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Flash Photography for Beginners: How to Use In Camera Flash and Off Camera Flash

If you’re new to photography, you’ve probably heard of “flash” but might not be entirely sure what it is or how to use it. Flash is simply a burst of light that can be used to illuminate a subject in low light situations or to add a bit of extra light to a scene.

1. Introduction

There are two main types of flash

  1. In-camera flash and off camera flash. In camera flash is built into your camera and is the more convenience option.

  2. Off-camera flash requires an extra piece of equipment called a Speedlight or flash unit.

In this article, we’re going to give you a beginner’s guide to flash photography. We’ll explain the difference between in-camera flash and off-camera flash, and give you some tips on how to use each type of flash to get the best results.

2. What is a flash?

By definition, a flash is a brief burst of light that is used to provide illumination to the subject in your photo. It's used to supplement the existing light in low light conditions or to add a bit of extra light. Flash can be synced with the shutter of the camera and triggered when the shutter is open. A flash is usually referred to by its power or its Guide Number (GN).

The GN of a flash is the amount of light it emits at a given distance. A flash with a high GN produces more light than one with a low GN, so it can be used to illuminate a subject from a further distance. Generally, the higher the GN, the better the flash.

In camera flash is built into the camera body and works when the camera is turned on. Its power is limited and the angle of illumination is generally wide, making it great for quick shots but not ideal for taking professional-looking photos. In contrast, an off camera flash is a more powerful flash unit that is attached to the camera externally, giving you more control over the lighting and more power.

3. In-camera flash

In camera flash refers to a flash unit built into the camera body and is usually activated by the flash button. This type of flash has the advantage of being a part of the camera, so you don't have to worry about buying or carrying a separate flash unit and battery pack with you.

However, the power output of an in camera flash is usually limited and its angle of illumination is relatively wide, which means it is great for quick shots but not necessarily ideal for more professional-looking photos.

In camera flash is also not very suitable in low light situations, as the power output is just not enough to properly illuminate the scene. That being said, an in camera flash can be useful if you don't have access to a more powerful off camera flash.

Using in camera flash is not necessarily hard, but it does require a bit of experimentation with the settings and angles to achieve a desired effect. With enough practice, it can be possible to get great results with an in camera flash and in some cases, even transform your photos from mundane to stunning!

4. Off-camera flash

Off Camera Flash is more powerful than an In Camera Flash, with the ability to produce higher light output at a greater range of angles. This makes Off Camera Flash more suitable for illuminating a subject or setting from further away.

Unlike an In Camera Flash, an Off Camera Flash has to be attached to an external power source. These power sources can come in varying forms, from wall sockets, to battery packs or even a portable generator.

In most cases, an Off Camera Flash isn’t just “plugged in”; it has to be connected wirelessly to the camera transmitters, either through radio or infrared signals. There are plenty of wireless transmitters of different makes and models, so it’s important to research and find the one that is best suited to your needs.

When using Off Camera Flash, you need to be more strategic with your setup. You must take into account the placement of the flash and the angles in order to get great results. However, the extra effort and work often pays off in the end. Off Camera Flash can deliver much more creative and visually interesting shots.

With practice, patience and good planning, you too can achieve stunning results with Off Camera Flash.

5. Tips for using a flash

Using a flash with your photography can help transform your images, delivering creative and visually stunning results. But it’s important to remember that using a flash requires preparation and planning. To help you get the best out of your flash photography, here are some tips to consider when working with an in camera flash and an external off camera flash:

1. Enable high-speed sync mode on your flash when shooting outdoors in direct sunlight, as this will help fill in shadows and ensure the image is properly exposed.

2. The distance of the flash from the subject will affect the exposure. The further away the flash is, th