Skip to main content

Speedlights 101

Lesson 23 of 40

Flash Modes: TTL & Manual Mode

Mark Wallace

Speedlights 101

Mark Wallace

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

23. Flash Modes: TTL & Manual Mode


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Introduction Duration:11:19
3 Flash! A Drama in 4 Parts Duration:18:42
6 High Speed Sync Duration:15:03
7 High Speed Sync Q&A Duration:25:15
8 Shutter Priority Mode Duration:23:12
9 Manual Mode Duration:50:21
10 General Q&A Duration:19:21
11 Color It Duration:15:53
12 Diffuse It, Twist It, Pull It Duration:17:29
14 Shoot: Softbox and Umbrella Duration:41:44
15 Shoot: Three Light Setup Duration:21:56
16 Shoot: Freezing Motion Duration:17:39
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Introduction Duration:06:28
2 Bouncing the Light Duration:36:18
3 Off-Camera Flash Options Duration:29:03
4 Light Modifiers Duration:08:15
5 Limitations of Your Flash Duration:20:48
8 Light Metering Duration:13:48
9 Light Metering Q&A Duration:42:50
10 Guide Numbers Duration:18:52
11 Built-in Meter Duration:20:28
12 General Flash Q&A Duration:24:10
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Light Shaping Duration:36:58
2 Group Lighting Duration:46:18
3 Lighting Dark Environments Duration:17:37
4 Indoor Holiday Photos Duration:23:10
5 Outdoor Events at Night Duration:13:46
6 Lighting Dark Events Q&A Duration:13:14
7 Portrait Lighting Duration:32:22
8 Portrait Lighting Q&A Duration:21:57
9 Butterfly/Clamshell Lighting Duration:16:06
10 Q&A and Lighting for Men Duration:24:12
11 Final Q&A Duration:06:15
12 Ninjas! Duration:27:02

Lesson Info

Flash Modes: TTL & Manual Mode

We're going to do this afternoon is we're going to continue the journey. Yesterday we talked about the two exposure triangles, we figured out how to do the appropriate amount of light so they were talking about two things really one was modifying the light, so we talked a little bit about putting on a soft locks and the umbrella and getting our camera are flash off our camera we showed you how to do that we showed you that we could trigger a quantum flash off camera that's not a branded thing using pocket wizard plus three's we talked about radio triggers and all kinds of things and so that's all along the journey to modifying the light we have to get that light off the camera and we can do some things, but we still have mohr foundational work we need to do before we get to tomorrow where we're going to those scenarios where we're shooting portrait's we're doing some zones and we're adding soft boxes and we're getting shallow depth of field we're doing that kind of stuff that you see u...

p here on the wall we have to learn even more there's even more that there are flashes khun tell us specifically yesterday we did camera modes we did aperture priority shutter priority in full manual mood, but what we've been doing this entire time is through the lens meandering with our speed lights and we know a few things about through the lens meet oring and I want to just sort of give us a refresher on some of the challenges and some of the benefits of using through the lens meeting one is there can be meet oring issues with through the lens metering and specifically there is an issue that you could get I like to call it blasted faces we tried to replicate that here in the studio unfortunately because we have walls where the light bounces around and we don't have just a large amount of space we couldn't replicate it inside, but this is something that can happen outside when you're shooting in a very, very dark space specifically if you have like, a wedding reception or an outside event may be any kind of outside of barbecue doesn't matter where there isn't anything behind the subject it's just like an open space of field or, you know, a metal, whatever just a large, large amount of space. So sarah, I'm gonna have you come out here just so we could sort of help you understand what is going on here. So let's say that we have a camera over here where josh is, so so I'm gonna have you turn around this way and let's say are flashes over here and I'm trying to take a picture of sarah from this direction okay what's gonna happen here is if sarah is in that shot and I have sort of a wide angle lens this's really is happens a lot with wide angle lenses if you have a wide wide shot will happen is sarah is going to be a very small a portion of that photo just a very small piece of the photo back here remember use your imagination this is a wide open field right or it's something that doesn't it just open space maybe some trees or something and we're talking about at night when it's really really dark so what? The flash sees the flash season on image of this entire space that's sort of the frame right? And one small part of that is maybe a person we're taking a picture of and so with their eyes or eyes have probably adjusted to the dark light outside and we see our friend and we see back here maybe there's some rolling hills and mountains or something that are way back there but when the camera takes a picture, what it does is it first tries to expose for the ambient light and it's gonna look at this light back here and it's pretty much pitch black right it's going to go I can't do it I'm going to rely on the flash that's on the camera and so in the flash on the camera sends out the pre flash our little ninja well, it's going to come out here it's going to hit sarah but it's going to keep going back here because remember, if we have sarah as a very small part of that frame it's thinking that this is the majority of the picture this open space back here and what's going to happen is no light is going to come back, so the ninja lead is that never comes back and so what happens is the camera thinks, wow, I'm getting nothing back. What I need to do is set my flash is powerful is it composite obl e b as much light as I can possibly throw out because I'm trying to illuminate this but are flashes stupid, right? It doesn't know that there's nothing here just sees darkness. So what happens is the flash fires it comes over here, it hits our friend sarah in the face and it's so powerful it just totally over exposes her totally over exposed and it keeps going and it just falls out there's nothing for to reflect. And so you may have seen this in photos where you're at night in the dark, take pictures of something and you get this massively over exposed person and everything else is just totally black that's what's happening the t t l doesn't know that this is what you're trying to meet her on now there's a couple of things that you can do to fix this you can use flash exposure compensation that probably isn't going to work and the reason for that is it's still trying to expose for this? And so if it thinks this is supposed to be full blast as much powers it needs and what this actually needs is maybe you know, a sixty fourth of full power by going down as much as you can this is still going to be too much light right here. So what you can do with some cameras there's a thing called flash exposure locke f l and not all cameras have this but what you can do is you can zoom in right here on sarah's face zoom in push that little flash exposure lock button the pre flash fires it reflects off the subject you can lock in the exposure then zoom out and take your photo that can work ok not all cameras have this and the cameras that do have it all works. So if we tried to show you this right now those two cameras I have both were differently and your wallet or differently. So this is definitely a go to your manual and check to see if your camera has flash exposure compensation are flash exposure lock it works essentially the same way as exposure lock works, so if you're familiar with exposure lock where you point your camera at what you want to expose for you lock it in and then recompose and shoot it works essentially the same way, but that assumes that you can zoom in on what you want to take a picture of a case that's one way to fix that is used flash exposure lock the other way to fix that shoot in manual mode should emanuel is much better we're gonna get to that next, ok, so thank you, sarah thie other thing that we know that we can use his high speed sink so we can use high speed sync tio go faster than our camera's shutter speed and last night, what do we learn? High speed sync takes a lot of the energy away from the flash, so we showed you that last night when we're outside our secret location, where we put our camera in high speed sync, we took a picture, we didn't get very much light out of the camera are out of the flash and we actually dialed are shutter speed down closed or aperture down took a picture and we found that we got mohr light from our flash without using high speed sink, so sometimes it works great sometimes it's not the best thing, so high speed sync is something that I really love for shooting outside a cz long as you know, the limitations of that so we went through high speed saying quite a bit last night we showed you some struggles and cem some payoff of that so we have that rear curtain sink we're going to show you that practically tomorrow we're gonna be doing a bunch of stuff with lights in here and we've talked about it in the past, so we know it through the lens monitoring you know, some of the hiccups that it has we want to continue on our journey with a new load that I like to call manual mode and sort of the manufacturers so manual mode now to show you two ways to do this, we're going to first show you how to use a light meter I want to show you how to use a light meter it's actually really, really simple for those of you that saw how to shoot in manual mode yesterday it's essentially the same thing, same thing so we're gonna show you how to use a light meter with the flash when I'm sure you had a trigger it we're gonna do that right now and then I want to show you something called the tomorrow levin meet oring method tomorrow levine is a spectacular photographer in hollywood california she's a friend of ours and she has a different meeting method that I will show you and it's something that anybody can do if you have the eye fort so sure if you don't know who tomorrow I mean it's just looking up googler, she's spectacular and then send her a note and say mark wallace told me to say hi, she'll love that she doesn't know I'm talking about her today. So anyway let's start by using a light meter and what I'm going to do here is I'm using a whiteboard um and I have to have a black pin somewhere way we did I knew we did ok let's, start with something called the exposure triangle. You guys tired of hearing about this yet though exposure triangle I esso shudder and an aperture this is what we need to know when we when we make a photo, we have to know what these values are. Okay, no matter what, it doesn't matter if you're shooting in shutter priority mode aperture, priority mode or full manual mode you always do this. You set to things and then you have to figure out the third always right. If you are in shutter priority mode on your camera you figure out the so right you just said it's ok it's at one hundred, two hundred whatever it is and then did I say sugar priority mood yeah, so then you say what this shutter is going to be and then the camera fears out the aperture right that's what it's doing so you said two things the camera figures out the third if we're in aperture priority mood it's just the opposite what we do is we set the s o right we set the aperture say f four point five and then the camera figures out what this is right it'll tell you it's two fifty or whatever it is I was making numbers up so we're always getting two parts of this and solving for the third got that way put into things our cameras meter tells us the third in manual mode we did the same thing remember we said theis so we set the shutter and we just rolled the diallo until the aperture showed us that the light was right or we set the I s o we said the aperture enroll r r uh little dial until the shutter showed us that the light was right a light meter is going to work the same exact way whether you're meeting for ambient light or meet a ring for a strobe same thing so when a light meter what you'll do when you're meet a ring for flash let's remember what happens with flash we have a flash exposure triangle we know a few things about our camera number one we have to set the I s o correctly right correctly correctly yes so we know we need to set the ice so on our camera and we're also going to set that on our late meter something going here I'm going to do this in blue I s so we're going to set that on our camera and in our light meter so in this example, what we're going to do is we're going to set our s o at one hundred and so all said I said one hundred on my camera on my light meter and they're different kinds of light meters I'm gonna walk over here so you can see this this is a say connick l seven fifty eight it's a fancy shmancy one but it's really cool I can push eso won after I turned on my battery and very top right hand corner there there's an ice o value I can roll this and it will tell me what the s o s I'm putting that at one hundred right there. Okay that's how you said that on this meter going to steal it on this meter here same kind of thing I haven't I esso button I can push that roll it around the very top it'll say with the ice so value is on both of these meters there's also one and I also to the reason you have that is let's say we're shooting with a cannon and a nikon cannon can go toe eso one hundred and icon the lowest toucan goes two hundred and so instead of having to do the math all the time you can make eye so to two hundred and I also won one hundred take a reading and if you want to know what the two hundred reading is just push that and the meter will tell you or maybe you're using a medium format camera that goes toe eso fifty or twenty five and you're using a polaroid that's also two hundred I have to do is put those two isos take one reading and then you khun jump back and forth between the two it'll show you we're not doing that today was going to use one eye so value so we have that set to one hundred ok there are a bunch of different light meter's all of them will allow you to set your eyes so so we've done that we're meeting for flash in this example okay hermida ring for flash on this light meter amusing over here and show you again right now we have s o and shutter and you could see there's a little t that's got a circle around it when I move this you can see that the shutter speed changes well when we meet her for flash we always enter our s o and her shutter speed forty meter put in eso shudder almost spelled that really wrong why do we do that? The shutter speed does not affect our exposure with our flash correct it only affects ambient light, and so normally what you'll do here is you'll set your eyes so to whatever you want it to be pretty low normally and your shutter you set to your sink speed or extinct that's normally where you put that at your sink speed, we're going tio just say that our cameras sink speeds are two hundredth of a second why? Because they are I know your cameras they're all two hundred of a second if you don't know what your cameras sing speed is look in your manual the other way you can figure out what your camera sting speed is is turn on your camera, put in shutter priority moon turn on your flash without high speed sync being on and then just see how faster shutter will go and what you find out is it stops at about two hundred whatever it stops that you're seeing speed if you don't know what you're saying, speed is it's almost always two hundred or two fifty right around there and you'll see that when you're using yeah, so around them okay, so if you're using high speed sync or if you're doing some of the things, you can always just match this to what your cameras settings are but we always want to match this and this to our camera and then what our meter will tell us is this it'll tell us what aperture value to use based on the output of our light. Okay, so what I normally do, there's two ways to do this, we can meet her a light and just say whatever it tells me. That's what? I'll set my camera to you that's not a good way to do it. The best way to do it is to have an idea in mind and say, because of depth of field I want this to be f ten say, ok, let's say that's our target, its f ten when I meet her the light, I can see what it says and it said, if it says a five point six that I know I need more light from my flash and I take my flash and I turned the power up and meet her again until it gets to have ten and once it does, I'm locked in and I can shoot all day long in those settings and it's going to work unless I crank my light up and it just won't ever it won't get there. That means I don't have enough power in that light I can start moving the light closer or farther away, there's some things we can do.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Once you know what’s happening with your camera and flash you can do almost anything. Speedlights open up a new realm in your photography. They are light to carry, quick to set up. And you never know when you're going to need that extra light for a more dramatic image.

This workshop will give you the confidence to incorporate small portable flash in your photography toolkit. From shooting receptions at weddings or adding drama in senior portraits, this workshop will include lots of live shooting examples that will help everything make sense. Get ready to take your photography to the next level. Once you start working with a portable flash, you'll never understand how you lived without them.


Gary Hook

Mark's wealth of knowledge combined with his engaging and 'fun', experimental approach to teaching is a winner. I learned a great deal but what truly reinforces the learning is that he actually shows what he is talking about. He gets a question and quickly sets up the practical demo for the answer. Brilliant. Given that this session took place some time ago ( but by no means diminishishes the tremendous learning value) the lessons and knowledge are based techniques that will stand the test of time; however, if I was advising Mark on his teaching techniques, the main are a of 'focus' would be to be more effective with his demonstrations. He holds the back of the camera up, makes his point quickly and then moves on, just as the video is locking on. Great idea to talk about what button you are pushing, but when your fingers are obscuring the 'learning point' it diminishes the effectiveness of the demo. Overall great course which I will watch parts again and highly recommend it. Thank you PS Give both Kelsey and John and huge hug as they are all-stars making things happen!

Alexander Svishchenkov

Great! I'm so thankful to you, CreativeLive, for providing this great opportunity to learn an important subject of photography - Speedlights - from the professional Mark Wallace. He is such a good teacher and explains everything in real-life situations and on slides. As he fires his flash, I instantly see the resulting photo on my screen, so this is theory combined with practice. I'm in fact watching you from Belarus, and it's midnight, so I'm fighting with sleep, but I can't get myself away from the screen. this is my 1st CL experience. I'm very grateful for running a rewatch of the previous Day the following morning, so I woke up and saw what I'd missed. And it's totally free! Thank you so much for a true first-class education!

Aussie David

Truly a fabulous class. Mark has such a gift for taking a complex subject and making it so understandable and fun at the same time. Mark is easily one of the best instructors out there. Highly highly highly recommend this class.