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Questions about Flash

edited April 2013 Posted in » Canon T3i Forum
I have read a lot on tips from various sites and what not. I have been asked by friends and family to take pictures at three weddings this summer. I am curious about daytime pictures and indoor pictures and how flash relates to them. I continue to read up on aperture setting and keep finding that it is the one to use, but I love the no-flash and/or auto settings the best.

Should I use aperture or the newer auto settings?

I am also confused with fill light for daytime pictures to use with sunlight in the background. What is fill light and how can I utilize it for various conditions?


  • edited April 2013
    It is always better to use a mode rather than auto. Auto is very clever in today's cameras, but it doesn't allow for creativity.

    Fill flash is used outdoors when it is either a very dull day or if your subject is lit from behind by a strong light source like the sun (backlighting). However, there are a couple of things to watch out for. Ideally you need an external flash that can have its power output reduced.

    The reason for this is that fill flash can give your subject a washed-out look and it can still cause red-eye. Also, you want to light your subject not the surroundings, and a reduction in power output achieves this.

    There are many books dealing with flash techniques, but my advice is to suck it and see. In other words go out and take pictures with your flash. Learn from your own experience.

  • edited August 2013
  • edited April 2013
    This may seem silly, but I don't have a speedlite flash. Does it control how much light (flash) I can put on outdoor subjects to avoid wash outs?

    I try not to use flash because people start getting irritated by me and my flash since I take a lot of pictures to get the perfect one. Thanks for answering me and giving me help! :)
  • edited April 2013
    I'm going to check out the book and blog, cheers!
  • @frandurso - I would refrain from using the built-in flash whenever possible. All it does is cast harsh unflattering light on your subject. If you want to improve your low light (indoor) portraits, I highly recommend an external speedlite (flash) that you attach to the hot shoe on top of your T3i.

    The speedlite will allow you to bounce light off a ceiling rather than blasting your subject in the face. By bouncing the light, you get much softer indirect light which illuminates the entire room, giving you much more natural looking shots.

    You can also use the speedlite outdoors to fill in the shadows (fill light) of your subjects face.

    You could start with the Canon 270EX, which is a very basic external flash that gives you the ability to bounce light when shooting horizontally. If you like to shoot vertically, then you'll need to upgrade to the 320EX of the 430EX which can swivel and point upwards.

    Happy shooting! :)
  • edited April 2013
    I've asked for help from the 3 family weddings I got asked to do to help pay for some accessories. It will be at a church with an indoor/outdoor reception. Should I try the 430EX speedlite? Also, there was a LP-EX 7.4V battery (for my backup) at a good price, but my original battery said 7.2V. I'm assuming that's not the one? Thanks so much for getting gack to me so quick and indulging in my quest for help as I'm a bugger!
  • @frandurso - Glad to help! Yep, if you're shooting weddings the 430EX will recycle faster (shot-to-shot speed) and is more powerful than the 270EX and 320EX, which is helpful when shooting groups or bouncing light in larger rooms.

    As for the battery, I'm not exactly sure. All the best! :)
  • edited April 2013
    Hi, I thought this question maybe relevant to the topic. I'll be shooting wedding in a week and I've invested in a less than $100 TTL trigger. Problem is some terms confuse me such as ISO, Auto Light Optimizer, and Flash Exposure Compensation. I'm aware than all of them have to do with lights, but I'm not sure as to the specific function and how they differ from each other.
  • @athena - Don't worry about 'Auto Light Optimizer', it's a gimmicky way of 'brightening' dark/underexposed areas of the scene. It's better to do this in Lightroom or Photoshop.

    Flash Exposure Compensation will affect the power of the flash output while in TTL mode. So if you need to dial down the automatic flash output, just input a negative (-) exposure compensation.

    ISO is one of the most important aspects of digital photography. Think of it like film speed.

    ISO 100 will give you the cleanest results. It's best used when shooting hand-held outdoors in bright light or on a tripod shooting motionless subjects in low light.

    If you need to take hand-held shots in low light, then you'll need to increase the ISO. This will increase the sensitivity to light, resulting in fast shutter speeds that will help freeze moving subjects and eliminate camera shake.

    Hope that helps and happy shooting! :)
  • edited August 2013
    @frandurso - I have a 430 EX II and it's great. I just wanted to give you a word of caution with regards to using a flash during a wedding ceremony. Flash is usually frowned upon during the ceremony. Unless you talk to the priest beforehand and he's okay with it, I would advise you rent a good quality zoom lens sporting a wide aperture (f/2.8) for the pictures of the ceremony itself. Then use the flash, bounced on the ceiling, for indoor shots.
  • edited April 2013
    @Moose my understanding of TTL is that the flash computes and compensates for the exposure, so would that mean then that FEC is overiding the TTL in a sense similar to using the flash at manual mode?

    Got a question for @amigo. Since I'd be relying on TTL, would the flash know how much light to bounce so that it won't underexpose or overexpose?
  • edited August 2013
    Thanks to all who answered and added. I'm getting there with the knowlegde and basics with research and play.

    My biggest fear is that the ceiling in the church is so high the flash won't bounce off enough to reach my subjects for group pictures after the ceremony and in the inside reception.

    I got a 320EX speedlight and I'm loving it, with all the practice I do on my kid outside and in my living room (the cat however, doesn't really like it).

    The bundle that I purchased has a soft box light diffuser. Can I put that on the flash and aim it directly at my subjects in the church or outside where I can't bounce the light off anything? I can't find anything (articles and such) on softboxes, but I'm assuming it's for softening the flash when directly pointed at subjects?

    I don't want to bother the subjects with constant flash changes and camera changes, as it may take up time they want to be elsewhere. Is there one setting or use of flash to make shooting quicker and more painless? I'm getting comfortable with Av mode.

    I hated it at first with all the things you have to consider like f stop, ISO, aperture, +/- and white balance, but I'm getting there. I read somewhere that if I am inside, use P mode with a speedlite.

    Lastly, I'm looking into filters. There is a bundle on the internet where I got my flash bundle. It has a butterfly hood, a uv filter, polarizer filter, and a purple one. Is this a good investment?

    (Sorry so long, and scientifically incorrect, but I'm a beginner)
  • edited May 2013
    There are so many settings and set ups for the speed lite, can I just use the auto setting I read somewhere (E-TTL) or do I need to change it all the time? Silly owners manual is unclear.
  • @frandurso - To answer your questions...

    1. Yes, you would use the flash diffuser when the flash head is pointed directly at your subject. This essentially spreads the light out evenly.

    2. Av mode is the way to go. You decide the aperture and the camera determines the shutter speed. If you enable Auto ISO, then the camera will also choose that for you. If you're shooting a lot of portraits or small groups, you shouldn't have to change your aperture very much.

    3. Stay away from P (program mode) for your creative shots. If you just need a quick snapshot, then go for it.

    4. In the beginning, the only filter may find useful is the circular polarizer. It will give you more saturated colors, less reflections, deep blue skies and more cloud detail.

    All the best and happy shooting!
  • edited October 2013
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