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Speedlites: Manual Flash

Lesson 18 from: Picture Perfect Lighting

Roberto Valenzuela

Speedlites: Manual Flash

Lesson 18 from: Picture Perfect Lighting

Roberto Valenzuela

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Lesson Info

18. Speedlites: Manual Flash


Class Trailer



Intro and Who This Class is For


3 Groups for All Lighting Scenarios


My Progress in Lighting


Analyzing Circumstantial Lighting


Circumstantial Lighting Q & A


Using a Reflector the Right Way


5 Behaviors of Light: Overview and Angle


5 Behaviors of Light: Inverse Square Law of Light


5 Behaviors of Light: Relative Size


5 Behaviors of Light: Relative Size Continued


5 Behaviors of Light: Color


5 Behaviors of Light: Reflective Surfaces


5 Behaviors of Light: Q & A


Location SWOT Analysis and 10 Things to Look For


Location SWOT Analysis: Examples and Exercises


Overview Q & A




Speedlites: The Basics and TTL


Speedlites: Manual Flash


Speedlites: Zoom Flash


Speedlites: Zoom and Rotating Flash Head and Reflectors


Speedlites: First Curtain vs. Second Curtain Sync


Speedlites: High Speed Sync


Speedlites: Optical vs. Radio Systems


Speedlites: Groups and Channels


Location Lighting Upgrade Examples


Indoor Lighting: Building on Ambient Light


Outdoor Lighting : Speedlights in Direct Sunlight


Outdoor Lighting: Using Speedlites in Shade


Outdoor Lighting: Romantic Look and Patterns with Speedlites


Indoor Lighting: Creating a Window with Strobes and a Curtain


Indoor Lighting: Moody Light with Speedlites and Gels


Indoor Lighting: Reflective Surfaces


Indoor Lighting: Shooting Against a Window


Indoor Lighting: Adding a Reference Point and Ambience


Indoor Lighting: Shooting into a Mirror and Creating Separation




Why You Need to Learn to Get it Right In Camera


Location Photo Review and Analysis


Intro to Reception Lighting SWOT Analysis


Reception Lighting Setup


Image Critique: Lighting Problems and Solutions


Don't Limit Yourself As A Photographer


Lesson Info

Speedlites: Manual Flash

Manual flash less jump ships to the manual flash category so let's see in manual you don't have to think about what the flash is thinking you can only think about what you're thinking that's the beauty of it so for example in manual flash the camera's light meter no longer matters that the flash is light meter just there's a light meter right there the flashes light meter no longer matters umm you don't even matter I'm just uh you matter nothing matters the flash justice what do you want me to do? And then you just say I wonder to go this much power and if it's too bright oh my goodness you tell it go down and if it's too dark you say go up and that's pretty much that completes the manual flash section of this course it's like super simple let's do an example so when I put the flash on manual on right now I have the flash at full power full powers one toe one so it's just a full power blast okay? Because amanda is going to be working with us the entire day I prefer not to blind her rig...

ht away at the beginning ofthe day although it would be sort of fun maybe we should do that let's totally do that let's blind her quick, so full power on the light on we have a really gorgeous exposure if you are in alaska or you want to remember alaska or siberia this is gonna work for you very well um no taken joking aside I use use a brighter exposure or my flash whenever I'm shooting somebody that's older and I want a wash out their skin so if I feel like I'm shooting somebody in their seventies or eighties I do tell the flash go a little harder than normal on then um it's going to basically fill up every little crack more than he should but there's still enough information that you're not blowing out her skin you can make her look ten years younger okay so here's why law flash that's obviously too bright I'm going to tell the flash go down to one eighth power okay, so let's try that again and now you get up pretty much a perfect exposure on let's take a look at that beautiful now I'm going to tell the flash you know that's cool but I like it darker so we're going to go toe one sixty fourth exposure so I'm just turning down the flash and then you get this exposure cool. Yes, this might be a dumb question but nothing too I know but um are you just shooting head on the way you are on camera for this purpose of this example yeah, I want to live normally normally you wouldn't but not just that I would never shoot like this. Oh, my god. Ok, good point. Good point. Uh, in real life, I don't shooting I'm just basically going through the very basics off the two different camps there is the ptl camp on theirs that the manual camp, the ptl camp, the flash things for you and he's going to do everything into middle gray the manual camp you just tell the camera what you want let's say you want to expose for the curtain? I just did that with this picture, but I say you won't expose for her more. You can just say, hey, turn off the power and then put more light on her and so forth. Okay, this next section, if you're on the if you're at home and you're watching, uh, you might want to write this down because if you missed this, you might be confused from no one uh, in manual flash, there are four things that affect exposure on manual flash. Do you guys know what those are by any chance mark, you're joshua joshua aperture your s o flash power and flash new maybe the distance, distance that's even more than this. Okay, so let me repeat what he said when you are in manual flash, there are four things that will effect how much power you probably want to put in your in your flash? Okay, the first one is that the light output off this is never going to change. So amanda, come just for a second, please. This is really important. I'm gonna slow down on this because I want to take my time on this four. There isn't what you need to understand this for it's because these four do not apply onto tl flash at all and that's where people get confused, okay, so on another's different levels and I know some people know this really well and some people don't we're just going to go through it this flash on manual, the power off this flash I basically control I tell this flash I want you to fire at this power setting if she's this close to me, she is going to receive whatever power I put in a flash if she's too close to for that power it's going to be too bright if she's too far away it's going to be too dark so let's, try it. I'm at one sixty fourth flash right now I'm gonna change it to one sixteenth just as a reference as a starting point, okay, starting point, step one, starting point one sixteenth uh, when I'm teaching classes, people always ask me what is your starting point for? For for for speed lights? It's pretty much one sixteenth it's kind of my starting point I'm not no recent way okay, I'm going to be this close to amanda here and then take a look at the photo that I got she looks like she's twelve years old very nice very you have no wrinkles in your skin at all congratulations what you eat for breakfast so we're talking about how distance effects that effects right in manual flash if she gets farther away the flash output is not going to change because the flash is not thinking that flashes you're saying you do your thing, I'll just fire whatever you say so the first variable in manual flash is the basis between her and me your subject on the flash so let's, go ahead and go further out on dh stop metal it'll come this way stop now, she's going I'm not going to change the power I'm not going to change anything and she's going to receive a better exposure okay, so now we have this kind of look okay, so nothing changed other than one variable remember there's four variables we're talking about just one we're talking about distance variable now among that can you go twice as far from me? Yes and while you're doing that, can you take it back and just tell us again not your flash settings but what what's your s o what's your shutter speed where you starting there in this scenario and how does that really well, maybe not how does it relate but what are you on? Is that somebody? Yes okay if you're asking that I actually cannot answer that right now because then I get into other variables so I will totally cover everything but I got it one by one so super clear okay right now we're dealing with one variable uh oh you should be focusing on right now if you're watching is the further away she is clearly she's going to receive less light on yesterday we discussed the inverse square law of light roberto the inverse square law of light says that if you have your with this down really not this way if you have your light source here and you have your subject here right your subject is going to receive the full blast off the light but as your subject starts to go away from the light source the light is just going to drop exponentially right and it's going to drop so much that is never mind the formula but just remember it happens very quickly it's one over the distance squared but who cares it's it drops the exposure drops very quickly and then it starts to taper down taper down taper down taper down that is the same for flash our cities for windows serious for video lights of cities for everything light in the world that's why when she's going farther away she's receiving less light because less light rates are hitting her right so let's, try this one ok? And now we have compare this one to this exposure great. Why is this important it's important? Because you can now gage, for example, if it's too dark if you want to subject to be where she is, all you have to do is still the flash I don't like this exposure is a little dark on her for me, so I want to go just a little bit brighter. So you so I say okay, a little bit brighter. What is the fastest way to get her a little bit brighter? Just move a little bit this way a little more on dh stop and I will shoot her this way and I say okay, let's, check it out now I'm just gonna be pretty much right where you want it so perfect. Okay, so that's it variable one on manual flash is that basis between your subject on the light the closer she is that more like she'll receive the farther away she is, the less light shall receive inverse square law of light again any questions on the distance? Part cool, yes so would it be safe to say that the general rule of thumb is six to eight feet away that's always what I was told that's good right I think the more you try this stuff you will have kind of like a gauge like you will have like an anchor point like if she's this far away from me that's probably gonna be one sixteenth and usually when I'm shooting pictures this is about the distance that I would probably shoot shooting so it's one sixteenth is a good starting point okay um variable number two is the power of the flash can be changed so you can keep her where she is and you can change the power of the actual unit so for example we're going to change the light exposure on her but we're not going to move for any more we're going to just change the power here so let's try that we're going to go toe full power sorry full power flash and you get this again now we're gonna have amanda staying the same exact place beautiful siberia alaska okay, now we're going to just basically grabbed his exposure we're not going to change how much life hit hits or by moving her we're only going to do it by changing the power of the unit so now I'm going to grab flash I'm going change it to one eighth strike that okay so I just basically over the power by like, three stops okay, so and she gets this now if you're not satisfied with this if you think it's too bright now you have two choices to your to your collection of tools what are the two choices with disgust distance on, you can change the power so that's step two, we're going to just change the power we're going to go to one, thirty seconds groups that was way too dark, so we put that up and I say okay, I made a mistake I'm gonna go toe one sixteenth, okay? I'm happy without exposure I'm this time she did not move at all, so if you have clients that don't want to move, choose option to change the power of your flash instead of telling them to move if you're trying to take a foot off somebody, a cool photo, somebody in a bar something moody you cannot move the bar obviously that's an option for you change the power of the flash instead cool third option we're going to change the esso off the camera and that's going to change how much light reaches her as well, so we're going to start okay this time we're not changing the power of the flash and we're not changing the distance that was she standing cool this time we're only going to change the ice off the camera the s o makes the export makes the center more sensitive to light so we're the same light output that camera can be super sensitive to it or it could be no sensitive at all so we're going to make the camera not sensitive at all right now we're going to go I s o two hundred that's where I talk about the sex so I'm gonna go I saw two hundred let's see where this is that it's where we left off right so we're back to where we left off there she is now we're going to go toe ice we're gonna change the less you say you know what? This is good but I want more power okay instead of change the power of the flash or making her move we're now going to choose option three which has changed the iso of the camera so we're going to go toe I s o four hundred this will be twice as bright now okay this is twice as bright as before cool now we say ok I really would like to go to siberia so let's go a little brighter so we're going to go toe I s so eight hundred now on let's see what happens now great and you can keep doing this onto you're satisfied with your exposure so that's another option for us change the so um the last option is my all time favorite option it's the aperture option the apter operas your option to me is my favorite because he's probably the fastest okay, so let me explain um the aperture off the camera to see what it gets all crazy the aperture of the camera is the hole that opens up in the you know that when the camera takes a picture it opens up the aperture it opens up this big hole any less light in um the light from the flash is just going to squeeze through that hole and he's going to give you whatever I'll put the combination of those two things are so for example, if we make the hole off the lens and the camera like the aperture tiny tiny tiny when you flash this, the flash is going to hit her come back and it just won't be able to hit such a small dojo it won't be able to expose before her properly it will be too dark so we're going to say to the flash I'm gonna keep it a one let me see here, let me give an example I'm going to change the flash power two one fourth power okay, let me show you this. I'm gonna go backto I s so two hundred I'm gonna take a picture and she's gonna look pretty good because that's where we started before, nor a little bright, okay no I'm gonna change the flash I'm gonna change the flash sorry I'm gonna change the flash to low power tow er sorry, man a stranger to full power I'm gonna go full power flash okay, so I'm on there so two hundred I'm an aperture at four actually, I'm gonna go aperture two point eight on let's see what you see what that looks like? Okay at two point eight it's really nice it's like my first year pictures at two point eight the whole of the lands is at its widest so it's allowing the most amount of light into the lens this's a two point eight lengths so I put it a two point eight you can see that the flash output is just crazy the camera is way, way in the hole is so big he let too much light in. Okay, the reason why aperture is my favorite light changing tool for flash is because it's the fastest to change. Yes, like, for example, if I'm shooting something I'm telling them I'm shooting like a fashion shoot or a couple or whatever and I'm telling them to move on I get a beautiful expression but the flash is too hard I simply turned the wheel and I changed from two point eight two air force or from effort to f ate on, all I have to do is go just like spin the wheel and the flash gets lowered so it's a matter of efficiency so let me show you I'm a two point eight now and then I'm going to say well well well that crazy things too bright and I'm going to just quickly go two f ate and then I'm gonna see what it looks like better right geo fast I was I didn't have to go to the flash pushed the exposure button changed the power I didn't have to go to the I s o button change the so I didn't have to tell her to move open down I just went to the fourth option I said just change the aperture or quick I want to show you something kinda fun I'm gonna go to a picture two point eight again I won't take a picture or quick let's say this is a real job and I'm shooting for rio and I'm like okay I'm taking a picture I see this and I go whoa that's crazy now count how many seconds it takes me to go from this toe a perfect exposure ready start to count one two oh sorry one two three now each from so it took me about I don't know not that when obviously it see how fast that wass now let's see what happens if you try to do it through the like changing the flash power or whatever is just let's not even do that but it's just too much time okay any questions on those four things that change affect how much of the flash light hits your sensor? No yes just reviewing them again yes we'll do that. Okay. All right. Um let's see? So people were asking again now that you've gone through those four four so do you pauline zonneveld roberta put the flash and manual is his camera in manual as well and then similarly uh james ames had said I think the question is do you set your camera to a reasonable exposure before then using the flash so again what is that starting exposure? Second question it's kind of you maura segment three situation okay uh bring it all together. Well, I can answer it the problem with flashes that if you don't separate it this way if you start to try to put makes everything together it starts to get complicated. It starts to be like what was that again what you need to remember right now it's just two camps camp wan t ell the flash things everything for you and they trust to makes everything they see us into a little gray bright, dark whatever it sees, it would just be mixed into a middle grade if whatever it is this is too bright then the camera will say it's too bright I don't have to put any light so just fire and is going to be a middle gray if the expos if what is easiest way, way, way too dark is going to say, ok, we have a really dark scene. I need to put a lot of flashlight in it in order that when I makes it, it will become middle grade that's camp one come to is manual flash manual flashes. The camera thinks nothing. You do all the thinking for it on dh it's actually extremely predictable. You tell it what you want. You know what you're going to get. Andi will never change unless you change the settings. Okay, when you are in camp to the manual camp, you have to keep track of four different ways. You can change the light output is getting crazy. Okay, four different ways the first way, wass you can change the basis between your subject on the light. If she gets closer to you. She's probably going to he's going to receive more light if she gets farther away from you she's going to receive less light, that's it. So if you can or you want to choose that option, your sub just have to be moving back and forth in order to accommodate for your flash okay, so you keep your flashing one setting, you don't change it from that setting, so uh yeah you just let's say I got a one sixteenth okay I'ma one sixteenth on my flash just keep it there I'm gonna keep it at one sixteenth my shutter speed is one eighty my aperture right now iss two point eight lester with those settings so I'm I mean I'm in the middle of a photo shoot my head is thinking step one my camera is on manual so I can control everything step tio my flash s on manual to escape also in manu I control the entire exposure then my brain things step two okay, roberto, you have four options to choose on how much flash is going to reach your subject? You have four options. Option one you can move the subject closer or farther away onto the exposure at this exact flash shedding looks good so come this way one more time you're gonna go through this really fast closer to me closer to me closer to me keep coming close to just get okay it's gonna be like this and I'm gonna say I'm not going to change the flash output I'm just gonna leave it at this distance, okay? And then my brain says okay roberta gray you chose you chose choice one move your subject close to you obviously that was a terrible choice let's move her farther away so you should get the proper light we're not changing the esso here we're not changing the aperture we're not changing the power of a flash we're just going to change the distance between her and me ok go further away please farther farther farther farther on dh farther see you later take care okay, now let's try this now the cameras then now she's receiving a tiny little bit of light that she used to receive and then I say okay that's good it's a little dark for me let's get her a little more light on her take two steps closer to because it's just it's almost there one too right there stay right there. Let me see on you take the picture and then you say ok I love it now it's perfect, perfect cool choice one while his shorts to the uh did I say I s o what's that choice three flash power okay flashback going back this way, please him on that okay going way. Okay, right here. Closer greats were starting there. Um we're now going to actually further away further away, right let's say this is your subject you are shooting and you decide to go with choice too I'm going to keep everything the same I s o two hundred aperture two point eight manual camera settings manual flash option to wilby I'm not going to move for any more I'm just going to change the power of the flash so you start out at one sixteenth on let's see how this goes okay, so now you're watching online or you guys all you're doing is changing the power of the flash this is really what do you do turn it down that's why manual flashing stole off simple okay, so I'm going to push that exposure button I'm going to change it from one sixteenth to one sixty fourth then I'm gonna take a picture again andi let's see how this goes okay, good her skin looks a little washed out right but he's looking better so I'm going to grab my flash exposure and I'm gonna turn it down a little bit more cool I now I feel I feel pretty happy with that you can feel good about that one good the next one is, um I s so so we're gonna change the so can destroy that again stay right there I'm going to go back to my starting point of one sixteen so we can go back to where we started. Okay one sixteenth this time I'm not going to move her farther closer to me I'm not going to change the flash power off the I'm not going to change the power of this I'm not going to change anything I'm just going to change the so okay all right let's try this again, okay actually called in a second okay let me try this again I'm going to change the I s o let's go get that and see what that looks like it's pretty good let's say you're shooting an older person and you say no I wanted to be a little brighter so then you're gonna change the iso sensitivity from two hundred to four hundred someone I go four hundred and I was gonna be twice a sensitive which in other words the same length ofthe life is gonna be brighter now it's gonna look a lot brighter I'm in you decided that's what you want or not okay uh and then the last one is the aperture so I'm a two point eight my flash powers one sixty fourth like I just did for that picture and I'm just gonna change the aperture so I'm going I'm a two point eight I'm gonna go toe five point six I'm basically making the hole from this big toe a lot smaller unless life gets him there ok that's good now I'm going to change the aperture from five point six and I'm going to make her totally dark let's say you want to go a silhouette or something five point six I'm gonna go toe one sixteenth see what that looks like okay very nice so now you can see that the outside light and all this stops you store all the dark and that's when you decide okay, my, um yeah, that's not that's. Not working at all. So any questions on those four thinks that happened? It's really important that everyone understands that those four choices are your choices to control how much light hits your subject when you're using speed lights. This happens with the using one speed light or five speed lights or three speed lights. If you understand those concepts really well, flash shouldn't be a problem for you at all. It should be pretty simple. Okay, um, let me take a pause and get some questions. Question. I want to say something that can okay, well, I actually had a question since we only have forty five minutes left and a lot to get through. Somebody had asked jenny lads photography about does the zoom on a flash head change the output of the flash as well? And I've seen your keynote that was your next topic. Oh, yes, you have my key. No, right, there's d'oh. When you assume the flash head, these flashes are you consume the flesh it out, you consume the flash here and you can focus the beam off light. You're not really changing the output off the light, but you are focusing it some make sense so it's like the sun coming in and then you put a magnifying glass I need a magnifying glass basically magnifies the same light that was already there it just makes it stronger pixies magnifying it so the answer to that is you're not really changing that original output you're just changing the way it comes out you're changing it wide beam to a very narrow beam which obviously makes the light more concentrated so that's kind of white that isthe so okay this next section can be can be a little tricky uh so if you were if you if you remember what I said about tl on manual t ell the flash will look at your camera settings on I just took a little grey man you will not look at anything it would just shoot whatever it says that means this is what people get super confused with speed lights that means that if you are on t ell this happens all the time I'm teaching a class people on t t l the flash exposure is no good and they changed the so I mean you're thinking online well what's wrong with that you just said that that's what that's that's one of the four possibilities yes on manual but if you live here if you tell the camera you do all the thinking for me that camera's gonna say okay cool I got it you go away I'll look at everything you said and I'm gonna give you a proper exposure no matter what you said so let me show you an example of that can you stand right over there please farther away are the ride right there okay I'm gonna to some crazy exposures on my camera I don't care on the cover's gonna be well you're crazy but that's okay I got it I'm just gonna give you a good exposure anyway okay someone I goto f eleven a tiny tiny tiny tiny little hole so hardly any light is gonna be able to get through so my poor flash just so my eleven it's having a little bit of a heart attack as it sees my f eleven it says that's a really small hole roberto that really that's really not friendly of you but I'm goingto give it all my power to get through that little hole and give you good exposure okay um my shoulder speedy sats when twenty five per second on my I s so is four hundred so watch in other words no matter what you put in he's going to give you good exposure so that's it except the white shoot that white thing's gonna kill me um okay let's try yeah that white thing is killing me oh sorry that was still in manual sorry you need to know your equipment okay remember to know your equipment people okay even though we're shooting in front of a window which is going to make you think it's too bright the exposure looks good, right? Now watch this I'm going to go from eleven a tiny little hole and I'm just gonna open it toe f for emmanuel that would be like crazy change and it will be a lot of life you go from a tiny little hole to a really big hole ah lot of light gets in there in t l it doesn't matter what you put he's just gonna give you the same exposure awesome and look it's the same exposure again doesn't matter what you do cool now I'm gonna change my eyes so from four hundred on don't lose to something totally stupid like uh give me a knife so that's ridiculous I don't know just uh okay sixteen hundred k I s so sixteen hundred making the sensor super super super sensitive to light the flash is going to be like okay super sense that if I'm going to give you very little power and it's gonna look exactly the same as the last picture on her of course or close to the same pretty close to the same it's sixteen hundred is very sensitive so it's going to be a little bit brighter but it's trying to give you a normal exposure so um can you can you get closer to me uh again, right? They're okay she's close to me I'm gonna take a picture again on is going to give me a good exposure again on it it's gonna look like a fine exposure it works right? Can you go far, far away by all the way to the top to the door area okay good and it's gonna give you a good exposure again cool. What is there whether there is there any any confusion at all? Can people are talking about why this is not you guys don't you guys understand why this is not changing anything? Right? Okay, the point is when the flash is doing all the thinking in tl it looks at your camera settings and he makes the proper decisions to get your good exposure no matter what your settings are. Um when she gets closer the flash realizes she's closer when she gets further away the flash realizes she's farther away when my eyes will change us to do something crazy like sixteen hundred that camera says whoa that's really crazy I'm going to lower the power um so if I change my aperture from air four two f sixteen to have twenty two camera will say, okay, I'm just going to adjust according to whatever the settings where on that is pretty much the two camps between tl on manual so if you try to change the output in your own tl by having your subject closer, you're not going to succeed because that's those things that I said or only for manual manual flash okay, all right

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

10 Elements to Look For at a Location

Ratings and Reviews


Im sitting in my office listening to Roberto with my earplugs on and I know I have already left 2 reviews but he's so funny…. my family comes into the office asking me "whats so funny" Roberto makes me laugh out loud with his jokes but at the same time, he is SO great at teaching. Im watching for second time to make sure all his good info is ingrained. HIGHLY recommend you take his workshop on Picture Perfect Lighting if you truly want to take your photography to the next level! WOW thats 3 reviews now…can you tell I am impressed

Maureen T.

I'm taking a portrait photography course at NYIP online. one of the mentors there recommended the posing book by Roberto. I ended up ordering at the library the posing and the perfect practice book. I fell in love with both books...ended up buying them and signing up here for the year membership just so I can take all of his photos courses. I spent most of my weekend doing perfect lighting course here I am in love with the way that he teaches! He makes something so difficult and challenging for me make sense. I also like that he challenges us photographers to be true professionals. I am thrilled to have discovered Roberto and already noticed my photography is better in the short time that I've been studying him.


Roberto has the personaliyy and gift to relate to others.He is honest and shared some of rhe disaters that occurred, even with high paying and important clients when he failed to follow his proven and tested approaches. He has shared from his extensive knowledge developed by hard work and effort to master his craft. His dedication in attacking his weaknesses and making them a strength is inspiring. I have purchased many CL classes and all have worth the investment so I hesitated to purchase this course because I didn't think there was much new information. However the clear teaching and extensive knowledge shared by Roberto in his unique style caused me to purchase it gladly and believe it is an exceptional value. Roberto has shared his extensive tools, but you will never be the master of the craft without putting in the hard work and testing that roberto testified to. Thanks again CL for bringing the best to us and Thank you Roberto for taking the time and preparation to achive excellance in in this class.

Student Work