Hey Everyone! Hope you had a super week! This week is a continuation of last weeks blog. Off camera lighting. If you haven't read that one please go and read. This week I want to talk about camera and flash settings for Off camera Flash. This can be kind of tricky so I'll try to keep it simple. As always when you're in doubt pull out the manual. The first thing you'll have to decide is TTL or Manual metering. This can be a simple answer if you only have manual strobes. But if your strobes can do both then you have to figure out which one you want to do. You can't really mix and match its either one or the other and I'll explain why later but first lets talk about TTL.
TTL (Through the lens metering). When you have the correct strobe set up you may be able to use TTL metering. This means that the camera meters the scene and then tells the flash how much to flash a little or a lot. This is how TTL works. When you have your flashes set to TTL and your camera on one of the automatic modes like say Aperture Priority mode. When you press the shutter button a signal goes from your trigger (mounted on your hot shoe) and it tells the flash to send a pre flash. The flash pops and the camera reads the signal through the lens and determines the shutter speed and how much flash to use. Then the trigger sends a signal to the flash to flash with the proper amount of flash. All of this happens so fast you don't even see the pre-flash only the final one. But the camera has made all of the decisions. This can work great if all of your lights are TTL. But lets say you only had one TTL flash and you were using it for your main flash. Your second or third flashes were manual and you had them to trigger optically. Which means they see a flash and they flash. So you have everything set up and you go to take a photo and this is what happens. You only see all of the manual flashes and it looks like your TTL didn't flash at all. But this is what really happened. You pressed the shutter your TTL flash sent a pre-flash your other lights saw this and flashed. Your camera saw a lot of light because everything flashed at the same time. Your camera saw all of this and told your TTL flash to go to minimum power and flashed. So all of your manual flashes went off but the TTL was so weak that it looks like it didn't. Confused yet? The main point here is not to mix TTL and Manual its one or the other. The main advantage of using TTL is simplicity. You set them up turn them on and shoot. The disadvantage is cost and may not be as consistent light from frame to frame.
Manual Metering- Manual metering is done with an external light meter. You can read my blog The Scoop on Light Meters and it will explain how they work. Using manual metering and your camera in Manual and a simple trigger you can set each light individually. And with a light meter there tends not to be a lot of guessing. That said I am biased since I learned how to to off camera lighting with a hand held light meter. The advantages in shooting totally manual is cost, and you have full control but there is a learning curve.
Its hard to give precise settings of your equipment because they are all a little different but I will give general guidelines.
Shooting TTL -Camera you can shoot in Automatic or Simi-Auto but I would shoot in manual if possible. ISO I would put at 100-400. If your shooting in one of the Auto modes I would put the flash to be set to high speed sync and TTL. This way if your shutter speed goes over the maximum sync speed of your camera it will still work. If in Manual mode your shutter cannot be over the high speed sync of your camera.
Shooting Manual- Camera in manual Shutter at maximum sync speed, ISO 100-400 and aperture set to meter setting and after lights are where you want them.
Trigger Settings- Depending on your trigger if a radio set all lights to same channel and if you can have individual control set the lights to different groups. This is pretty much dependent on the type of trigger you have.
Well as you can see there can be a lot to learning off camera flash. But its really not as hard as it seems especially when you get your hands into and figure it out its pretty easy. You just have to follow the directions of the equipment that you have and you should be ok. There are lots of good tutorials online and one guy that stands out is Mark Wallace he has lots of tutorials on Adorama TV.
Until Next week Get outside and shoot. If you have any questions or suggestions please leave a comment I would love to hear from you!