flashes: Platypod Ultra
    9. Mounting Second Flashes: Manfrotto Magic Arm
    10. Holding Multiple Flashes
  16. Chapter 9 Flash Tricks: Getting your flash to beg, roll over, and fetch light
    1. A Studio Portrait Look without the Studio
    2. Hiding the Flash and Light Stand
    3. Sunset Look on Location
    4. Dragging the Shutter for Effect
    5. Three Lighting Looks without Moving Your Flash
    6. If You Can’t Bounce Off the Ceiling
    7. If You Want to See Background Shadows
    8. Using Your Flash as a Prop
    9. Fix Ground Spill with a Double-Tap
    10. Special Effects Gels
    11. Using White Balance as a Second Color
    12. Pan Blur and Freeze Effect
    13. Stroboscopic Effect
    14. The Classic Hollywood Dramatic Look
    15. Dramatic Profile Portrait
    16. Two-Color Split Back Lighting
    17. Removing Reflections from Glasses
    18. Simple Two-Flash Product Lighting Setup
  17. Chapter 10 Flash Workflow: If you’ve got an indoor, outdoor, or wedding shoot, then here’s what to do!
    1. Indoor Portrait Workflow
      1. Step One: Put Your Flash on a Light Stand
      2. Step Two: Put a Softbox in Front of It
      3. Step Three: Use These Settings on Your Flash
      4. Step Four: Position It Up High, at a 45° Angle
      5. Step Five: Use These Camera Settings
      6. Step Six: Take a Test Shot and Evaluate
    2. Outdoor Portrait Workflow
      1. Step One: Put Their Back to the Sun
      2. Step Two: Set Your Correct Exposure First
      3. Step Three: Now Make Everything Darker
      4. Step Four: Use These Settings on Your Flash
      5. Step Five: Get Your Flash Off Your Camera
      6. Step Six: Put an Orange Gel on Your Flash
      7. Step Seven: Make the Light Soft and Flattering
      8. Step Eight: Position It Up High, at a 45° Angle
      9. Step Nine: Turn Your Flash On and Take a Test Shot
      10. Step Ten: Balancing with the Natural Light
    3. Wedding Workflow
      1. Step One: Make Ready Flash
      2. Step Two: The Bridal Portraits
      3. Step Three: The Ceremony
      4. Step Four: The Group Formals
      5. Step Five: Reception, One Flash
      6. Step Six: Reception, Two Flashes