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High Speed Sync vs ND

Lesson 24 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

High Speed Sync vs ND

Lesson 24 from: Incredible Engagement Photography

Pye Jirsa

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Lesson Info

24. High Speed Sync vs ND

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of this lesson is the comparison between high speed sync and ND filters in engagement photography.


  1. What is the purpose of high speed sync?

    High speed sync allows the flash to fire at shutter speeds faster than the sync speed of the camera, but it results in a significant decrease in flash power.

  2. What happens when the shutter speed is set above the sync speed and high speed sync is not used?

    A black bar appears in the image where the flash fires in one section and doesn't fire in the other section.

  3. How does high speed sync work?

    High speed sync causes the flash to pulse multiple times within a single shot to match the faster shutter speed, resulting in a decrease in flash power.

  4. How much flash power is lost at 1/8000th of a second when using high speed sync?

    Approximately 8 to 10 stops of flash power are lost at 1/8000th of a second.

  5. What is the benefit of using an ND filter over high speed sync?

    Using an ND filter allows you to maintain full flash power while still achieving a slower shutter speed by stopping down the light coming into the lens.

  6. Do manufacturers provide information on the amount of power lost with high speed sync?

    No, manufacturers do not typically disclose the amount of power lost with high speed sync.

  7. In what situations would high speed sync be useful?

    High speed sync is useful in situations such as sports photography where a fast shutter speed is needed to freeze the ambient light.

  8. Is high speed sync necessary for engagement photography?

    No, high speed sync is not necessary for engagement photography as there is no need for extremely fast shutter speeds.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Posing Guidance for Him


Posing Guidance for Her


Foundational Posing


Posing Touch Points


Couples Body Language


Posing Three Point Check


Posing Tips with Demo


Lesson Info

High Speed Sync vs ND

Do you guys know what the benefits and drawbacks of high speed sync versus ND's? When you raise your shutter speed up, you guys saw the flashes. Let me show you this again. Look at these flashes. Okay, what's happening is the sync speed on a flash means that under 1/200th of a second, your radio can communicate to the flash and it can fire in time. By the time the shutter speed, the shutter opens and it closes, it can fire off the flash. When you go above that, it can't match the speed, right? So what ends up happening is, if it actually lets you do it, this doesn't even let me do it. I can't bring the shutter speed above 1/200th of a second. But if it lets you do it, you get a black bar. You guys see the black bar that goes across the image where the flash fires in one section and doesn't fire in the other section? That's a sync speed issue. With happens is with full-feature flashes that offer high speed sync, when you use high speed sync, that flash didn't get- Nothing changed physic...

ally with the flash. It can't now fire within that 1/400th of a second or 1/800th of a second just because you pressed a button. What ends up happening is it pulses. So when I press this test button, you see that pulse? It does that exact same thing when you are firing high speed sync. Now if it's pulsing 50 times to fit in one of those shots into your shutter speed. Let's say at 1/1000th of a second, it has to pulse 50 times, like this. What happens to your flash power? It just dies, right? What if it has to pulse 100 times to get in a single frame at 1/4000th of a second? Or 1/8000th of a second when it has to pulse 500 times to get in a single shot? Your flash power dies dramatically. What we've found is that you're gonna lose at 1/8000th of a second, you're going to lose around eight to 10 stops of light from your flash. That takes you down to like a small percentage. 100, 50%, 25%, 12.5%, 7%, 4%, I used to be an accountant. I'm a photographer now this is why. Because I think I just halved something wrong. That's alright (chuckling). So, you get down to like 1% to 2% of the total output. Now if you use an ND filter, does your ND filter does this effect flash power? This is like a trick question. Does this actually, does this effect your flash power? (crowd chattering) Yes. This stops down all light coming into the lens. But guess what> If I can get away stopping down four stops of all light to get my shutter speed down to 1/200th of a second, I still have my full flash power. So we're talking about an additional, this will get me four extra stops worth of light power from my flashes versus using high speed sync. Does that make sense? Nod or jump up and down, like, kick someone next to you. Do something like that so I know, yeah? There you go, I got an elbow, good. Little aggressive, but that's cool. So, that's the benefit of an ND filter over high speed sync and it carries true. The funny thing is that manufacturers are going to tell you, "Ooo, the new..." We love Profoto Gear, we use a lot of Profoto Gear. And everyone, Elinchrom, Profoto, everybody, will tell you that, "Oh, it has high speed sync now." For some reason, nobody publishes how much power you're losing with high speed sync. Nobody says it. I'm always like, "Have you guys published "how much power you loss, you lose?" And everybody's like, "No," and I always go test it and it's still the same thing. It's we're losing 7, 8, 9 stops of power, in that range. So, it's one of those things where if you have to, there's certain situations where you'd use high speed sync. That's if you're shooting sports, you need a fast shutter speed to freeze the ambient light. Like if you're shooting sports and you've got this motorcycle driving by your frame, and you need to keep it at 1/5000th of a second to freeze everything, you would use a high power, like a Profoto B1, or even higher power with high speed sync. You're cutting down a lot of the power, but then it's a high-powered strobe. So you still get more "umph" out of it. That's the one situation that you'd use it. Engagement photography, there's no dude on this planet that can run that fast. (audience laughing) Just not going to happen.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Pre-Shoot Videos
Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Presets Installation Guide
Gear Guide
Favorite Software
Lightroom Presets

Ratings and Reviews

CPR Photography

I think Pye Jirsa is one of the best, if not the best, instructor for photography on Creative Live. He is very personable, smart and approachable. He has a perfect blend of personality (comments, laughs, tangents..) to the amount of instruction. He asks the questions for you, because he knows you are thinking those questions right then. He's very good about identifying settings, gear, etc.. and not leaving us in the dark about how he "got the shot". He goes into great detail. His instructions flow, but are linear, which is helpful. He's very organized, and you can tell that he really put a lot of work into his presentations (slides, video, test shoots, live teaching, graphics, etc..) I have been listening to him for like 10 hours straight, and still haven't gotten tired of him. He keeps things moving, He's very funny too. Nice job, I've learned so much. :)

a Creativelive Student

This course was AMAZING. I'd say int he past year or two I've fallen into a slump. Uninspired by my surroundings and uninspired by my clients. As a result, it showed through my work. My posing suffered as well and more than a handful of times some of my shoots became more than awkward. Then I bought this course and watched most of it in the course of a day. I walked away inspired, blown away, and renewed. The next day I walked into an engagement session confident. I gave my couples a quick overview on posing and then we just had fun in front of the camera. Immediately afterwards they texted me about how amazing their shoot was and how relaxed I made them feel about posing. The photos turned out fantastic to say the least. I've since shot several more engagement sessions and each one of them has been amazing. If anything, this course should inspire photographers to think outside the box and provide you with the necessary skills to take incredible engagement photos. Thank you Pye and Creative Live! I cannot speak more highly of this course. I should also state I purchased Pye's Natural Light course on SLR Lounge: this course is a wonderful addition to that. If you already own the natural light course and are hesitant about purchasing this one, don't. Buy it and reap the benefits!


This is by far one of the best courses I have taken. Pye makes learning fun and easy to understand. I feel like I have learned so much throughout the course, that I have truly advanced my photography skills. I am so excited to get out there and try so many of the techniques that he showed. I would love to take another course of his. The pricing for the course doesn't even compare to how wonderful the education truly is, I really got more than my money's worth on this one.

Student Work