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Crazy Stupid Light

Lesson 1 of 12

Flash Basics

Scott Robert Lim

Crazy Stupid Light

Scott Robert Lim

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Lesson Info

1. Flash Basics

Lesson Info

Flash Basics

First off, how many of you have dreams anybody right on? I think we can all kind of identify with that and you know, actually right now I am living my dream and I can't believe it I just a few days ago I turned fifty and it's taken me this long really? I kind of feel like right now I'm kind of the height of my career and it's taken me fifty years to get here um and I know a lot of you are a lot younger than that and um so if I could do it I know you can do it and we, um all of us have dreams, but what happens is is that the world tries to take this dream away from us don't let the world do it. Why, really? I believe that dream is kind of like a gift from god it's our guiding light it tells us where we want to go, what we want to do and the world will try very, very, very, very hard to take that away from you. And, um, you know what I really identify with christine how she had this dream of being a photographer and going to byu and getting into the photography program and then totally c...

rushed I had a lot of moments uh in my life like that and how I got started we talked a little bit about it before how I start got started with photography is I really just wanted to earn a few bucks um yeah at the time uh I would say about thirteen years ago as a very, very, very low point in my life um I've been struggling with a lot of things um my wife who is a angel ah had been providing financially for our family ah and she had been taking the financial load all my family well, I was trying to find myself and this was not for a year this is not for two years this is not for three years was enough for four years this is for well years she stuck by my side to hit want till help me find my dream and year after year would go by and I couldn't make more than ten thousand dollars a year um just doing just being an entrepreneur trying different businesses and I couldn't do it and there came a point there there was a dream my dream was can I just simply provide for my family? That was my dream and my wife she really was she was an accountant at the time she was very good at it but she didn't want to be an accountant she was just doing it for us see when you know she really wanted to do she really wanted to be a mom and she wanted to start a family, and she wanted to love and take care of our family. That's all that's, really what she wanted to do. And she was waiting for me to get going with our with my career. And on top of that is we want she wanted to start a family. We wanted to start a family. But biologically, we cannot have children and that war on her a lot. You know, when you get to this place where, you know ah, everybody's having kids, you know, our sister's having kids, my sister's, having kids or friends or having kids and it seems something so basic in life, having children and being denied of that, right? You feel like, wow, it's like man is a cool trick being played on me. Um, and you get and you start to become bitter and things start to wear. And so she was going through that and I was going through my struggles and something had to give really and so what I did was I said, honey, let's reset twelve years. You've been trying to allow me to live my dream. Guess what? I'm gonna let you live your dream we have with a small house in l a and I was only making ten thousand dollars a year, so I was like, well, if you quit your job and we start a family and we start the adoption process and so forth to begin our family ah it's going to be pretty tough to live on ten thousand dollars a year and so what I did I loved photography digital came in digital saved my life because I could learn photography very inexpensively because before men the film days in orderto learn photography what you have to shoot, you have to write your settings down what you did development. But digital was in amazing because I could take a cz many pictures as I wanted and I can learn from each picture all my sittings were there and so I learned it at the end of the year I practice and I e mailed all my friends and I said, listen, I think I can do wedding photography if you know anybody who's desperate it needs the wedding photographer on the chief. I'm available and one friend, um, one friend said yes, I have somebody and ah, I did that wedding and, uh, it was a complete success, and one thing led to another and and I charge a thousand dollars for that first wedding and then pretty soon down the road fuse let years later I got better and better and then I started to charge ten thousand dollars plus the wedding and getting hired all around the world to do photography and then here and so there's a lot of things that had to happen in my in my career to make it but I kept on pursuing um my dream you know I actually kind of gave up on my dream a little bit I told my wife listen quit your job and and and if I have to work home depot's starbucks and mcdonald's I'll do it because you for twelve years you have given me everything now it's your turn but you know what's funny about life it's weird is when I tried teo allow somebody else to have their dream like my wife bam photography came into my life and gave me everything I wanted to buy me going out and trying to provide for my wife in turn I got the greatest gift to not only providing for her and starting our family but I found photography and that's why I'm here that's why I loved educate about photography because I believe photography can take you anywhere you want to go lookit lookit I okay? First of all, I am the only asian person that's a college dropout that you'll ever know right who lays in here right? You'll have a degree I am a college dropout now if this short asian college dropout khun do it I know all of you can it's not going to be easy but you can do it and I thank you for being here and we're going to take this journey together for these next three days and we're going toe I'm gonna give you some incredible tools so you could move on and accomplish your dreams too okay so let's get moving all right know another thing is I thought I had this free article available ah where I talk about twelve ideas on how to accomplish your dream and get to that next level if you complete the survey at the end of the class you can also get that for free. Okay eyes this true? Well if you go to my website scott robert photography dot com I have a video on there ah and in your spare time you can look at that video and the video is very interesting it's a commercial and it brings up this the video states you don't have to be a great photographer to take great photos what do you think about that? How does that make you feel when you see this when you see this commercial and it says that do you think that's true what do you think the response is? Yes priscilla we got a chance to see this on your website after what someone responded he said yes anyone can take a great photo but can they be consistent and that made me think yes you know um someone who's lucky might just capture the moment and get a great photograph but can he do it again and again right and get it right so I think that's what I like the most it's kind of like that theory like everybody brought a blind squirrel finds an that here and there right and if we take enough photos will capture something okay any other comments about that well you know what in and in a sense it's kind of true I mean they're arm or people today earning money with photography than ever in the history of the world okay there are more more so well suit one more people are earning money with photography and must be yeah must be like getting easier ah as technology gets better yes let's just say I feel like everyone's basically a photographer nowadays because I mean even iphones have pretty good lenses on them and you can take a half decent shot go to instagram make it look cool and I've seen pictures right well actually looks pretty good and they're not photographers you know by trade you know they're just average people so they're like well I guess they got lucky it's true they get lucky then why we here why is even creative life exist shoot if technology is getting better and better than well, you know who cares about learning this stuff interesting, huh? Because we want to be artists. We whoa! Hey. Okay. I like that statement, but I think if you cross out great photos and you put in a good exposures it's true. Okay, you don't have to be a great photographer to take good exposures and that's, what technology is doing for us is enabling us to take good exposures easier and easier. But does that mean that we're great photographers? Well, what's interesting about five or ten years ago, if you could take a good exposure, you could actually get paid. You could get paid a lot of money. And why was that? Well, it's happening five or ten years ago? What did we shoot on five or ten years ago? Phil? Right? Because during this time, phil, believe it or not, I used to not get hired because I didn't shoot with film. I was digital. Is that that's kind of hard to believe, right? It is like when digital was for starting to come out. I mean, clients, was that you shooting digital film? Um digital? Oh, sorry. We're only looking for a film for talking that they didn't trust digital at that time you could believe it, but anyways, um back then getting a good exposure was a mystery, right? You're gonna look at the back of your camera remember those days we'd go on vacation and we shoot a couple rules of film we goto costco price club at that time we go into the one hour developed thing you return it in it's like you know what? I think I'll get a hot dog and a coke right now and I'll come back right and we did our film back and we go I just hope there's one one good photo in there right now that we're just praying for one good photo please getting a good exposure was a mystery and so guess what now you're your daughter's getting married you don't want to mess around, you just don't want one good exposure you want to make sure that every photo comes out perfectly right perfectly exposed and so you're going to pay a lot of money to somebody who knows how to take good exposures but that's not the case anymore today if you do a good exposure, you're not really going to get paid because why technology made that easy it's commonplace now so good exposures don't really mean great pictures but what good pictures equal art? I don't know why they rejected you seem like you get hate art gets you paid well what is our as a good question? What is our each of us would if I gave you an apple if I gave you this apple to each one of you and I told you to photograph it we'd each photographic differently right let's say a guy guy photographs this apple you know we'd probably put you know ten lights on it put three jails on it and whatever right do something amazing with it if I gave it to let's say a woman spoke of course was going to shoot it all natural light she's probably there goes a chat room you know they probably like you know pose with it somebody naked behind them the all artistic of whatever right but we all would have a different take on this is that not correct and so ah keys to being artistic is actually is its allowing our unique vision come out and so what I say is what is art is your unique vision executed to perfection can you duplicate the mood feel tone emotion in your mind what you see expressed in your photography can you do that and that's really what art is is creating your vision you have a certain feel or a tone that you want to convey a certain way you see life and you want express that in a photograph well how do we do that? Well look at this a musician that's a concert pianist let's say they only know two keys c and d they're going to be very limited in what they can do we're just knowing two notes right that's just like us well all we know is natural light we don't know anything else we may need those other tools to create the masterpiece that in our mind right we need to know all the notes in order to play a song the way we want to well in photography what are all those different notes well there's composition there's posing and there's lighting lighting the way you light a subject can actually convey your vision and that's what we're going to talk about these are the type of imagery type of images that we're gonna learn how to create you might look at that go she's really I can't sure after the course you're going to say you know that it's so easy scott actually I want to done it that way I would have let it this way what a jealous you'll be telling me what to do low light bright light different types of fields and emotions using natural light and created light at the same time all right, so let's get to it why do we need to learn how to use the flash? Well, you know what? I got this fancy camera here and I could turn this darn thing upto um one million and three so in fact you know what I don't even need like to shoot anymore why do I need to learn how to use a flash because this camera can shoot in the dark why what? Why why yes grainy could be grainy. Okay, well besides that let's say we have a take out all the grain through some sort of filter or something. Why why do we need to learn flash what's so good about flash I don't need I don't need light anymore I got this I got I s o one million and four well, there's going to be scenarios where you want the subject to be the focus of the porch, the picture and the only way to do it is to illuminate them properly typically you know they're they're lit more than the background is s o tio cause attention teo causes other subject yes. Okay that's good. Any other reasons why to cheat okay in which, you know whatever you're able to do just with the camera is not enough. You want a certain effect and you cannot do that just with like what types effects um um maybe a certain a certain color difference between the background in the foreground a certain type of lighting on the subject as far as um maybe maybe you want to create shadows in a certain way and they're not our ah create shadows interesting yes. Okay or back light someone back like somebody okay juries movement movement creating drama to creating drama lettering didn't look like that when you got there. All right, well look it number one reason create drama when light is flat or their hartley any light at all okay, so like this particular photo ah, this was done in china I was doing a workshop there and ah in this particular location there wasn't any light at all. It was ten o'clock at night and there was it was pitch black there so with three flashes was able to create that that's what the vision I had in my mind and because I was able to create life I could do that and you know what I say about flash mastering flash photography is like having a sunset in your pocket and just pull it out when you need it that's what I love about this this thing these flashes are so small literally you could put it in your pocket and this could simulate the sun son isn't that powerful a something this small could create light for you like the sun look at this, okay let's pretend we're going to hawaii because this is where this was shot. Okay, so now we're hawaii and we're here photographing these guys which happened to meet my cousins friends I was doing a workshop over there said hey because I need some surfer dudes can you go to the office and finds you guys sure no problem brought these guys okay were there were photographing this these guys and guess what I missed the sunset. They are incomplete shade right now. Okay, but with one simple flash off camera camera right doesn't it look like sunset? Look, this next picture shot a little bit differently. I came in close, I got down low giving you them that kind of hero feel on then I had him look out there and I said, hey, smile and laugh look over there give me some kind of expression and they did that and so you can see that that flash created shadows right to define shape right? And this really brings up a very, very, very, very important question, ladies, do you like harry chest or do you like doesn't weigh so it's very important to create shadows for example let's say you have a bride and this bride spent ten thousand dollars on her wedding dress and it has intricate beading on it. How you going toe? Bring that out if you don't see shadow shadow defines shape and and it creates drama and shadow can actually bring out a person's features and make them look better it can slim them by the way you put the shadow on their face on their body it can sculpt them uh and it could make a person look more beautiful and uh that's another reason why I love using flash so you mean we don't need just photo shop photo shop is important but no you can actually get things in camera two which is great. Okay t ell versus manual I am going to teach you for threes three days about using your flash in manual, huh? Okay, so don't get scared right? And there's three reasons why um manual why I want to teach manual first of all you guys have your camera right now. Um does anybody use that particular what is that, by the way, on your dial there what is it met manual ok eso who uses manual on their camera you're kidding all of you use manual I mean, you spend all this money on the camera and it has the little running man on there that has the mountain thing and it has a little flower uh, right you choose to put it in manual you spend all this money and you say you know what? Whoever brand camera you have night gone canon, sony whatever you actually set you're telling them screw you, aren't you you're saying hey, you don't have my vision you don't know what I'm looking at I want full control here is that what you're saying? Right? So if we do this on camera, why wouldn't we want to do this with our flash too right isn't it on the same system that like oh wow, the camera there oh, they knew you're doing off camera lighting now and so they're going to switch to an entirely different situation that's going to give you more control no it's exactly the same system so if we wiped putting our camera in manual because why are masterpieces at stake here? Our vision is at stake because we want to produce that photo the way we want to see it we might want to put thiss in manual also so we can have full control of our art. Okay, how many of you have studio systems like fancy backdrops and all that kind of stuff any of you I know there's probably a lot of people out there that do right. Well, let's say you're going to go out and you want to do some fantastic baby photography or something like that so you're goingto buy some lighting equipment studio lighting equipment do you ever go out there and say, hey, give me a t t l studio lighting set up you guys are laughing what why are you laughing? Okay, wait is that you back up if t t l was so amazing and awesome and yet when they sell tita studio lighting systems, they don't even make it in detail uh, isn't that giving you a clue on how reliable tt l is right again when your masterpiece is at stake when your art is at stake we want full control and another reason is cost when we get onto into a manual system you're going to save thousands of dollars in cost because why you're the technology you're the one that's in control and you don't have to pay for that because guess what your mind is free we just have to use it all right so let's get into some basics first one unit of light okay uh and we talk about stops a lot in photography and if we want to add a stop it means doubling the light that's all it is okay so if we wanted to add one stop and that's one unit of light how many unit of how many units of light would you see if we wanted to add one stop if there was one there to your right right that's one stop get it you're doubling the light let's say I wanted to add another stop on top of that one. How many balls of light would you see at the bottom four man, you guys are geniuses, right? So it to stop difference is not twice the light it's actually four times the light you get how that works ok? And so uh let's say this let's say this one unit of light is creating f four worth of lead what would a who units of anybody know what two units of light would create? What f stop that would be five, six, man, five course you guys roberts that naked guy answers right away, right? Okay, now let's say we're gonna add another stop what would the f stop you there? Anybody know? Say so eight yes, you are correct and how this works? I don't know if you've ever noticed this but on your camera there's the's numbers of these numbers look familiar. They're f stops in the old days. They used to have those numbers on the lenses because we used to have to manually adjust everything. So like, if you actually if you look at a lot of the nikon lessons, they still have that on anybody nikon users here, right? If you look at your lenses, they have that on there and they have these different and these air the different stops, but you're going to know what man, this is too complicated. How much you remember? One point for five put it looks like there's no rhyme or reason to this how? Why don't they just convert to the metric system into b seventy seven zero one, two, three, four five rights! Well, how does that work? Does anybody know how they arrived at these numbers? Well, it's a multiplier of one point four so if you want to get to the next stop you multiply that by one point four and you get the next stop or you divide by it and you get the stuff below it now interesting lee enough does anybody know what one point four times one point forests or close to it it's the square root of to right was to one point four is the square root of two and that's why we get are doubling understand how that works so that's why they use one point four so a lot of light a lot of computations is just basically the doubling of things and that's when we're talking about stops we should understand that and everyone should know these numbers and have them memorized like on the back of their hand okay now I know that is like might be something difficult for you to do but let's face it if you want to get to the next level with your photography we're goingto have tto learn some things and be forced to do things that are uncomfortable for us right and that means we might even have to get a little bit technical I know we're trying to resist it but if we want to understand light and be the master of creating our light we need toe understand these things to move forward it might not be easy but we have to go through this process okay so I know that okay then we talk about equivalent exposures and what I mean by that is there's like the exposure triangle and it's based on your exposure is based on three things right theis l the f stop and the shutter speed now you can change each one of those they each of them play a dynamic right but you can create equivalent exposures even though these numbers here change like for example from this vote these looks similar and exposure is that not correct but here I raised the I s o I doubled the I s o increasing one more stop of light right so when I increased the so I'm making the the set the camera sense of sensor more sensitive delight is that not correct and so therefore I'm increasing one stop of light but how did us so I'm right here I increased the light that means I have to bring it back down in some of the other settings is that not true if I wanted to look the same so what I did was I kept the f stop the same will then to reduce the light I what doubled my shutter speed okay so that creates an equivalent exposure and then on this case here I kept the iast still the same and I raised my f stop making this what one stop darker but in order to bring up the exposure I changed the shutter speed and I lowered that to bring it back down. Okay, you must learn how to rock arrived at equivalent exposures immediately in your head. Okay, it's a technical thing we must master because there's certain constraints with learning flash, especially in manual there's certain shutter speeds that we have to stay under, um, in order for it to get to work. But we must find those equivalent exposures in other ways. And so that's why? If you're not good at this ah, you can practice by just basically shooting in manual um, a lot and and changing one thing and then trying to get that exact same exposure by changing the other elements. Ah, and practicing that way. Okay, so, hey, I'm gonna give you a little bit testy about flash now don't get worried right now if you have me. If you listened to my lecture before okay, great. Those online, they can't, uh, answer this question. I've had thousands of people hear my lecture before on this. You can answer. Okay, so just be quiet. All right? So there's there are on ly the people that have never taken this test before. Okay, so here's the test to see how much you know about flash photography and don't worry if you you're clueless on it that's okay? Okay let's say we're in paris and we're taking a picture of our our groom here and I take a picture of that would just flash on lee ok so if I didn't use the flash it would be completely dark okay, so all the light is generated from my flash and I mice camera standing here is one sixtieth of a second at f four okay and I take the picture of all man I've got it over exposed by two stops now my flash is way far away I don't have time to run over there adjusted I have to just leave that flash power coming out of the safe and I have to do something to my camera to give me two stops less light coming in because this is over exposed what what I what camera settings would I use to get to help me arrive at two stops lower and light okay, so does anybody uh what way are we getting any responses online a little bit we've just there's a little bit of a delay between when you say something when they see it online right? So I've primed the chat room and so as soon as those answers start coming in uh okay uh does anybody stayed two seconds at ft? Anybody say one, eight hundred and eight does anybody say one, eight hundred at f four? Well tomorrow happens says b and tierra que says I think I failed the test already won two fiftieth at four anybody say that a lot of people anybody say one twentieth it f or well anybody just like completely confused and have no idea we've got a guest here who says to fiftieth it at four and v k agrees to fiftieth at four okay is that seemed to be like the concensus eso flow it's just starting to come in now that's ah see joyful noise also to fiftieth of f four but see, by the way is one of twenty four okay uh is my mom on there did she say anything what's your mom's name your memory okay you guys curious? Yes all right. Those are the right answers okay on that's the right response this's the reason why most people uh don't understand flash photography okay and what is that? Okay, look att anything at f four is all over exposed anything at f ate is probably from properly exposed. Okay, so what is that kind of telling you about controlling your flash? You control it with your appa chair yes you can't control it with your average er and this is good. This is the number one misunderstood concept about flash okay flash is not controlled by shutter speed can I have everybody repeat that glass is controlled by can you write that on the back of your hand in pen and remember that you cannot control flash by your shutter speed and let me explain that a little bit um I need a piece of paper or something um let's yeah that'd be perfect that would be perfect okay let's pretend this is our camera sensor okay, so here's our camera sensor what happens is is your shutter comes up and exposes your cameras sensors that not correct and once this shutter fully exposes the sensor that's when your flash and fire write what happens if the center comes up halfway and you fire flash what do you get a nice big shadow across there? Anybody done that before? Yeah right that means that your flash is not in sync with your camera you ever heard that time so you have to be so the only time that you can fire your flash is when your shutter fully exposes your sensor bam you gotta just get can I control the light value with my shutter you're either going to get fully exposed or you're going to get a shadow across the sensor that's it you're not controlling light at all with your shutters me does that make sense so could you um could you walk through the answer to that test one more time? I'm just going to step back and talk about why the number of stops is changing oh came out that you want that's correct so it's two stops overexposed right uh I'm at f four so it's two stops overexposed right? And so we know that if we have our stops memorized the next stop up is five six and then the next stop after that is f eight so that's how you get the two stops there? Okay? And so right um like when we talk about have stopped some of you might not know this but what happens is that f stop is a kind of like a dia fram it's a it's a hole that lets light into your camera okay, so the higher the number the smaller the whole okay, the lower the number, the bigger the hole so we're bringing up that number from f four f ate two stops and that will diminish the light into the sensor. Does that make sense to you guys? So and specifically just because so many people thought that one to fiftieth at four was the correct answer, maybe you could talk about exactly why that is the wrong because there you're trying to gain two stops with your chater, which is logical like that's why I put that in there yeah, right thinking that you would think that way so they're trying to limit that amount of life okay? Asai said before there's no ambient light in this picture were not controlling any ambient light all this light is created with your flash on lee so they may be thinking that there's light around tow let in but there's actually no light toe let in it's it's completely I mean all the light is generated by your flash in this particular situation but we'll get into that mix of between ambient light and uh flash and all that kind of how that works together ah little bit later so that's why that's the natural choice it's because they're going okay well if I increase my shutter to talk if I double it toe one twenty right that lives that's one stop and then if I double it again one twenty times two is two forty but that's close to two fifty they don't have to forty on the camera but they do have two fifty then okay well that's two stops does that make sense two people and that's why f ate is the only way uh so what is that one hundred eighty six thousand miles per second it's beautiful that's the speed of light that's why you can't you know you're fast this shutter speed is like molasses compared to the speed of light right you're not going control light with its shutter it's instantaneous right the time let's say I'm fired ah flash right and take a picture priscilla it's going hmm six feet there six feet back how long does that take light to go twelve feet when it goes one hundred eighty six thousand miles per second it's instantaneous and so you can't control light with your shutter you can with the f stop by making the whole smaller or larger but you can't do with your shutter and so we talked a little bit about flash xing so when you're shooting manual I said in order to expose that ah sensor your shutter has toe fully expose is that not correct? Well, certain cameras they have what they call extinct does anybody know what extinct is all cameras talk about ex ink x inc is the fastest shutter speed allowed to shoot your camera in manual flash and in general, what does anybody know that number two, two fifty for most cameras is that correct? And so when you're using flash, you can't go above two fiftieth of a second or else it will not be in sync and you'll when you fire flash, you're going to get that strip on the bottom that shadow across your sensor that makes sense to you guys now what's interesting is they have certain cameras that don't have limitations on extinct and there's this this new camera out by something called the rx one and this uses a leaf shutter and on this particular camera you khun this excellent goes all the way up to four thousands of a second, which is amazing on that, okay? And after talking to some very high up sony reps and techie guys they informed me that in a couple years there'll be something called global shutter does anybody know what that isthe which means there won't be any more physical shutters on cameras anymore? Why is that well is because isn't it possible to just turn on and off the sensor instead of using a physical shutter right? So at that case pretty soon in the near future we're not going to even be talking about extinct that will be the thing of the past and all cameras will sync up to whatever shutter speed we you want to in the future but for now in general we are limited to about one to fiftieth of a second or slower that's on lee in like perfect conditions that's like you know when you read the manual of your car says you have, you know, two hundred fifty horsepower yes and no right in reality I don't have two hundred fifty pour ce power it's probably lower than that and that's what it's too sometimes in the real world using cameras so I like to stay two hundred or lower a lot of times too if you have a full fain camera, your your sink speed will be slower because why the shutter has a further way to travel and so you're going to get less time on that versus crop sensors might have a faster uh sink speed okay? Um your flash direction acts like a shutter speed in little light I'll talk about a little bit about this later if you look at this photo right and look att look at my camera settings I'm out one sixth of a second faa at s o two and I'm at one sixth of a second okay first of all I don't own a tripod so everything that you see his hand held okay and so wait this doesn't make sense I'm at one sixth of a second and yet I was able to stop this bead of water in mid air how's that possible with flash right flash enables you to do this so your actual ah shutter speed in a low light situation actually acts like the duration of the flash, right? So I mean exam I want you to look at the amount of time it takes for this bills this life to go often on right when they turned down real low that's real fast ate it that's really your shutter speed when you're shooting in little light not the physical shutter speed of your camera. So what I did was I did this diagram shutter controls the continuous like or the ambient light okay, but it doesn't control the flash okay, so the reason why I had it at one sixth of a second was because I wanted to capture these clouds up here that were very very dim so I had to open my shutter upto one sixth of a second to capture that but let's let me show you a diagram to help explain this little bit better let's say we're taking a picture okay and there some light coming in but what we did was we created a light proof box so there's no light entering this box and we're going to take a picture of of this person okay there's no light in there let's say we have our flash okay and we fire that flash and on lee what illuminates that subject for what a fraction of a second that not correct so how long can I have that shutter open before that images over exposed if there's no light coming into there you're right I did I could literally I could set that shutter for three hours I didn't open it up right I could come in at our number to light up my subject right bam and then I could step out for a now or go to the bathroom or whatever and then I could come back and close that shutter down and that still would be perfectly exposed why? Because there's no more light coming in to my camera because it's dark so let me show you a little bit about how this works okay see that when the flash goes on let's say let's say we're lighting this subject the flash goes off it's a fraction of a second is that not correct just like that the subject is he not still there right? But you can't see that subject because there's no light there that's subject to walk it over to the corner and relieve himself over there walk around, have a sandwich, do whatever and you can't see them. So what happens is is when that light hits that subject for a fraction of a second, it freezes that image on your sensor that's how I was able to get that bit of water in there because there's no other light entering the camera sensor so it's just freezing it for a fraction of a second confused makes sense. Okay, so look at this picture again and so what's happening is here is I'm firing the flash it's very, very dark it was like probably eight thirty at night and the clouded area was actually brighter than where my subject wass because the sun was barely hitting those clouds as the sun was going down and illuminating them but where I was it was completely dark, okay, so bam fired the flash okay, you can't you can't see that person anymore it froze that water right there, but I left my shutter open so I what could expose the clouds now isn't that exciting? Actually when you think about it because what's exciting is when you're using flash photography it's like taking two exposures at the same time that's why you can get this fantastic hdr images because basically you're shooting two different exposures one exposure for the sky or whatever and one exposure on the subject and you're mashing them together all in one shot and so that can expand your creativity and let me show you some more examples of this okay look at this okay? I took this photo at same workshop in why actually and I placed the light behind them and I look at my shutter speed it's one sixtieth of a second ok the very next photo I'm going to keep basically everything the same and all I'm going to do is going to change my shutter speed that's it okay and so what I'm going to do I'm gonna put this shutter speed at one point three seconds okay with the same lighting okay that's what you get right she's razor sharp because where she was it was dark okay that flash went on for a fraction of a second and froze her in time she could walk around, jump around or whatever camera is not really going to see her because it's dark there okay, I'm opening it up because I want illuminate the background right and you can tell I'm hand holding it at one point three seconds because isn't that blurry back there right because there's some shake there as I'm holding it for one point three seconds and that's why you get that blur there but she's razor sharp so I got to exposures and once so look at that changing your shutter I get completely two different shots what's your vision is your vision something like this where you're creating a dramatic silhouette or is your vision using something flash more like kind of a phil open ambient light now do you have the tools to understand how to create that vision right flash is very, very powerful just by changing your shutter speed you can get two completely different looks it just depends on you you might instead of one point three seconds you might want a half a second I don't know it's whatever you choose it to be but you should be in control of what you want to achieve uh but you have to understand flash okay, so in uh how to control your flash well, in a manual we can control our flash in four different ways but in t t l we could control it in one way does anybody know that we're okay let's say, uh we're taking a photo here, okay? And I let's say I'm using a t t l system okay let's say I've got it let's say I I've mounted it on my camera and I'm taking a picture and I'm in t t l fully automatic everything right? I take the picture goes oh, man looks a bit too bright what are my options? How am I going to get that light less bright when I'm in t t l that's your only recourse you could expose for something that's break you could expose for something that's bright what happens if you don't have anything right there? This person's wearing dark exposure compensation, exposure, compensation right? Evey compensation? That is my only recourse. I could goats and say, hey, flash go minus one stop or minus two thirds stops or minus one in two thirds stops right? Does it anybody know that sitting on their camera and so that's how you can control your life that's the only way is by relative depending on what you're focusing and what your cameras meeting now if your camera meter changes than your light values going to change too because it's relative right it's just going to give you minus one stop below whatever it's me dory so that could change constantly on and that's what happens in t t l a lot of times you could take a photo, you could fire ten shots and they could look slightly different and you're not going to get that rock solid same exposure every single time, not less you switch to manual so because what happens is this ok? So you fire in t tl moat oh it's to price and you try to be tricky you said okay, well shoot, I'm going to lower its too bright. I'm going to raise my f stop to allow less light in there. Really? The camera doesn't know that you raise your f stop it says oh, scott raised this f stop from five six two f ate I'm going to give him one more stop of light you know it's impossible to trick, right? Oh, I'm going to change my I s l so I raised my okay it's too bright. So I go from I s o two hundred and I lower it down to one hundred, right? Do you think the camera doesn't know? Of course it knows. Oh, scott changed his eye a soul from two hundred down to one hundred. Therefore I'm going to give him warlike let's say you do it by distance and you fire it's too bright and you move the flash bath well, a lot of times cameras take a pre flash to get certain distances and readings in and it knows the camera knows. Oh, scott moved his flashback three feet, give him more light, you are in full control of your camera, they have you so the only way you could do it says you know what fire minus one tv my uh do it minus two thirds ivy or increased the light so evey compensation is the on ly way to be able to control your life in tt l and it's very inconsistent because it's a relative media ring okay for example let's say you're focusing well I'm taking a picture of desert and one time I focus on her dark hair is going to meet her for that dark hair and then a second time I focused and I meet her on her face which is lighter then it's going to give me a different exposure right? And so your flash power's going to be inconsistent right or depending on what's walking by or whatever that media ring could change? I don't know if that meat oring changes then your light will change to and you can't get a consistent result off of it okay but emmanuelle, you can control it in four ways and this is what we're going to talk about one is flash output so I could go to this flash and I've taken a picture of neil okay and I got it at eighth power and I fire it and it's not bright enough what could I do? Raise it a quarter power or raise it a half hour raise it if I don't know whatever you want to do right I can simply raise it or lower it right here on my flash and I have control over okay that's one way what's another way anybody else know another way there's forty for aperture okay let's wolf let's go through this list sorry way yes this is right we'll get the distance to the sun ship okay taking picture of neal again okay let's say I fire it and it's not bright enough I can move closer right I could have just said that I could actually move two centimeters if I want I am in full control I can just find tune that light exactly the way I want to whatever my vision whatever my art calls for I'm in control of it okay here's another reason I mean here's another way aperture we talked about so I take the side of neil ok I'm shooting at f four and it's too bright what can I turn my aperture toe let less light in five six or four five anything above four I think control that light now your camera is set up in third stops is that not correct so you can control your light by just changing the aperture now that's cool because let's say you're shooting a wedding okay, so you're here shooting the wedding and you have your assistant over here ah holding the light for you like uh firing on the subject okay and you look at it and let's say it's there's a lot of chaos going on and it's noisy and you're really far away let's say you're twenty feet away from your assistant right? And it looks too bright right? And it's impossible for you to yell it just hey during a flash down you know it's just impossible to and anyway your assistant is busy facebooking so you you're not a lot for anyways, right? So what you can do is change your aperture and control that light without even talking at all to your assistant and your full control. Okay, last way is I s o okay, now I want to present a question to the online audience and here I want tohave an I s so off I want to know who who has taken a photo with the highest eso here. Okay, so anybody take a picture with an s o above? Well, sixteen hundred and above any of you. All right. Uh, what about thirty, two hundred? Anybody taking a picture who who's taken a picture of thirty two hundred? Oh, you you have to. Ok, sixty, four hundred anybody got? Whoa. Okay, anybody above sixty four hundred twelve eight twelve a mighty is having on it kind of breaks down at that point, but I've done it you've done it a twelve eight who's gone beyond twelve eight nobody people online or started chime in saying sixteen hundred sixteen hundred thirty two hundred we've got one person aptly named crazy light who says twenty five six okay five that's where you guys were at twenty five hundred right you're no no twelve twelve eight but let's go easy so the winner so far okay to anybody above twenty five thousand sl so far tinkers is also a twenty five thousand but I haven't seen anyone else was anything higher than that? Okay all right has anybody heard of the stroh vis movement right it seems to be kind of fashionable to you small tropes and the reason is is the ability to shoot at high isos okay if I turn my camera also up to twenty five thousand and I use this tiny little flash I can light the entire city of san francisco okay that's so therefore technology has allowed this to be a monster it's so powerful now because we can make that sensor extremely sensitive to light and this thing is like overkill when you put it on twenty five thousand eso and so is technology gets better we can start to understand that and use that to our advantage and understand that we can get away with a lot less light if we turn our s o up okay so those are the four way to control your flashy should memorize those flash output distance apertura ok the big question is if I gave you one shot to correctly expose the subject using your flash and manual could you do it? I want you so for example okay, you're going to set your camera toe s o two hundred and two f eight can I set this camera there and I'm going to give you this flash and you gotta correctly expose christine and I'm only eveyone shot who wants to come up here and do it one shot that's all you get oh you know what let's say let's say I give you a light meeting but that help you get one shot though you gets a slight meter that's cheating no it would help but do actually does this light meter tell you at all with the put your flash on no no s so people ask me scott, why don't you use light meters? Well, light meters measure light they don't tell me what to put my light at right so it's a little bit inefficient to me you know what I have? I have a digital camera my light meter is the back of that screen I look at it and that's what and that's what I go all right, so guess yeah that's why we don't like manual we don't like manual because if at least if we were intent to yell we could get something fairly close with one shot with tt else that not correct but when manual go well I could get to it back and fore but great guess what this is my revolutionary idea ok is that I ca n't today help you get the right shot in manual with one shot that not interesting I'm gonna show you how to do it right now okay and that's what I came up with this is what you can get this guy guide literally I have thousands tens of thousands of these cards used by photographers all around the world everywhere I speak I have these cards and I give them out to people this works okay this card you can use it it tells you do you see shutter speed on this card there's no shutter speed on this card at all okay uh because why flash is not controlled by shutter speed so what you do is this so if you were going to deter let's say I want to shoot at five six and I s o one hundred ok five six that I sl one hundred would tell me what flash power to set it at was that say when a power right and this card works and so if I put my flash at one eighth power okay and if I'm generally six feet or eight feet away it will work with almost any flash any professional flash okay, you can arrive at it one shot. Now you might ask. Well, how do I know it's? Six feet or eight feet? Well, one way is to practice and then once you know your flash, you know, but in general oh, by the way, I also have an app if you don't, if you want, uh too it's a little bit more complete than the card because you khun scroll in different distances. That car has just set at six point eight, but if you want to scroll in these differences, then it'll tell your flash power according to the distance aah! So you could get that, too. So, scott, yes, I just want to make sure people understand that you are that card that you said tens of thousands of people you have around the world, you can too it's available when you just enroll for the class, so make sure you've enrolled for the class it's up there all ready for you to download and for free and thank you for that you're well god, but you can then follow along with that as a resource on dh that's again that's just for the six to eight feet that card, which is why people love the app that will then allow you to interact with that further in the field. It's in and also later on I'm going to put lighting examples up there and die right exactly but go go download that now so that you have that all right all right all you need to do is go the course page click that enroll button which is just to the left of the video once it's enrolled just religion and go to that it's the first thing in the list below the course traffic okay, so there's two types of professional flashes out they're expensive and more expensive okay, so, uh there type one is kind of like what my flashes rice called destro be one thirty and that is that chart works at about six feet okay, so if you aren't well some of us are distanced challenged right? We have no concept of what six fetus right? But everybody knows what they're hiding right? Is that correct? So if you stretch out your arms that's pretty much what your hiatus so I'm like five seven so let's say um let's get dessert reappear let's say I'm wanting to light disarray with my flash and I know my flash works at about six feet right to stand right here so all what I'll do is like two her nose I'll just kind of do this and I go okay that's about six feet right there I'm right in there okay thank you uh and there's other types of flashes the more expensive ones and that works at about seven or eight feet ah lot of times there at around seven, feet but you contest your flash you just need to test it a couple times and then you can figure out what it isthe so what's interesting about this in regards to just power on ly you might want to save yourself three hundred bucks or maur if you don't mind standing this close to your stub jek versus this close because really that's all you're paying for is about this much extra distance that's about it right? So anyways just remember that way we can take some questions raise if they have any until we it's going to this workflow sounds great always have questions waken start with anouk dubai who says can you explain if there's any relation between flash power and flash duration is the flash power determined by the flash duration? Very good point. Okay, um duration. Yeah ah on your flash yeah, let me explain that a little bit. Your flash the flash duration goes anywhere from one thousands of a second to thirty thousandths of a second. Okay? The slowest uh, duration is or the longest aeration is when your flashes on full power okay? Because what it measures is how long that light stays on and some when you're at full power it's it's blasting a lot of light and for it that light to kind of fall off it takes longer than when you set it at one sixty fourth power does that make sense so when you when you set your flash on one sixty fourth power the flash duration is going to be a lot shorter and I don't know exactly what one sixty fourth hour could be maybe one five thousands of a second or one ten thousandth of a second I'm not too sure on that all I know is that when you're using flash the slowest duration is one thousands of a second or around there so it's extremely fast even at full power so if you use less power than your duration is going to be even shorter right thank you any questions in our studio audience if you have it in the example you've shown us modified the light or a few years hating okay I just want to feel like hard light no no no no no I do the next half left is just going to all go into modifiers and all that kind of stuff and gels and multiple flashes and so forth um so yes yes my question is in regards to your exposure test that yes, I raise my hand for every single answer because I noticed that the ice so column wasn't listed and so theoretically couldn't you just compensate with that lowering the isos for like the top three I uh well, it was supposed to be given that you're not only supposed to be changing yeah, the shutter speed or the point but yeah, okay, hands up too. Yeah, big ups to you yes, you could chase so to make it all match well, the although if you go on yeah, yeah, I guess you could yeah, I didn't look at that I better change that in there. I don't I don't know that I don't want to scroll back to that way back there, but theoretically, yes. Any other questions we got o go ahead. Um, how far into your photography that they decide to include flash that you just have flash with you from the start like, this is my buddy I'm going to use it and you know, I was a started off is a natural light shooter first, like everybody on then I would I would say I'm down always dabbled in flash, but I really didn't get in tow off camera flash until maybe about three or four years ago and then I start to really, really just love it and s o I was just recently very recent that I really started to get into it and just love it, so um you know, it is I do recommend understanding natural life first before going in tow flash photography because natural light is is again one you're being a reactive photographer and you're just meeting for that it's a lot easier like on a wedding day most of the time I'm looking for natural light because it's the fastest on dh then flashes is my second choice because it's it takes longer to do it and it's it takes more skill too but this you know to me if you could master flash that's kind of like the final frontier like if you get flashed down baby you can do anything really this is the hardest subject to learn a technique from a technical point of view in my estimation so once you convey master this man rest of photography is a breeze from a technical standpoint absolutely let's takes more questions from the internet one is from edward seven just to clarify that that six feet that you're talking about is the distance to the flash right not the distance to the camera no it doesn't matter right because that light is going to be firing on your subject and that's what you do you want so you could be six feet that flash could be six feet of relay from your subject but I could be I could be a mile away or whatever it doesn't matter it's the distance from the flash to use the subject yes but not just the camera fantastic um a lot of questions coming in about how to focus when you're in the bark and you're using flash as the only source of light that is great they must be cannon users because kanan uh does not have a focusing I don't really have that issue because I have a sony and nightgowns have infrared beam that finds out a lot that's great well, there's a couple things that you could do first of all my triggering system I built in an infrared system for the cannon users that fires a beam to help you focus at night. Okay it's a little play there again but another way that I find very useful is using your, uh, phone smartphone or whatever I tell a person to just put that up to their face right? Then you can focus on that lip phone and then pull it away. Some people use little flashlights or video lights but I find that the phone is the fastest in the easiest or just you know, by a nikon or a sony and then you you cool with that well, from a cannon user here, triggering system with the built in infrared light in it. Are you gonna tell us about that later? Yeah, I will. All right. Another question from by dawn's light who's in texas when when the card that you've created yes, how do we know what power for the flash their card tells you let's go back to that card and explain that a bit hoops okay, so what you do is you line up the I s o n the f stop and it tells you what power you're at for example if you were at I s o four hundred at f eleven what would that be right I s o four hundred f eleven eighth power six feet away on my flash bam one shot you're going to get it okay? And I think you're right now personally scott um for that card because I met you years ago at a speaking event that you did and you presented that card out to everybody and that was my introduction emmanuel okay? And um it helped so much it transformed the way I shot receptions for weddings because when you're doing tio and you're getting all these different exposures your your during your battery a lot preach it brother he's going you know, even risk like burning the circuits on that and you know like sb nine hundred sb yeah pass me nine hundred it can tend to overheat right once you know how to control your light um I memorize that card well, I noticed I was off a little bit on that one but that's ok once you got the general gist of it I mean you're you're in control of everything and I don't worry about, you know, running out of battery power at the end of the night, right? Because I know myself, I think pretty much go through an entire wedding and maybe check changing out one set of batteries. I don't carry battery packs. I don't, because I know how to just when you're shooting in t tl, especially high speed sync what's happening is, is that your your flashes firing like ten times per millisecond down that sensor to light the entire thing up? Because what's happening in fast shutter speed is you have to shutters, you have the first curtain, and then in order for you to get a fast shutter speed, the second curtain comes up at the same time, leaving a slit of light to expose your sensor. Okay, well, your shutter goes bam, bam, bam bam! But I mean your flash in high speed sync fires multiple times toe light up that entire sensor one, you're not going to get the full power of it because it has to work so hard and to get overheated a lot, and you're wasting a lot of power making your flash over work every single time you're on that high speed sync.

Class Description

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

Learn how to find the best light available in this CreativeLive photography course with Scott Robert Lim. The award-winning portrait photographer will help you master simple photography lighting techniques by using available light and small portable strobes, you can create amazing images on location and almost anywhere within minutes.

Scott Robert shows you how to shoot in lighting environments from extreme bright sun to dim light and partial shade. This course also covers how to use lighting recipes to maximize your shooting time and capture a variety of stylized images. Finally, you will learn to pull off crazy "one-shot" images with Scott Robert's amazing off-camera lighting techniques.

Class Materials

bonus material

Crazy Stupid Light Slides

Master Flash Guide

bonus material


Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



I just finished this course today, and I'm so happy that I bought it! It's been on my wishlist for months, after watching it as a rebroadcast here on Creative Live. I absolutely LOVE Scott's approach to lighting. The way he explains how to light manually is so clear, and easy to understand; he also has a great sense of humor which takes the edge off of trying to get everything perfect the first time. I like how he encourages the class to just try new techniques, and if mistakes are made, that's okay, just adjust and keep moving. This has allowed me, as a perfectionist, to try his lighting formulas, with a lot of success. I'm so appreciative that as an instructor, he took the time to create a class that helps us as photographers to be more creative. Because of this course, I feel so much more confident as I experiment with light on my own, and then apply it to my work. I feel that I have all the tools that I need to create amazing images that really stand out. Thanks Creative Live for making this class available, it has changed how I shoot! =)

Jack C

This course is simply amazing, super good, and completely exceeds my original expectations! Scott is such a brilliant photographer and teacher. His way of teaching is of great fun, and he delivers the ideas so well. I learn really a lot from this. Thank you so much Scott! Creative Live is doing such a wonderful job!!


This is by far my most favourite course on Creativelive. It's inspiring, funny and most educational. I learned so much about flash and lighting and can't wait to practise all that I've learned. Scott is an enthusiastic teacher and his way of teaching just clicks with me. Highly entertaining! And it was fun to also get some posing, composition and other tips out of the workshop for variety. I 1000% recommend this course if you want to learn more about lighting in an inspiring way.