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Picture Perfect Lighting

Lesson 21 of 41

Speedlites: First Curtain vs. Second Curtain Sync

Roberto Valenzuela

Picture Perfect Lighting

Roberto Valenzuela

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Lesson Info

21. Speedlites: First Curtain vs. Second Curtain Sync


Lesson Info

Speedlites: First Curtain vs. Second Curtain Sync

The next feature of the flash his flashes are crazy, right? It's like why so many features the next feature of the flash is first curtain sink or second curtain sink oh, yeah that's okay, first corn sake on second currency gets a it's a good topic a good topic for sure if the topic that I use heavily at all my jobs for ninety five percent off my exposures I'm gonna use first curtain sink let me explain the differences first currents sink when the shutter opens it's going to basically fire right away and then the exposure's made and any closer the shutter rights that's great! So if you want people if you just want to do regular exposures you just flash you the exposure opens the flash fires the exposure closest there's your exposure perfect. But if you want to bring in the ambience off the location so if you want to make it look like you never used to flash at all, you probably should use second currents sink because what that does the exposure opens takes the picture on and on when the...

picture's done and the exposure's done right before he closest the flash will fire at the very, very end so let's say you're shooting if you're shooting at fast shutter speeds anything faster than, say, eighty eights of a second, okay if you're shooting at eightieth of a second it says it's a pretty fast exposure first curtain thing is gonna be probably your go to is just gonna be anything to be like really fast fires and then he closes the exposure right if you're shooting at sixty eighth of a second or forty eighth of a second is because you're trying to bring in the the ambient light into the into the exposure if you want to do that you're going to blur your gonna do camera shake is going to blur the people in front of you but if the flash fires at the very last second and he freezes them you get to keep the ambience on your subjects are frozen are still it's not confusing to anyone that totally clear so in the first one if you're shooting are slow shutters possess a one fortieth because you want to bring in the ambience of the location and then you fire and then you fire the flash at the exact under the shutter opens then it's gonna take forty eights of a second before the before the shutter close is that's a lot of time especially if your hand holding it you could very easily shake the camera you could sneeze you could do whatever okay I always had a sneezing problem in slow shutter speeds it's like slow shutter speeds but you okay? I don't know what that was moving on so if that if you're in the slow shutter let me just show you a slow shutter here here's twenty of us back and just listen to that sound microphone is like right if he fires the flash fires right away and then if you move the camera in that forty five a second you're just gonna have blurry everything but if you want to shoot for example again receptions or moody moody porters at a bar or hotel lobby I just put it in second currents sink then I used my slow my slow shutter is going to bring in the ambient light into my sensor and I'm not gonna worry about the subjects being blurry even though I'm a very slow shutter because the flash is going to fire at the very last second before the explosion closest on is going to freeze them is that cool? So just say like awesome it is awesome because it's extremely useful yeah, okay, um let me see here, let me see here I'm going to do oh let's do a first curtain think someone good I'm gonna do a first curtain sync and she's going to blur at twentieth of a second all right, can you walk a little bit slowly welcome left and right, okay, this yep start coming this way look at the cameras mile suhel you just kidding, okay, good blurry I'm a twentieth of a second or my shutter speed if you're wondering if you can tell she's blurry on that side of her face okay it's not gonna work now we're going to go to second curtain sink and we're gonna put the flash to fire at the very last second before the shutter closest that little life will go plenty will free sir and then even though we're a twentieth of a second she will be totally frozen okay so walk again slowly groups tried again ready go good man well maybe in too slow but it should be more in focus oh sorry do it again okay well stupid thing your flash needs to be pointed at the person that you're shooting that really does help like I was pointing at the roof it's not it's not freezing anything but the roof the roof is already frozen all right ready to go here we go okay good now I'm going to make the flash I'm going to make the flash more powerful the more powerful the flash that more freezing capabilities he will have okay so try it again okay look at it now I put more flash power on the frozen better frozen completely right now let's do something really stupid let's go to like a tenth of a second so that's super super super slow but now we're going to increase the flash power on dh we're going to zoom the flash head to make it more punchy okay okay I'm just assuming the flasher to seventy ready go try one more time that's really funny okay ready go okay take a look at this I'm a tenth of a second so the side that's farther away from the flash blurred but the side that got hit by the flash first froze so this is pretty much in focus that's totally out of focus isn't it funny how her face has only four inches of distance on because that lot the faraway side it's farther from the light it freezes that side of the face but not the side of the face totally weird and I'm pushing the limits I'm a tenth of a second okay so cool um this is important receptions if people are dancing you want to keep the ambience I lower my shutter speed to like forty fifth of a second and then the ambient light comes in and then everyone is frozen in the dance or they're all like and it's like super ambience if you're shooting you don't want to shoot receptions where you flash and you flatten the whole scene all that money people spend on flowers and light and the corps just goes out the window that way so you can go a slow shutter speed as long as you're not like three seconds you know just something reasonable like forty sixtieth you should be able to freeze everyone and keep the ambiance going a lot to take in on a segment on speed lights. But throughout the day today, I'm going to be applying everything we're talking about. All these things will start to make more sense throughout today. I just have to kind of explain them, and then we'll put him in. We'll apply them.

Class Description

Don’t rely on Photoshop tricks to make your portraits pop – learn how to use light to capture the moment in a camera. In Picture Perfect Lighting, Roberto Valenzuela will teach you how to make the magic happen with on-camera, off-camera, and natural light.

Roberto is a photographer and educator committed to helping other photographers overcome roadblocks and produce their best work. In this class, he’ll teach you how to achieve perfect lighting in your portraits without always relying on bulky and expensive modifiers. 

You’ll learn:

  • How to handle Speedlites
  • The best way to use natural light
  • Studio lighting techniques

Roberto will demystify lighting and help you become a more confident practitioner of your craft. You’ll learn to embrace lighting as a source of creativity and expression, rather than a source of fear.

In Picture Perfect Lighting, Roberto will help you reduce the time you spend retouching in Photoshop so you can focus on what is really fun about photography: taking pictures. You’ll develop a better understanding of the principles behind photography lighting and learn about the gear that will make your work more beautiful – without weighing you down.

If your unedited images could use a little boost, don’t miss your chance to learn how create Picture Perfect Lighting with Roberto Valenzuela.



Im sitting in my office listening to Roberto with my earplugs on and I know I have already left 2 reviews but he's so funny…. my family comes into the office asking me "whats so funny" Roberto makes me laugh out loud with his jokes but at the same time, he is SO great at teaching. Im watching for second time to make sure all his good info is ingrained. HIGHLY recommend you take his workshop on Picture Perfect Lighting if you truly want to take your photography to the next level! WOW thats 3 reviews now…can you tell I am impressed

Maureen T.

I'm taking a portrait photography course at NYIP online. one of the mentors there recommended the posing book by Roberto. I ended up ordering at the library the posing and the perfect practice book. I fell in love with both books...ended up buying them and signing up here for the year membership just so I can take all of his photos courses. I spent most of my weekend doing perfect lighting course here I am in love with the way that he teaches! He makes something so difficult and challenging for me make sense. I also like that he challenges us photographers to be true professionals. I am thrilled to have discovered Roberto and already noticed my photography is better in the short time that I've been studying him.


Roberto has the personaliyy and gift to relate to others.He is honest and shared some of rhe disaters that occurred, even with high paying and important clients when he failed to follow his proven and tested approaches. He has shared from his extensive knowledge developed by hard work and effort to master his craft. His dedication in attacking his weaknesses and making them a strength is inspiring. I have purchased many CL classes and all have worth the investment so I hesitated to purchase this course because I didn't think there was much new information. However the clear teaching and extensive knowledge shared by Roberto in his unique style caused me to purchase it gladly and believe it is an exceptional value. Roberto has shared his extensive tools, but you will never be the master of the craft without putting in the hard work and testing that roberto testified to. Thanks again CL for bringing the best to us and Thank you Roberto for taking the time and preparation to achive excellance in in this class.