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You are watching a free tutorial from Lighting 101.
To view the entire course, upgrade to Premium or purchase it in the SLR Lounge Store.


Sometimes you’ll be stuck in a situation where you have no other choice to fill light other than to use direct flash. For this tutorial, we have four tips for when you must use direct flash.

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TIP 1: DON’T USE DIRECT FLASH!

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In most situations, you honestly don’t need direct flash. If you’re creative, enough you can bounce off objects or diffuse the light to avoid using direct flash. So carefully consider your options before settling on direct flash.

TIP 2: START BY EXPOSING THE IMAGE FOR THE DESIRED LEVEL OF AMBIENT LIGHT

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What we don’t want to do in a direct flash situation is end up with a heavy flash look. When the ambient exposure starts to drop, then the flash is being applied too liberally. To avoid this, we start by exposing for the ambient background, and then we add in the flash to subtly light up our subject.

TIP 3: USE THE LOWEST FLASH POWER POSSIBLE WHEN FILLING LIGHT OR WHEN USED AS A MAIN LIGHT

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The key word here is subtlety. To avoid the point-and-shoot look, we gracefully add in the flash at the lowest power possible. This will give your image a natural light look rather than a heavy flash look.

TIP 4: SOFTEN THE DIRECT FLASH WITH MODIFICATION FOR BETTER RESULTS

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Use what you have. If you have a napkin, then put that sucker over your flash or bounce off of it to soften the light quality. In this shot, I used the Fstoppers Flash Disc to modify my light to brighten up my subject.

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Bratislav Zivanovic

    If you didn’t bring any modifiers, why  not just use the modifiers that’s built in to the flash?  I have come this far in the workshop and, as of yet, the built in modifiers haven’t been discussed.

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Assignment entries for this chapter

Lighting 101