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Speedlights 101

Lesson 8 of 40

Shutter Priority Mode

Mark Wallace

Speedlights 101

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

8. Shutter Priority Mode

Lesson Info

Shutter Priority Mode

We have been talking about flash and ambient light, and what we want to do this afternoon is too teo continue on that journey and talk about we're going to start with talking about shutter priority mode, going to go into manual mode. You've had a lot of people online saying I don't know how to shoot in manual mode, so I want to show you how to do that, so we're actually going to show you howto shoot in manual mode on your camera, it's really very, very simple, and then you can control all kinds of things. I think shooting in manual mode is a key to doing a lot of things with speed light, so I'm going to show you that as well, and they're going to get into aa lot of things that are on our flash howto bend and twist it and flick it and pull it zoom in and all that kind of stuff, so we're going to start getting into those things and one of the things that I know is going on with a lot of people that are watching this it's just mine melting. I know you guys here and we talked at lunches, m...

ind melting, there's, so much stuff going on. And I want to give you words of encouragement and that's this we have the exposure triangle that we all know and love for doing ambient exposure and that won't change it all it never changes so we're gonna have that we're going to keep talking about that and then we have the exposure triangle that is for war controlling our flash and it doesn't change so really we have to understand those two things and how to control them independently we're gonna get through all of that today and then we're going to shoot this afternoon a bunch more hands on things we want to show you tomorrow we're just going to shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot and go through all of those different things and then on sunday, same thing we're going to shoot and shoot and shoot, so we have to get this foundation put together first before we can get to that point of shooting because I will say something like, oh, yeah, I remember when we talked about this theory and you won't remember because we haven't talked about it, so if you trust me that when we get there in a sink in and you go uh oh, now it works, we'll get there is gonna be awesome, so by the way, teaching studio lighting and learning studio lighting is much simpler than learning speed light I think that's funny because people think it's the opposite, but it's not because speed lights is just lots of different variables, so stick with it, we're going to get there, ok? So we're going to start this afternoon. We're gonna start with shudder priority mode where he talked about aperture priority mode. We need to know what's happening with their camera when we're shooting in shutter priority mood so let's go through it really quickly, and then we're going to shoot some examples there is gonna come out here in a second. We'll walk through this so and shuttered priority mode, we set our shutter speed, and once we do that, our camera takes that information. So we have the isil and the shutter set those two parts of the exposure triangle, and then the camera is going to adjust our aperture to expose to the ambient light. Now, here's something that is important when you're shooting in a low light situation. Okay, let's say we're shooting outside at a wedding reception and all we have are trees with the little lights wrapped on him. You know that people love it's, pitch black, essentially maybe little candles and stuff if we use shutter priority mode. Let's say we put our shudder to sixtieth of a second. Why sixtieth of a second there's a rule of thumb that says you shouldn't shoot handheld any slower than sixty eighth of a second that's why nikon put that there? It's a reason so let's say we put our shutter speed to sixty because we know we don't want a bunch of blur. What will happen is our camera is going to attempt to adjust the aperture to expose that ambient light. When it's really, really dark, it will just throw the aperture wide open so it'll go two point eight or one point two or one for whatever you have it's just going to open up the aperture, and then it will say not enough light because even fully open, it will say not enough light, and normally what you'll do is you'll get this warning so the camera is going to say, hey, this isn't going to be possible. They'll give a little warning on cannons. There's a little flash on icons, says low lo, I am with you not right now, so it will say that it's going to warn you, but with your flash on it's still going to take a picture, okay, let me tell you why this is great in low light. This is great in low light for a reason so what happens is when you have your your shutter let's say set to sixtieth of a second and the camera throws open its aperture okay, so we know that you're not gonna have camera shake for a sixteenth of a second we have two exposures so what's going to happen with the ambient light exposure what's the camera telling us it's not gonna be there no ambient light right? So this is what I call a who cares situation where I say I don't really care about the ambient light if it's there great that's not there I don't care because I know my exposure is going to be made by the flash that's where that's gonna happen, right? So the ambient light we're seeing not really gonna work but the flash still has the ninja it's going to come out right it's going to make an exposure check it out it's going to come in so what we'll get is all of the the, uh the light that comes from the flash whatever it hits it's going to be properly exposed so that means we could just shoot in really low light we don't have to worry about this shuttered getting down to the three or four seconds that cannon people struggle with all the time we're not going to have to worry about having all that blurry stuff going on this when I'm talking to parents that want to shoot pictures of their kids at halloween they don't know all this theory and stuff they're like you know what should I do? So what I do is I just tell them shudder priority sixtieth of a second term on your flash have fun and it just works every time and so they get pictures of their kids exposed properly the background might show it that might not doesn't really matter it's going to work so if the ambient light is brighter than you know if it's going to overpower than the shutter the aperture remember is going to close down so you're still going to get that control so in low light shutter priority mood is what I really love now I say a lens with a giant aperture is a bonus so we have lenses like the eighty five millimeter one point to the fifty millimeter one point for those rock on because what's happening is this giant aperture if you have a lens that some one point two lens that's lighting and double the amount of light in a two point eight and so you can get a lot more of that ambient light so that's why this works okay it's really really cool and then yeah the camera's going to adjust the output of flash for proper phil so what we want to do here is we want to try some of this you want to try it so we're gonna do is we're going to have a mom sarah come out and this is great in low light, no camera shake. So, sarah, come on out here so we're going to try to do here is let's do this and bright lights that we have on right now and then we'll see if we can dim sum of the lights, so we'll see if we could do that. So I'm going to I'm grabbing my night by mike cannon. This could be a nikon doesn't matter try this at home, by the way. So this is great if you're at home in low light and so I'm gonna make sure everything's set tl so this is normal t l if I had a nikon tl just normal mode, no high speed saying none of that stuff turned on so that's just letting it expose the way it should theater thing I'm doing is I'm putting this in shutter priority mode. So tv on this camera right here, so get the soul tv showing up right here. If I was on a nikon, I would push my mode button and go to s for shutter priority, and then what I'm gonna do is I'm going to set my shutter speed to sixteenth of a second, so I'm just sitting into sixteenth of a second now if it's important for me to show you but sixteenth of a second all right, so that's all I'm gonna dio just going to do that and let's start shooting and see what happens as we shoot what we'll do because we're going to start dissecting what's happening with our camera those two exposure triangles in her flash we'll look at it, we'll shoot this way we'll shoot this way well, try exposure compensation we'll see what happens and we'll dig in we'll do the same thing we just did with amy and priority mud fair enough ok, good so we're going to shoot this way in your mind try to predict what's going to happen okay shooting this way at sixty eighth of a second in your mind try to predict what we're going to get I need to turn on my exposure compensation yet everything is good okay I'm taking a picture here now let's take a peek at what we got from this shot it's going to pop up here it takes about ten seconds ok, so it's a shot of sarah right now what I want to do here is I am going to shake the camera a little bit okay? So let's pretend like you know we've got something going on here that's there laughing, shaking okay so I shook the camera we should have really no movement pretty cool, huh? There's almost no movement there we have a little bit on the hair we can see that we had some but because the flash is the thing that is freezing the motion of flashes turning on and turning off very, very quickly it's freezing all of this stuff it's really cool you can see two on the lamps we get a little bit of that in there get a little bit those lamps let's try some of the things we tried with uh aperture priority meant so what I want to do is use um exposure compensation now here is the problem in shutter priority mood we've set are shuttered had set and so exposure compensation is going to change our aperture that's what is going to change if our aperture is always ready is open as it can possibly get then it's you know we can't let in more light we're sort of stuck with that. Okay, so that's one of the differences between shutter priority mode is you might not be ableto over expose the background so what I'm going to do is we're going to shoot it this way close to a background and delights and were shooting the other way where we have lights at a distance ok, so the first I want to hear I'm going to put my exposure compensation right at zero so zero exposure compensation I'm gonna put so we'll look and see what that looks like so we have no exposure compensation sarah looking very serious like that ok so they were going to take exposure compensation down what that does is it changes our aperture value from three five two seven one so we do that something happened here significant no photo selected that's significant there it is ok so let's look at those side by side on a few guys khun can show these side by side that picture we just took and this one but they look identical something and when they come up they'll look identical I can see on the back here they look pretty much identical so I don't know if they can do that but maybe not if they can we would see that they look pretty much the same ok good so they look they look very, very similar this one has a little bit more light than this one notice everything is going together notice that everything is brighter everything is darker there's really not much separation one of the things that's happening is and one of the reasons people say don't shoot insurer priority mode back to the exposure triangles what we have in common I s o is works on both right I s o the aperture controls quantity of both ambient light and light from our flash if we are on shuter priority mode and we say make the background darker by shrinking that aperture making it smaller what happens is when ninja comes out that pre flash it knows that the aperture just got smaller and it tells the flash it needs to output mohr light to compensate for that and so guys at home you're not going to go to see this but we're gonna have the studio audience actually the students testified in this okay so I'm going to show you the first shot watched how bright the flashes okay here's the first shot so bright that is now here's the second shot you see a difference the second one the flash head of throughout a lot more light. Why? Because when I changed the exposure compensation in shutter priority mode it is changing that by changing the aperture when I shrink the aperture this flash has to put out more light to make sure we get a proper exposure so these air very similar exposures but this one had about, you know had two stops more light from the flash than this one did. So the aperture affects all of that stuff ok, so let's do it the other way. So guys here is that making sense so far about what's happening okay, so sarah let's have you zip over here and we're going to try the same thing but now we have a distance from our our subject so I make sure my exposure compensation is back to normal I have this set to shut her priority mode all in auto mode there's no compensation going on anywhere I'm going to take a picture I'm meeting on sarah taking a picture and I want to show this we have a nice balance between our ambient light and the light from our flash pops up good right now what I'm going to do is I'm going to use exposure compensation taking that down so we have less ambient light taking a picture and what we'll see is this works just fine, but again those of you at home I don't think saw this but there is a lot more like coming out when I shrink that aperture so shrinking that aperture does take the ambient light down, but it means that we have to have a lot more punch from our flash to compensate because it's restricting how much light from the flashes going through the barrel of our camera awesome! I can see you guys there ok? So let's talk about the other thing let's tryto overexpose the ambient light so we're gonna increase the ambient light so the way I'm doing that is I'm using exposure compensation and saying more light so again I'm going to take a picture notice that we had much less light from our flash because our aperture just got really wide so we did over expose that we've got more light, so just understanding the insurer priority mode what's happening is when you do expose your compensation. It does affect the ambient light, but it also effects how much light comes from the flash so it's good, so should her party, but I usually use in low light just to make sure this shutter doesn't go really slow unless I'm shooting with a nikon and then I just say sixteenth of a second, make sure the shutter doesn't fall below that. So, um, for nikon owners, what I tell a lot of people were shooting in the dark. Make sure you set that e to function to sixteenth of a second shooting aperture priority mood cannon owners. I tell them to shoot in shutter priority mode at sixteenth of a second and you could see that they are basically doing the same thing unless you use exposure compensation. Then one of them's changing aperture, one of them's changing shutter. Okay, so the quick adjustments on this are not on my clicker in here. The quick adjustments on this are the same that we had before. We had the, uh, michigan pop up your exposure compensation and just for the ambient light, just like it did before. Changing the aperture also changes the flash output okay that's the big gotcha there so when we change that changes that says they're gonna have you over here, by the way sorry I keep forgetting the cameras of the um and then flash exposure compensation will change the output of the flash okay, just doing that okay? We're about to go to manual mode but let's answer these questions all right? People are excited from manual mode of annual mood and mickey says just try this at home dr dot it works way it works and question earlier we'll find who it was from but was can you give us a more real life examples as to when you would use aperture priority and when you would use traitor priority I know you just talked about low light yes so in um in low light when we're talking about remember we start with the ambient light and say, do we care about the ambient light or not? And we're also trying to do some things with do we have a blur in her image or not? We always going to control that with the shutter speed. So if I'm in a position where I really want to control um how much blur I have to make sure that my shutter doesn't go too slow all views should have priority mood in low light that works great if I'm in brighter light what I'll do is I know my shutter is going to be pretty fast if I'm an aperture priority mode and so I don't really need to put it in shutter party mood to control that so I'll put it an aperture priority mode on and then I can control the depth of field we can control how much is in focus and then I can just use my shoulder to control the ambulance so the answer is unless you just have to I always recommend shooting an aperture priority mood or manual the shutter priority mood is that trick of I don't really care about the ambient light I just don't wanna have shaky pictures and you do that so I really recommend that for people there beginning with flash they're doing things like a birthday party for a one year old or uh maybe a baptism or a wedding reception those those people are just like I just really don't care about how the ambient light works I just don't really want to care about that I want to know that my pictures air in focus expose properly and not blurry then I say who cares about ambient light put it in shutter priority mode shooed away but that only works on low light great only works in movies thank you and that question was from eva a so thank you for that question and also aim of tomorrow and sunday we have some free designed um photo shoots that we're going to replicate shooting at night we're going to replicate shooting indoors at holiday event we're going to replicate shooting a wedding reception we're going to replicate shooting sports we're going to replicate trying to get some portrait ce in a place where we can bounce the light we're gonna replicate shooting portrait's for like a senior portrait or a head shot something like that so we have a bunch of scenarios that we've already pre populated andi we're gonna be doing that tomorrow and the next day to really die, elin, which mode to use at what time and how to set your flash and camera to get the best results today remember when we started, we said the answer to this light is to make sure that we get an appropriate amount of flattering light while still capturing the available light to the best of our ability. Right now, we're just trying to figure out how to do the appropriate amount of light that's it we're still it just appropriate we haven't got too flattering it or balancing yet we're still it appropriate amount, so we have a long way to get we're gonna get their question from les mark, are any of these methods applicable in bouncing our flash? Yes, they are tomorrow when we bounce will show you yes, michael yes, they are cool, I'm trained him read this question before you read it out loud but I want to read it out loud okay good one if desired images it's kind of a long one if you're in tv mode gender parity mode and you set your shutter toe one sixtieth and your camera picks up a wide open aperture once the images taken and there is no ambien if you adjust your eyes so will allow in more ambient or will the aperture closed down it will allow mohr ambient light yes it will do two things so when you increase your eyes so which we haven't talked about yet and we're saving that till later because it's confusing enough as it is but when you increase your eyes so it make all light depend it doesn't matter if it's ambient light or like from the flash it makes it easier to catch that light and so when you increase the ice so what will happen is you will get the flash will understand that's happened and it will decrease its output so it doesn't overexpose but mohr ambient light will soak in and so in low light yeah you can increase definitely increase your eyes so and you'll get more ambient light or in bright light like this video lights all over the place we decrease or I s o to get rid of some of the ambient light so we can waken do either way now the nice thing and again cannon and canon nikon and nikon olympus on olympus and fujian fuji all those different things the reason I said that is one of the things that happens between branded flashes and other flashes but usually black brandon flashes with the camera it's communicating the s o so that it make sure it gets a proper exposure so that's one of those things reasons that you might want to do that question from ken lens if the model we're moving rather than stationary say running, does the difference between ambien and flash have to be to stop storm or in order to freeze the action? It really depends so we will do that you really need to have to freeze action you have to restrict how much ambient light is coming into the lens because if you're shooting with ambient light that's really bright uh and you have high speed sync, you don't have one burst of light to freeze the action, and so what happens is you have to rely on your shutter and when you do that it causes all kinds of complications. So the best thing to do to freeze action is to shoot with his little ambient light as possible and just have the flash freeze the action on dso again we're gonna do ninjas day three and we'll show you that we'll show you what happens when we have lots of light and when we block out as much light as possible. There is a big difference. So if you're ambient, light is as bright as your flash or pretty darn close, the flash is not going to be able freeze that action. Uh, you're gonna have to rely on the shutter. Maybe one. One more question. Yes, from bruce, I noticed that mark recomposed after focus. Does that throw off, tio? No, it doesn't. Because remember the way of the acts, the four acts. So when I first shot and specifically it's sarah the portrait's and I'm a portrait photographer. So it's a habit. So I put my auto focus point on sarah's face I push halfway, make sure that's focused it also, uh, uses what it sees at that point to get the proper exposure. So that's how I say I'm exposing on syria's face not the background is where I'm putting my my camera when I push the shutter halfway, then aiken recompose take a picture and then it will balance just fine so it doesn't throw it off. It could throw it off. If I put more of the background in there, it could throw that off. But yeah, that little amount does not.

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.