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How to Shoot with your First Flash

Lesson 11 of 28

Flash Settings: TTL Flash Power

Mike Hagen

How to Shoot with your First Flash

Mike Hagen

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Lesson Info

11. Flash Settings: TTL Flash Power

Lesson Info

Flash Settings: TTL Flash Power

TTL. So we talked about manual flash power, but what does TTL flash power look like. TTL flash power is slightly different. So TTL, when the flash fires onto the scene, it gives you basically an exposure. And that exposure is what's called a zero exposure, or a medium brightness exposure. And I always talk about it like this, like, it's like your at a party and a guy hands you the hors d'oeuvre. Here's your unflavored hors d'oeuvre, it's zero, it's in the middle. And you're like, I want my hors d'oeuvre spicier, so you can increase the power. Or I want my hors d'oeuvre, you know, less spicy, so you reduce the power. The camera is always going to serve you a middle brightness exposure in TTL mode, it's going to try to do that. So your job is to say, oh I like the flavor of that hors d'oeuvre a little bit, but I want it brighter. So you take a shot, you know like it's too dark, boom, you increase the exposure on the flash, let me show you how you do that. So, I'm going to go back to TTL ...

mode here, go to TTL, and its got all the BL and the FP and all that other stuff, but I'm just thinking TTL. I take a picture, let's see how the camera does when I take this picture, and I look at it on the back, and I'm like, oh you know what, I mean, it's actually pretty good. I know that it doesn't look so great on the screen there, but on the camera it's great, fantastic, I don't have to do anything. But let's say I did. Let's say I wanted to increase exposure or reduce, so now what I can do, is I just can push my plus and minus button, and I rotate it left, see that number up there? It says EV, does anyone know what EV stands for? She said it, exposure value. Bingo. Exposure value. So zero exposure value, plus one exposure value is actually another stop of light, one more stop of light. Minus one is minus one stop of light. So as I'm taking pictures at an event, and I'm in TTL mode, I just literally take a shot, look at it, and I go, oh that's too bright, I need to reduce power. Take another shot at minus one, you know. And then I just, you know. Take a shot, take a look. That's why I love digital. Digital is so, it makes the learning curve so fast. I remember back in film days, man, I'd be taking photos and I'd have to wait three days to get my film back, it was driving me crazy, because I'd forget. But now it's just real time feedback. So TTL mode, remember, the camera always gives you zero, that's where it starts out, and then your job is to say, I want more than that or less than that.

Class Description

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

Every photographer encounters situations where the light on their subject is less than ideal. A small flash can have a huge impact on your photos and is easier to use than you think! Photographer Mike Hagen joins CreativeLive to show you how to use your external flash quickly and comfortably. Mike will walk through the different flash options available and how to sync your camera and flash. He’ll walk you through different scenarios and demonstrate how your flash can improve your shots. After this class you’ll walk away knowing: 
  • How to set up your flash with your camera and what to look for when shooting 
  • How to use a flash in scenarios like event photography, portraits, and tabletop photography 
  • Which light shapers work best for your work and how to utilize them 
  • How to use your flash off-camera, working with TTL cables, wireless triggers, and other gear
  • Techniques for using modifiers like umbrellas, softboxes, and reflectors with your off-camera flash 
Don’t get stuck in a low light scenario without the confidence and tools you need to produce an amazing image. 

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Single Flash Lighting Diagrams

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Single Flash Gear List 100 dollars

Single Flash Gear List 250 dollars

Single Flash Gear List 1000 dollars

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Yasemin Soyen

First of all I am very happy to discover Creative Live and since then I learned, enjoyed many classes! This week for the first time I was in the live audience and their sincerity, hospitality made the experience even more valuable. About this class, it was a pleasure to meet Mike Hagen. Besides his wide knowledge, creative thinking and information sharing, he was a very humble, nice teacher, with great positive energy. Thanks everyone!


Fantastic course - Mike is an engaging and entertaining teacher and this course was just what I needed to start using my external flash with confidence. I have had my external flash for a few years but have rarely used it as mastering all the settings was daunting and the results I got were inconsistent. This excellent course changed all that and I'm having great fun taking much better shots with my flash. I highly recommend!

Candy Smith

This class was fantastic. Mike is excellent under pressure when things don't go perfectly, love his style and grace and how encouraging he is to his models, great mentor. I learned so much about using flash, and my pictures are so much better.