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Speedlight Photography Basics

Lesson 4 of 21

Using the Flash in Auto Modes

Mike Fulton

Speedlight Photography Basics

Mike Fulton

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Lesson Info

4. Using the Flash in Auto Modes


Lesson Info

Using the Flash in Auto Modes

Okay, camera mode, I think, is the greatest would say the greatest, but one of the greatest problems that a lot of people fight over a cz well, you're going to find that I shoot in a rave e mod lots of times outside, and people were like, oh, no, you can't you can't be all manual if you're gonna be professional, you can't shoot in any automatic mode well, teach their own front for me again, the cameras so much smarter than me that I'm going to use the technology that's built into it in the mathematics that it can do in the formula, equating that it can do to my advantage. And so we're going to talk about that in this segment, we're going to do some example some live shooting in this segment on dh I want you to understand and get past that hindrance that especially and no offence, I'm a board, directors of the people, a I think it's, one of the greatest organisations in the world for photographers and not the greatest. But when I first got in, a lot of people told me that I had to shoot...

manual, and I just didn't agree with that, and so I want to build the confidence that there's multiple ways that you can do the same thing and whatever works for you as long as you understand the pros and cons of that method and work around it to get to the final product who cares? Who cares because that's our goal is the photographer is to make photograph and it should be enjoyable and so you should be able to do it the way you want if you're immanuel person by all means be manual but try the other methods so again it we're gonna get into it but in, like in our three day workshops, I have two types of people I have ones that are coming in that want to learn and I have some that have been around for forty years and they know everything I'm saying but I'm not teach him a technique I'm rebooting their brain and that's what I want to do hopefully with with you guys here and with you guys and the audience online is if you understand one way I just want you to trust me allow yourself to think of another way of doing photography without closing yourself off and not allowing a possible new technique to come in. Okay, so let's talk about again cannon and I'm gonna put it up here they're almost the exact same there's hardly any difference in the little modes and the little different buttons or anything else there sports there's active it's there's no difference guys so so again let's get past that part auto, we're gonna go over the different modes of your camera just really really easy we're going to go over this section right here this is maura of your choose your settings yourself take various types of photographs this is where I want you guys to be sooner or later if you're not here today this is where I want you to work toward and we'll go into that a little bit later auto mode this is where I want you to get away from when it comes to flash if you're ewing natural light it's okay it could work I don't suggest it but it has more advantages there if you're using a flash it could really hinder your work and we're going to talk about why it happens easy mode you can easily shoot just by pressing the shutter button I don't want you on this at all at all I want you to challenge yourself that's not a challenge with one thing in life especially photography is if you don't continually to challenge yourself you're going to fall behind someone's gonna pass you by so I want youto always continue to challenge stuff because I've been in the business for twenty years at friends have been in the business for forty years and we're still learning and that's the beauty of photography but you have to force yourself to learn so don't ever in a sense to take the easy mode movie mode and scenic mode or on a lot of cameras we're not even gonna worry about those two today because that's not what this class is about and we're not going to worry about the easy mode is I talked about so I want you to get away from those and we're going to move into the other modes again. I talked about auto mode again if you're on it, I understand, but I really want you to get away from it and I want to get you into the creative aspect of it, so we're going to really concentrate our camera settings on these settings here our camera, this section on these sad needs because this is where I want you to go with it, all right? So we're going to start off with a p, which is also shutter speed automatically this is the program mowed a lot of people still make fun of it if you're a pro photographer and it's kind of the auto but not quite his auto but it automatically set your camera at the camera's maximum flash sink speed, which is generally one, two hundred or one to fiftieth of a second I don't like that right there I don't like automatically setting my flash at anything my shutter speed for my maximum of anything I don't like photography there's no generals a I mean there's no exacts and everything so I could literally go into one place and you could go into the same place we have the same model the same camera, the same lens the same everything and we're gonna have two different fleet images because you're still taking the photo so this is why I don't like the piece because it's automatic and it really standardizes you as an artist and I really want you to kind of get away from that so shutter speed again so the f stop is on the shutter speed automatically gets set your flashing speed and then the f stop automatically sets the camera's f stop according to the cameras built in programming so again it's doing the fastest shutter speed you can possibly get away with and then set in the f stop to give you that proper balance of exposure depending on what you're photographing again. The main concept behind the p mode is that flash photography is the camera tries to set the highest shutter speed that you can hold with your camera by hand held and not rely on a tripod well that's kind of nice that's that's good but we're going to talk about ways that you can get around this that really is not needed in just a minute so again, if you're on p I want you to open up and I want you to get away from it and once you get to one of these other ones so tv which is shutter priority of shutter speed it can set the shutter speed between thirty seconds in the camera's maximum sink speed so I like this because he's giving you options now I was not just set automatic on anything and I think that's a that's a key to this whole concept and then the f stop it automatically sets the match the shutter speed that you have said so if you set and have stopped whatever it's gonna balance everything out this is good I use it occasionally I'm not gonna lie every once in a while do use the shutter priority but the one that I like it explains what is in this mode the camera works in phil flash mode which was winning tv mode it always tries to expose the back ground adequately well yes I absolutely can never do that of course um if I'm a situation where I need to freeze action I'm going to go to this mode because I can set my shutter speed toe what I needed to be the fastest and then allow myself sato automatically set itself and I only need to worry about one one of those two items again as we said right before break the less mathematics I need to think about the better photographer I could be which is why I like some of these settings so if I'm in a situation where I don't need to worry about the depth of field or the depth of field is not as important as me freezing the action or the speed of what I'm photographing I would use this moat, but most the time I'm going to use this mode I'm in a rave e mode is nikon navy's cannon no different? This is what I like when I'm outside when I'm outside and we'll explain why in just a second automatically set thirty seconds in the camera's maximum soon seek speed to match the lin's af richer you have set I like shallow depth of field several reasons one I think it draws attention to whatever I'm photographing if it's a portrait of a person but to a big big difference is if you're in those automatic settings it's going to set your flashing speed so set and then your f stop is going to be a eleven f sixteen it's a huge depth of field so most the people out there that are not professionals are going to set a huge depth of field and so everything in their image is going to be in focus. You have this with shallow depth of field, it completely looks like a different image your clients they're going to go wait a minute, I can't do this I don't understand how they got this shallow depth of field and it's going to give more validity to you being a professional in their eyes plus I can control my depth of field if I have a groom which we're going to do some examples later on I think tomorrow especially we're gonna have a couple will have to like depth of field I want to have a bride and focus I wanna have a groom a little soft focus I can do that here I can change my iife stop from to eight took maybe five six give me a little more depth of field and then my shutter speed is going to keep up with me and that's important to me on dh generally if you're shooting wide open and we're gonna talk about how we can do that you're gonna have a very fast shutter speed so we don't need the tripod anymore because it one again we're going to get into high speed sink but it won to thousands of a second I'm not gonna have a shake in my image and so to me that really opened up a whole because I learned on a tripod shooting very slow one sixteenth of a second had to have a tripod everything was going to be blurry and it limit me. I got great images but it limited my versatility and my movement aspect and so once you can kind of get away off that tripod it really allows you a lot more mobility again you can set the f stop aperture to whatever you like. And we just talked about that and here's the main thing about that is in this mode if the shutter speed is some really low number so that you need a tripod to avoid camera shake blur this is why I don't use this inside. I get away from a rave e mode on the inside because it's going to give me a I should set the f stop and even in low light at two eight if you have a zoom to eight, you're going maybe one tenth of a second one twentieth of a second on your shutter speed. It's going to shake tremendously is a general rule of thumb. And if you guys I know we talked earlier, you were you shot films, so you might remember this but it's a general of thumb, a lot of digital photographers have forgotten this golden rule. Whatever millimeter your folks, you're shooting it, whatever your lenses, that is the slowest shutter speed you should ever shoot without getting handshake. So if you're shooting a one hundred millimeter leon's, the slowest your shutter speed should be is one one hundredth of a second. Any slower than that you will get movement in your images just by holding your camera. Now is if you work around with I s r v r that's been developed the image stabilization that's in some of the lenses a candidate nikon but as a general I don't want to rely on that remember that golden rule and you're going to be fine this is why so many people I don't know if you have it but I get it all the time because we photograph lots of little league so we have a volume business and everything else and I'm out there and people coming up looking at cameras and you know we shoot our little leagues with maybe a sixty or seventy d not the biggest baddest camera out there because you don't need to and so they're coming up with their mark threes or you know they're bigger cameras and they and they they want to talk to me about all the stuff but then they have the inexpensive like seventy two, three hundred five point six linz and they want to know why they're getting horrible photographs and low light they're like, oh, it works great during the day but when this when the baseball field lights are on I don't get any images they're all blurry and this is why because they're zoomed into three hundred millimeters then the light goes down and they only can get about a one one hundredth of a second on the shutter and every image is blurry so remember that it is a very very valuable tool especially if you're shooting low light and we're gonna talk about that in a second for and even show you examples like in reception hall if you don't have flash it's going to be blurry and if you do have flash we're gonna show the background will be blurry so just remember that so shutter speed camera mode how they affect the flash so this you could set the shutter speed in manual mode and you've said it to anything you want so if I'm not in a v ray mode I'm in manual mode on my camera those of the two modes that ninety nine percent of the time I shoot the only a few times would be in the tv movie shutter priority which we talked about um I don't mind manual I enjoy manual but outside when I'm a navy mode if I only have change one thing I set my f stop where I wanted to be if the sun comes out it's gonna automatically just my shutter speed for the proper exposure and if the clouds come over the sun it's gonna lower my shutter speed forget the exact same exposure I don't have to think about all this emmanuel so emmanuel if I'm into ate all the time and that happens I'm constantly looking in my light meter in my camera adjusting my shutter speed to get proper exposure so I literally in a v mode can take two shots and two different complete lighting environments and have the exact same exposure where emmanuel on constantly changing. So I just did to my a v outside because of the wedding environment that I learned this in because things happen fast and I didn't wanna have to constantly keep changing all my lighting situations on my camera and sometimes it's so bright it were photographing on the beach because we live on the beach. I can't even see my meter in my camera let's really shove it to my face. I have glasses, so that was a hindrance for me. I don't want to take off my glasses so that I would lose my glasses. So it was even it was even harder to do that exactly that. Yeah. So manu is great. You can sit shutter speed anywhere between thirty seconds and cameras maximum sink speed, they have stopped. You consented anything so obviously manual you, khun set you complete control. This in the film days was absolutely a necessity. You had to do it this way off camera lighting and the technique that we're really going to start getting into the end of today and all day tomorrow is the way that I teach it is really a digital world technique. It allows you to take the most of this digital camera that we have and use it to its full phyllis because you get that instant feedback I can teach people, studio lighting and thirty minutes what took me half a year to learn before and film days because I don't have to do any measurements, I don't have to get that instant feedback, so it really, really this technique we're going to be showing you was really, really valuable to today's modern technique. So for flash again, we talked about we want to say manual were inside and low light and that's kind of where we're going to go with this segment, so we're gonna actually takes the shots here in a minute with our model. We got a few more slides, but we're going to concentrate on manual mode. We wanted basically slow down the shutter speakers we haven't got above flashing speed yet, so in the old days, my camera flashing speed was one sixty of the second today's most of your cameras or between one, two hundred. So if you have, like the five day march to the mark, three for candidates won two hundredth of a second. If you have the sixty, seventy, eighty, eighty g's not even out yet, if you have those it's one to fifty of a second and then icons most number one to fifty if some of you can even go a little higher but so gentle ear between the one two hundred one to fifteen seconds you can't get above that with your flash think speed are with you and use flash photography and we'll show you some examples of what happens when you do so and then a v mobile more outside when there's plenty of light so when I'm going outside tomorrow when we shoot on the roof I'm gonna be a navy mode I'll be are a mode if you're not gone and I'm going to set my f stop toe what I wanted to be and I'm going to allow the camera set the shutter speed to what it wants to be because of that point I don't really care what the shutter speed is it it's going to be brought enough it's going it's going to freeze my action because I care about the depth of field that's what I worry about you that's what I want to control I want to control how much of the skyline of seattle icy or the roof or whatever I wanna have in the background it could be you know the church if you're shooting the wedding it could be the you know the pier if you're on a beach in my environment where I'm from we have the runoff of the mississippi river everything on my beach is ugly were the very back of the gulf of mexico from the tip of florida to the peninsula of mexico and so everything that gets fallen off a ship it comes up on my beach as well. So it's very brown it's very sane is very muddy and then on top of that we have the largest chemical plant in the western hemisphere in my backyard so it's not real romantic for me to get out on the beach and you see trash brown water brown sand and the big chemical plant in the background I couldn't use a reflector because I'm on a beach it's fifteen miles an hour wind on a good day because that's a kite in my area so I had to learn to use a flash but then my problem was I had to learn how should get that depth of field out that's why I use a v outside I could blur that bagger and out so if I am in the evening and you see the lights of the chemical plant now they're just blurt out beautiful lights of golden lights in the background you can't tell what it is and so by me being able to control that depth of field really became an empowering tool for my photography where are the other way around it just you saw the trash on the beach and you saw the chemical plant in the background and it just wasn't nears attractive so manual mode inside a gravy mode outside when you get below that golden rule of whatever millimeter I'm shooting at my shutter speed automatic get below that that's when you switch over to manual mode on your camera does that make sense? All right, I want I want to make sure that's clear because we always have our students that say that and I workshops and then they go I don't want my photos of blurry and then they go well euro navy boat and it's it's you know ten o'clock at night so it's not gonna happen okay? So slow sink dragging the shutter has anyone ever tried this it's? Not the easiest but it's not the hardest I would like this to the toe I just took my dad to the masters it was his dream we just got back from masters golf tournament and I quiver late slow sink dragon shudder to the game of golf it's the easiest thing to do but it's the hardest to be good at and so it takes practice and so when you actually do this technique it's very creative you could do a lot with it in camera, which again we talked about before I like to do as much as I can in camera I don't like to uh rely on photoshopped photo shop is a great tool fact I've learned a lot from the creative live photo shop classes but I still have to get us much as I can in the camera I don't want my life to change, I don't want to have to change the posing I want to get all my lining and my posing down and exposure properly and then fine tuning and photoshopped and so dragging the shutter does that but there's several examples here and I wanted to show you what the concept is is extremely slow shutter speed. We're in manual mode on our camera, extremely slow of shutter speed and the flash the subject is close enough to the flash on your camera. This is not an off camera technique it's an on camera technique so the flash will freeze the action and then we're the flash falls off that's, the blurriness that's where the slow that's where the handshake comes into play does that make sense? So you're going to slow your shutter speed down depending on what lin jia yue's I suggest you use a wider lens because that allows me a slower shutter speed because if I'm shooting at seventy millimeters I can only go to one seventh of the second but if I shoot a sixteen millimeter aiken goto one fifteenth of a second and not really have any handshake just by taking the photograph and that one fifteenth of second is going to allow a lot more ambient light in that dark room does that make sense? Yes sir would you be turning off your image stabilization then to use this technique? That is a very very good question generally, yes, I would I would turn off most the time I don't even use image stabilisation to be honest um it really it on a long wedding day or along wedding it really eats up your battery. I have a great friend who was my mentor and sports photography named bob levy out of houston. He is a unbelievable sports photog for and I used to shoot on the sidelines with him side by side in the texans texans games and I was there and I had my camera same assume I had a four hundred millimeter to eight samos him and he came over to meaning halfway through the game my battery's halfway danny looks alright when he turns up my eyes and he goes, you're just wasting that's just a waste of battery power don't have it and it never hit me until then that just because I haven't doesn't mean I need to use it all the time and so start concentrating on what the pros and cons of those tools are and just use what you really need and don't have all the bells and whistles and so on that story I was standing on the sidelines in the corner and I had the time I think it was the mark camera two like seven eight frames a second and here comes the play and I just unloaded just released the camera and just let it fly and he goes click and I go what? And he looked at my images and I met there was a ball there and then the ball was already in his arms and I looked at his and it was just on his fingertips and that's when I realize there's also again technique there's an art behind this I can teach you all the sights and that's what we're gonna go over the next two days but there's still up to you as the photographer to change the way you shoot to change the science into art and that's what I'm going to try to hopefully relais upon you I'm gonna give you the science I'm gonna work two days to give you the science but I really want you to take that and expand and go into the the art aspects of it. So here it is this is the settings for that one eighth of a second I'm shooting with the sixteen millimeter linds one eighth of a second so very slow I'm going to get handshake three two f stop because that lands at the time I know it was not real sharp it to eight, so I put it up to three two and then a higher ece you're gonna want to use the lowest aya so possible to get away with the shot that you need there's no exact science behind that today's new cameras you can get away with a lot more so that you could in the old days I know you had your mommy um medium format and if we got above eight hundred it was grainy, grainy, grainy and today I'll forget leaving on sixteen hundred all day long and there's no difference I mean it is a huge advantage in low light so my suggestion is is sent your settings your camera your f stop and your shutter speed where you want him for this technique take a shot natural light and be it just bring in the ambience and if it's too dark you raise your s o keep raising it until you get to where you like the ambient light the background and then you leave your camera settings alone yes, but you mentioned that you this would be an on camera flash technique. Absolutely. Why could you not have off camera flash giving you assuming that is pointing directly at your subject it is pointing directly at yourself then you're going to go off to the side you need you technically can it can work better results will be on camera so I guess that's more of a clarification because if you notice in this image you notice in this image they're in the centre you put him in the center each time and that's what you want you want to put him in the center and allow the blurriness to go around because again this technique is not easy you're going to get everybody blurry lots of times and so you'll take fifty shots and get one good win it first and then you'll take fifty and you get five good ones then you take fifteen you get ten goodwin's that's the way it needs to work you'll probably never get above thirty because I still don't but because you get to slow a shutter speed you get too fast and we're going to show you how to do this in just a second show you a lot of the failures and if you notice this image has the zoom and the other one had a twist and so there's multiple techniques you can also do with this you can even get more creative if you want if you have a tripod I know a lot of people the state of texas you go to the capital and they zoom in and out when they're doing that was long exposures I mean you really can get some creative stuff with this so but it's a general you set your f stop I mean shutter speed you said your f stop and then you raise your eyes up to allow for the room light does that make sense and then you keep your subject in the center and then you either twist zoom with the lands and we're going to go over all that because that way everything's going to be blair around them and they're going to be focused on the centre it also allowed you do a creative crop in post if you want to do that just depends on what you want to do in photo shop or like room or whatever you can you can put him off to the side and three you know the three quarters whatever whatever you want to do the point is you get it focused you get him in the center because if you put him off the side it's just like anything else especially if you twist the center is going to stay the same the outside is going to be very blurry so the farther they get on the outside, the more blurry they're going to be become they're going to go does that make sense? He wasn't out when you notice in the center in the center just all that did here was just zoom the lens and when I took that took the image resumed it out and so as I took the shutter and that between that one sixteenth of a second assume the linens and that's what's giving you the blur back here very slow shutter speeds flash on camera it's not about in the whole skins of making a world renowned winning image it's about a technique because you're going to take tons of photos of them just dancing but if you get him on the dance floor like the shot before and it shows movement it adds a little more life to it especially if you have a really boring wedding because in the broad's gonna go how do you remember all these people dancing? I'm like yeah, there was one song they dance for half a song and you got fifty images and you do a couple like this it really adds to the whole portfolio of your of your presentation so it's a very easy thing but the problem is there's lots of false to this you noticed should be changed on each one of them because it depends on what linds I'm using it depends on how much blur I want if you get too much blur if you twist it too much, you'll have lights that go over their face there's lots of little things that could go wrong so when you do this technique, I expected no that that's gonna happen and just keep practicing questions okay kind of review we want to be in manual mode inside and low like a or a b mode outside with lots of light when it drops below the hand whatever millimeter you're using your shutter speed drops below that. You go into manual makes sense, man. You're concentrating a lot. Scare me, sir. You're good, okay.

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..