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Using a TTL Flash

TTL Flash is a Through The Lens Flash, this means that your flash communicates with your camera, and takes the Through The Lens metering information, and adjusts its power output.

Most of my shots are done in full manual, but when I am shooting a public event, and I have to move around a lot, I will usually shoot in either A or S mode. And since I am moving around, and lighting conditions change, shadows areas, etc.. I do not want to be adjusting my flash, and exposure settings all the time.

So for this type of environment, I shoot with a TTL flash. I do not use TTL in the studio, or for composed shots, multi lit, as I will be fighting myself every shot as each flash will see other flashes or reflections etc.

Back to the TTL Flash. When I attached a TTL flash to my camera, they start to communicate, and my flash will adjust its power accordingly.

Now, you may ask, if I am shooting in A mode (which I did for this event, as I wanted 90% of my shots locked at f/8) then why do I need a Flash, as the camera will pick the correct shutter speed?

Well, the exposures will be 90% accurate for this run and shoot mode, however, the shadows will not be filled in, and the subjects wont be properly lit. By properly lit, I mean, I want a bit more light on my subject than I do the surrounding areas.

Here is an event I did this weekend for Pretty Girl Retreat and I shot I am Queen Jaz on the stage.

In both of these shots, I was shooting with a Nikon D810, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 lens set at f/8, ISO-200.

Here is a shot I did at an event, and the flash did not fire, so this is my without TTL Flash example. Zoomed at 160mm.


And now here is another shot, where the TTL Flash fired, and was just enough light to give me a nice balanced shot. You can even see a slight shadow that was cast from my flash. Full zoom on my lens at 200mm.


If you noticed, her main shadow is coming forward, thus the sun was behind her. I am sorta shooting into the sun. This caused her to cast shadow areas on herself. The front of her body was now shaded.

Without flash, one would adjust the exposure until she looked great, but there is a balance problem, the top of her hair would be blown out, the floor would be blow out too. not to mention any spot on her body where there is direct sun light.

Using the flash, I was able to get a balance, and fill in the shadow areas and light her up a bit more. You can really see it in the details of her skirt as well.

Ok, I hope this helps the understanding of using a TTL Flash.

Mike Bradley

Author: Mike Bradley

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