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Speedlight Photography Basics

Lesson 6 of 21

On Camera TTL and High Speed Sync

Mike Fulton

Speedlight Photography Basics

Mike Fulton

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Lesson Info

6. On Camera TTL and High Speed Sync


Lesson Info

On Camera TTL and High Speed Sync

So what is tl we just used teo in our flash and t tl is and I just said I don't like anything auto in a sense what details an auto meter ring system it's come a long way I se teoh instead of ear I details we said earlier but just to let you know we're in the third generation of tl technology my nolte years ago developed it can a nikon kind of borrowed it and then can kind of borrowed it again but it's all the same it is um out of your cannon doesn't matter ifyou're nikon doesn't matter your soni doesn't matter it's all the same technology and the way it is and I want to read this too because this is what we were doing with on camera on camera flash the flashes on the camera teal is a photographic term describing a feature of cameras capable of measuring light levels in a scene through their lands. This information can then be used to select the proper exposure and or control the amount of light admitted from the flash of the camera. So what just happened on that flash? How I got that p...

roper exposure when macy was standing here, I said all my camera settings just like I had remember I said I got the am exactly where I wanted it to be now I'm not touching my camera setting anymore happy I'm going to my flash I turned my flash on and I take the photo and it seems to be proper exposure on her I didn't really have to just anything at even exposure how did that happen well what happens is when I push that button on my camera and we don't need to switch over teo tethering I just want to show this when I push the button here I'll raise it up so it's a little faster it looks like one flash what's actually happening is when I push the button all the way down halfway down it focuses all the way down it takes the image but in that split second all this happens the flash the camera goes wait a min I got a flash on top of my camera it's on tnt tl mode e teo for cannon detail for a nikon it's going to send out the camera commands the flashes send out a pre flash of one thirty second power so in that flash that looks like one flash there's a bunch of flash burst going off if you could film it and slow it down it's like a morse code of light it's a bunch of little pulses the very first pulse it sends out a pre flash of one thirty second power that one thirty second is important because it has that's the known amount of light it goes it bounced off macey came back through the limbs and with the model like that came back through, the lens of the camera knew that that light originated at one thirty second power so it did its calculation to get proper exposure from that if a little bit of light came through, it would do its calculation to tell it to output more like in the final exposure if a lot of light came through, it would do its calculations until it to lower the power. But then you have the adjustments which is where I messed up and forgot to change and I can raise it up or raze it down the power lower down the power. So again, as I've been saying, technology is great, but you're the final artist so it's going to do its calculations and that the calculation is incorrect for your liking or not what you want you can raise or lower it. So what you need? Yes, mikey. Referring to adjusting your power flash compensation last thie in camera flash compensation no, the external flash compensation yeah, the camera would be well, tech there is no one here you can adjust it in cameras well, that's, but with an external flash I highly suggest you adjust in it on the external flash the main reason on your camera if you look at your camera, you're gonna have the meter that you normally see and that's the exposure compensation meter that's the ambient light meter basically that's that is this in a sense in your camera the flash compensation is the power your flash but to see that in your camera unless you have one of the pro cameras that actually has two meter isn't it you have to actually push the flash aah button on your camera and then that majoring mode I mean the exposure mode meter will actually change your flash compensation meter I don't like that because if I have a problem I want to see everything right away I don't want to have to push another button to know which ones what and I might get confused in a fast paced situation where I'm starting to freak out that my expose your compensation meter is my flash compensation meter and so by having an external I literally see my power right on the back of my lcd I literally could see my camera my exposure compensation is I can see on the back of my flash my flash compensation and I can adjust to be happy but that's also why I say I just my camera settings first and then don't touch him and then just adjust my flash compensation to adjust for whatever I'm photographing so in a sense your exposure compensation is controlling your ambient light your flash compensation is controlling your foreground which is in this case macey our model our subject does that make sense? Good. Any other questions? Real quick. Okay, so tt l will actually do that every single time. That pre flash bounce back through the lens comes back, gives a proper calculations and then give the proper amount of light what it thinks is proper mental it's technically a reflective amount of light because its reflecting off the surface and that's the key to tl and where so many people mess up with tio, because with reflective surface, you can always trick it. So macy had dark hair and she had a dark purple shirt on so pretty much what we consider that a photography loki, everything was dark, which is great, but if you get a groom a dark after american groom wearing a white tuck's completely different exposures, you can have problems with tl because I can meet her on his face at one point and it's going to give me a reflective source if I'm using spot metering or I could meet her on his shirt, his tux, that white talks and it's going to give me a completely different meeting. So lots of times t tl works flawless, but the photographer is meeting on something incorrectly or different each time, which gives him a completely different flash exposure compensation. And unfortunately is a human being we don't want to blame ourselves too much we seem to blame the technology and so it would be the tt l's fault and not the human input fault now it can't help meeting modes I said, what is the tt? I mean I said I'm spot metering if I use a value to which is matrix for nikon takes everything play it does help so that's taking in everything that I actually seeing that image but when I have a really difficult situation like that, I put it on spot meter and I will meet her on his face or her face because that is what the images about and maybe I'll under expose it a little bit so that flash won't blow out that white tux on that white wedding gown but that that's how tt a work so I literally could come in here I just it I shoot it and if it's too bright or to look or not brought enough, I'll just my flash compensation to adjust for that it depends on how much light, which is where we're going next depends on how much light a takeaway and everything else okay, so in t ell the modes are adjusted in numbers we're gonna talk about manu in a minute after the break but in t t l, the motor adjusted and actual one third stops so you're literally khun b at if you see on this on the flashback there it says plus one third that is plus one third of a flash exposure compensation higher than what normal is if you're even there won't be any numbers where that plus one third is on canon nikon works very, very similar on the back of nikon you'll actually have one, two, three numbers up and down that you can change is very similar, but in t t l mode you'll have in cannes and you'll have the one thirds it will be one third will be to third it'll be one one and one third one two thirds too and you can go all the way up to three plus three you can always go down the negative three, so you have a six full innocent stops a power change built into your flash and you saw my mess up earlier when I did plus three it actually works, so when I raise it up it's giving me what it thinks it's proper exposure but it's saying how you're the boss you want plus three some giving you plus three too and obviously didn't work out too well in that case, so you want to be able to simply just and that's that custom function I talked about number thirteen in the canon flashes where I could simply just dial that in the dye on the back to adjust the flash compensation, it really helps. I don't have to hit the set button, nikon, you could just hit the button up and down it's a lot easier. I think in the whole scale of things so here's, the here's, the whole whole scale of things, I didn't leave the four other fractions in, but you have all the three power and you have all the way down there with the negative three power wind out, start off it, even start off it zero and when you're learning this and I'm gonna repeat this several times this week when you're learning this, make big steps and your change don't just go from well, I take the shot and it looks all right, but let me just raise it two plus one third, raise it to plus one plus two even see what that light is doing. See where it's falling on your subject because once you see it and you know what that flashes putting out, then you confined to knit, but you've got to see it before you can do it. And that's, the horn of the hardest things about flash photography is seeing the light. To know where you want to place it, but to how to control it. So when you're first starting, just like I did hear, I made mistakes on purpose, I want you to raise it up or lower, drastically, so you can see what it does. So how do we compare compact capture images differently with the flash on camera and tomo compared to natural light? Only natural life photographer is what we do it all the time. I think light is like, and I think this is a lot of people we do get hung up on suzie and I both get hung up on on off camera lighting all the time, because that's, our passion and that's, what it's our go to it's like the easy thing in the toolbox, but as I said earlier, you don't ever want to stop challenging yourself, and so we review each other's images all the time, and we'll come up from the beach and should just be so excited. She'll get an image and it's a awesome images, beautiful, and I go, wow, look at that natural light you missed, and then she gets mad at me and called me a few choice words because I'm her husband and we move on, but she realized, and the same, she does the same to me that we're so hung up on that one style alighting that we missed the other light that was around us. Flash photography is just another form of life it's, artificial but it's still part of the ambient world another type of light so with natural light usually have toe over expose your exposure compensation when you're outside to get enough light in their eyes and so you blow out the background the grass kind of looks lime green said of the deep green that it is because you've got to get enough light in their eyes because that's what we're photographing these people you've got to get the light in their eyes and if you're like me though I have makeup on today I normally have giant eye bags under my eyes and so you really have to get a lot of live in their eyes with flash photography you can lower the background down and then allow that flash just slightly kiss their face toe lighten up their face and so you get them deep greens that we normally see with the human eye and then you don't have to be so dramatic you conceal this doesn't look that flashy it looks mean has flashing it but it's not that overdramatic look you can the image they use for our main image which the girl on the beach that's a dramatic image so we easily could do that or we could make it look very much like natural light with just a little kiss of life in their eyes or we can drop it down a little bit you're in complete control outside what you want the image to look like and that's what I like flash time that's why susan I get so hung up on flash photography because we can do anything with it and natural tow us sometimes like I'm missing something but then when we get the image or like oh god this image is gorgeous but it just doesn't it just seems like because we love flash so much so basically what we're going to go from here is I want to start you understanding the steps of how tow work inside and outside and a lot of people think that's different and it's not the exact same steps inside or outside they're just different numbers but how you can actually control how much background you wantto have exposure wise and how much foreground you want to have so if we said at the beginning when our host asked how many problems and one of you said I have lots of problems of capturing that light outside that blue sky or whatever it is and then still exposed for my subject I want to start understand getting you guys to understand how that works with flash on the camera that makes sense so here paired the other image this image natural light blows out everything meter for her it's a beautiful image so when my favorite seniors we've ever had she's this year um and so we take the shot, but if you look real close because it's what angle? They're still it's a little dark in her eyes I mean, really, we needed a little reflect her for a little pop in the eyes or something, but it works because it's a wider angle, he was a tighter shot. It wouldn't have worked so much because their eyes will look a little money the next time you ever go to a trade show, you goto you goto imaging people a imaging yusa it's in nashville coming up in january and walk through the print competition, you'll see all the prints that scored a high print, which will be hanging they all have light in their eyes. They have that pop there's a reflection in their eyes. Every every time you see a magazine article magazine print, you're going tohave pop in their eyes we as humans don't really photographers were going to look at it, but as a general public they don't look at the life, the eyes, they just know that that image looks good if you took the same shot and didn't have light in the eyes, they're dead eyes to dead image, it doesn't look as good that is one key when we're in portrait you half muggle is you have to see the color of their eyes. I don't care if it's my wife who's full corinne, that has very, very dark eyes. They're still separation between the color of our eyes and our people. And I failed an artist as a photographer if I can't see that color. And so that's. What I use my flash for lots of times is to see that color of rise if you have someone with light eyes it's easy like me with blue eyes that they shine that's easy, but so I will lower the flash down a little bit and get just a little bit of light in their eyes. But here this is great. I like it. But here what we did if we meet her mainly for the sun coming in on her head because that sun is so bright that if this was natural light it's almost blown out here. But if it was natural life no flat, it would be really blown out. I mean, almost to the point where my eye goes to the brightest, situ, brightest part of her hair not arise that's, the other thing I want to bring up. Whatever the brightest item is in, the image of the human will go to it or, if you use in rather yellows, there's a there's a coincidence, while a lot of fast food restaurants use reds and yellows in their marketing because those air really, really predominant colors for the human eye to look at. So I would meet her for her hair in my camera. Or if I had a light meter meter for that, and then that lowers the bag around my exposure conversation, my camera that lowers it. And then I'm adjusting my flash compensation to give me the proper model light in your eyes. Does that make sense? Yes, this's on camera flash. So correct. Is that so this is actually a little off camera? Yeah, but we do on camera all the time the same because the way that we shoot off camera is we use a flash on cameras. Our master is our transmitter, and so I will literally just take that flash away and then just use on camera, because if I just need carnival claim has been created lives an amazing artist. When I was teaching him off camera lighting years ago, he completely revolutionized my world. I gave him some tips, and he gave me some tips, which is one reason why I love teaching because you learn so much and he uses off camera lighting, but he has the flash on the camera, very low power and just give it a little kiss, a light in the eyes every time and that's the person that really instilled in me that I gotta have that light in the eyes, I have to have it, I don't shoot the way he does, but so many of his images are on camera lighting. He might use a reflector on the side and the flash up front on camera, and it really allowed me to see, because I'm such an off camera freak. I'm like, wait a minute, this is a whole another way of doing this and it's, so effective, but he comes from another old school way that he's he uses a tripod everywhere he goes and it's always on if you haven't seen his creative live class, you wanna buy because he's he's a he's just a he's, a clown from seven from southern louisiana and home and he's, just a great guy, so I went down there and just follow him, and it was just amazing way to watch him howto work and so for me here you have the light coming in but you have to be really careful because I know the lights not very far off to the side on this image and why would that be by looking at it which which like golf game like I know that this this is that it's literally right beside the camera just cause where it's hitting her face if I had it off to the side with her hair you'd have shadows all across her face with her here and so I know when you said that it's off camera yes, the odds are it is off camera but it literally you could've got this almost exact same results with flash on camera because if it's too far with her bangs coming down on both sides you have these horrible shadows if you were using a flash okay, so now we're getting the high speed sync and that's what I kind of want to end on a segment we're going to get into it. How many people have used high speed sync before like she's like oh no one's raising their hand and when I'm not I'm not going to raise it high speed sync is a wonderful thing but you could on lee and it's in here I'm going to show you but high speed sync is basically the ability of flash to get above that flashing speed so if you use one two hundredth of a second or one to fifty of the second, you get above that flash six there's, some drawbacks to it. We're going to go to go over that but what's nice about it is for cannon it's a functionality of your flash. So you just push this little button that little lightning bolt there for night. Kind of like your system better it's a functionality of the actual menu system and this is a model my old camera flash camera bodies excuse me, but you go into his. I call it the pencil mode, the pencil menu, and then you go into your flash sink settings and you actually the new cameras we'll actually have either one two fifty one, three twenty of second and it's called f p auto auto f p whatever you want to call it a u f p that's the high speed stick and they actually nikon has started using the high speed sync terminology because that seems to been now taking over is the is the proper term. The reason why I like nikon is better than cannons is because I can sit in this menu and never have to worry about it again. Cameras, cannons is a part of the flash and so every time I changed the batteries out of that flash every time I turn it on, I have to physically look and make sure my high speed sync is on, so you'll have to turn that on all the time because the problem is if you fail to look that for cannon and you go outside in the right situation and I'm in a gravy boat and so I set my shutter speed and you may have stopped at two point eight outside on a bright day, my shutter speed should be around one two thousands of a second, probably. And if that high speed sinking on guess what's gonna happen, it's gonna drop down a one two hundredth of a second. So that's a huge, so first of all, your image is gonna be completely white because you're letting too much light in and you're going to get so much of the moved you'll be taken four, five shots before you look and realise that now you've lost those images. But secondly, the greatest tail cell sign of this. The warning for use cannon uses an icon but not kind. You won't have it, you set it and forget it is if you push the button halfway down, which starts the tl metering, thie f stop and shudder steed and your f stop is the two point eight could you said it? And your shutter speed should be way above that it's only going to be a two hundred and two hundred will be blinking or if you're flashing speed is at two fifty two fifty will be blinking that's telling you hey idiot there's a problem here you're gonna have a problem with your flat are your your image and I didn't call you an idiot directly sir you can turn the speech control on and leave it on all the time absolutely in fact if they you find a reason and this goes everyone out in creative live any all found a reason that there's a reason why you shouldn't have high speed sync on call me anytime of the day or night and you tell me why but it better be a good reason if it's the middle of the night because there's not a good reason I've thought this class for fifteen years old teo I've never found a good reason leave it and forget it that's why I like not calm better because if it drops below your sinks b you're back to normal so leave it the only possible ways when you get above your slink speed it's goingto use battery power but you're gonna have to do that if you want to use high speed sync so that's not really a reason so and we're gonna kind of go into that in just a second what it does so this is what happens so if you get above your flashing speed I have my flash on can you move over to tethering real quick and I'm gonna take high speed sink off and I'm gonna be I'm just gonna take a picture of this it's not on me no big deal and so flat just shows the point so that's my image very soon now I'm gonna go above my flashing speed without high speed sync on they didn't more going on if I speed sync on that would be why I like an idiot so I get above my flash think speed you're gonna have that black mind it's behind the two pictures were behind sorry I need to slow down I forget so that's one two hundredth of a second way good they won't even let me get above my flashing speed now let me get out of this that's my problem so it's not even let me get above it there we go when I go from one to thousands of a second and I pushed my button he won't let me get above my flashing speed now if I had my strobe on I don't have my use this if I had a flash if I'm in the studio and I'm just doing this to show you how this system will work so bear with me because I want to be able to show you make sure we're on the same channels I'm like an idiot now because it won't work because it won't tell you anyway we'll get past this will show you um you're gonna have a black line at the bottom your image and I want to show you why that happens so roughly you have two curtains we kind of talked about in the first and second curtain you have your first carden it opens up you take the image second curtain closes that's natural light flash photography first curtain opens all the way up flash goes off second car closes resets you shudder and most these cameras can go toe one eight thousands of a second there is no possible way that a shutter can open close at one eight thousand seconds and a flashing off it's just it's just it's just too fast just a little bit slit so what these engineers have done which I think is amazing is as that first curtain opens up and your high speed sink a flash fires multiple times so it's fire fire fire, fire fire and is the second one closes its firing fire fire, fire, fire and then released yes so instead of one giant flash burst you're getting a bunch of smaller flash burst the faster the shutter the smaller um the faster the shutter, the smaller the slit of like that that flash has to shove light through so instead of one a one two under the second if you're my subject I can have my flash right here and it's gonna close you properly at one four hundredth of a second maybe I have to have a little closer one one thousand of a second I've got to be right here and one eight thousand second I have to have that light right on top of you because even if the same amount of power there's just so much little space that lykken go through to expose you properly but the benefits that are now I don't liken shoot it to eight outside in bright sunlight and she did one two thousand a second I don't have this problem anymore I won't have any that this is also one huge advantage that your flashes your speed likes khun duo versed ropes no strobe khun do high speed sync they could do a mock high speed sync they can get a slightly above their flashing speed the pocket wizards have ah hyper sync and some other stuff so they can slightly get above it but it's not going to be a true high speed state because shrubs only have one big flash burst not multiple small ones so high speed sync is a valuable valuable valuable lesson and we're ending the segment so high speed sync is a viable lesson leave it on all the time leave it on forget it can and people you have to get used to when you turn your flash on you looked for that little lightning bolt in h on the back of your elsie's lcd it'll be in the top left side of your lcd and if it's not there, just push it before you take the first photograph using great if you don't grate but it's their nikon again I love you and the problem is we can and this is one reason why nikon there pop up flash and we're not talking really pop up flash today we're talking about external flash, but there poppet flash khun do high speed sync we're cannons papa flashes if you do off camera lighting like the seventy I mean the seventy khun do the puppet flash can be a master, but it can't do high speed stick because it's not built into the body of a cannon and it is built into the body of a knight got so plus one to the nightgown people big time can this go on high speed sync be done off camera? Absolutely and we're going we're going to get into that mawr after we're going to talk about tian off camera lighting stuff a little bit later in the next segment, but yeah, absolute that's what that is my playground off camera lining manual and off camera lighting and t t l with all high speed sync you on ly khun do high speed sync and man and tt elmo, though you can not do it, emanuel. And why would that be? And we're going in the segment on that doesn't put out exactly it has to do all that it's genius. Thank you. I'm actually might be teaching something so you actually it has to do all that meat oring for to know how much flash put out and in manual mode it has no clue. It's just whatever you said it it's going to fire and it won't do it so it's a it's a functionality of tl and so it goes back to what I said about my ugly beach and have the chemical company the background I can't use a flash I had to blow out the background the on ly option I had was tt on high speed sync and that's how I kind of learned all this because it was a need of necessity and the question yes, sir, for the high speed sync what is really a practical the shutter speed to use high speed sinker to effectively get high speed thing one, two thousands of second or down you can get away with it, but it all depends on the light. Practicality is is the environment that you're in so it's all going to change but I usually try not to get above one two thousand second cause then you're going to get really ah hard time of having that one flash just simply is not going to be enough to light your subject. The reality is it depends on what I want I'd literally need to be a two point eight I'll shoot at one eight thousands of a second if I have to it gives me that freedom because in manual mode I'm stuck at one two hundred one two fifth of a second and outside of f eleven or f sixteen everything's in focus and I'm stuck so my creativity is locked into that zone well with high speed sync, I could do whatever I want I can do a two point eight and then I can literally just change my stop too f eleven and take another shot and have one completely unfocused one completely blurred out in the background and I won't change anything else so if I'm in a high speed think I'm also and that has to be in each detail before when I switch out of that to manual does it automatic will automatically switch out of anything, but if you get above your flashing speed you start having that black guy well cool I think that's the end of this segment I think we're doing great I love these questions how about some more? Absolutely for some more because the internet like they have a ton of questions on we want to thank you guys out there on the internet for your fantastic questions. Mike is here for two days, so we're getting to a cz many on topic questions, but we're saving your questions because a lot of this stuff he'll definitely cover during this general lot coming a lot a lot more coming so I'm going to throw this one at you from isabelle who says when you are media ring in your camera while using tio uh should you aim to have a will exposed photo? So be it zero or if you're too stops underexposed, will the flash fire enough light to reach a good exposure first? Well, that is a great, thoughtful question I love it and the answer is yes on both the beauty of tl is whatever your camera setting is that first exposure compensation lower it, raise it tt l still going to do that meter insists that we talked about and give you what it thinks it's proper model life. So if I did the natural light where I just went a little bit of light, I'm not gonna be very under exposing my exposure, compensation and it's going to give me a proper mental life but if I want to get edgy and drastic and I want to drop it to three stops it's still going to give me the proper model light and so it all comes back to this the whole term is you add flash to taste just like you add salt to your food to taste you might like only half a stop under I might like three stops under that's the artist so you could do both with this great fantastic and then this one is from remo who says I am a flash with both teo and auto flash mode on dh it seems to me that flash auto mode recharges much faster than tio and the ideas yeah there's not as much meeting going on ok and that kind of goes into cannon on the back of your flash a good tale tell sign when your battery power is died when you first turn it on and you're in e t t l mode it's going to say e t teo which again is a third generation it doesn't most mathematical formula as your batteries start to die one it won't recharge is fast but to it's going to just say tt l in the back the e will disappear because it's saying guys, I'm struggling here I can't do all this mathematics so I'm only going to do the tt l part, which is a first generation and then, if you don't change your batteries out after that, it's going to scream at you because it's on lee going to be in manual mode and says, dude, I'm dying. All's I can do is just fire this. Will you please freaking change my batteries? So that is a great sign on the back of cannon flashes that that is exactly what he's talking about.

Class Description

Join Mike Fulton for a comprehensive course on speedlight photography — including how to use this versatile flash system to increase efficiency and expand your creative ability.

In this course, you’ll master all of the many buttons and features of speedlights. You’ll learn about each of your flash’s settings: manual, TTL, direct, bounce, off-camera, and more. You’ll explore the relationship between your camera and your flash, so you can move away from shooting in auto mode and toward capturing more nuanced, dynamic images. You’ll troubleshoot common flash issues and gain confidence manipulating the light from your speedlights to get exactly the look you want in your photographs. Mike will also cover the lighting choices that take an image from being just nice to look at to being highly marketable.

This speedlight photography course is the definitive experience for anyone ready to become an expert user of this powerful, adaptable lighting system.



Someone should tell this nice guy, Mike that he should restrain his comments and do his homework and structure the course and sticks to it. Of 100s of pictures he took not even one was inspiring or great shot. Yes, he did say that "I am not going to make good image", why not I ask? I do believe he is not only a nice individual but knows the tech side, not sure if he can make artistic images.

a Creativelive Student

I am in the midst of watching this class through the videos I purchased and am very impressed by how in depth the information is. VERY happy with this purchase. I like Mike’s ability to make concepts easy to understand and also that he shows you by example what he means. As a direct result of watching this class, while visiting family yesterday I found myself looking at my grandson’s face as light was shining on him through a window and thinking to myself, “Oh, that is short lighting and when he turns his face it becomes broad lighting.” Thanks, Mike. Can’t wait to see what other gems of understanding I have in store for me in the rest of the class videos.


Excellent course, especially when I learnt something within the first 5 mins of watching it. I have found Creative Live courses to be very thorough in detail and equally practical in application. 10 out of 10 Creative Live support has also been 💯 % helpful Thanks guys..