Flash Help!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Clawed, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    426
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Arizona
    Hello out there! This is my first post as a brand new member, so any help is going to be sincerely appreciated.

    I have a Canon 40D & 450D and I just purchased an external flash (Speedlite 430EX). This is definitely going to sound foolish, but I have no idea how to use the flash, even after consulting the manual. Essentially, I do not even know how to make the flash fire. Part of me thinks there is a problem with the flash unit itself, but the rest of me knows its the users problem. If I turn on the unit, does it automatically fire with each shot until I turn it off? Or, do I need to physically hit a button in order to make it fire before each shot?

    Anyway, please help me out! I am new to using an external flash since I try to always use a fast enough lens. THANK YOU in advance!
    -Canaan
     
  2. Ptyler22

    Ptyler22 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Messages:
    789
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Yes, it will fire for each shot, you don't need to do anything to make it fire besides turn it on. Did you put batteries in it?
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,087
    Likes Received:
    3,756
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    the only times it won't fire are if you set the camera to no flash mode - or if the flash is recharging (tends to happen if your firing fullpower a lot or if the batteries are starting to drain) - then you can get it missfireing
     
  4. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    426
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Arizona
    Yes, I do have batteries in it... yet, it seems to fire at very random intervals (maybe once in every dozen shots or so). I helped shoot a wedding last year and had a third party flash attached to my Canon 450D with full battery power (or so I thought) and had this issue. Then, just recently, I purchased the Speedlite and tested it with my 40D and had the same issue, so obviously, this is user error. It might be the batteries this time though, so I will give them a full charge and I will let you guys know.

    This brings me to another question:

    Can anyone give me some pointers when using the flash (any tips at all WILL help)? The tips can cover any range of topics, including tips to effictively use the external flash / how to operate this specific flash / when to use fill flash / other flash accessories... anything at all.

    Thank you!
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    23,087
    Likes Received:
    3,756
    Location:
    UK - England
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    This website should help:
    Strobist: Lighting 101

    myself I use fill when I can as I need it - typically its when you have a bright background and a darker (shadowed possibly) subject - so you expose for the background areas and then use flash to give more light to the shadowed areas so that they don't come out too dark.

    Also a point that I have noted with rechargables and flash - if the batteries are left to stand for more than a day they start to lose their charge quickly and if your using flash a lot they will die rapidly - there are newer batteries that retain their charge but I can't recally the make.
     
  6. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Greencastle Indiana
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    If you are shooting in a scene mode the camera will only fire the flash when it sees fit. How do you have the camera set (ie M, Av, or a "scene" mode)
     
  7. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Messages:
    2,562
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kaneohe, Oahu
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Do you know what camera and flash setting you're using? What shooting mode are you using on the camera? And what flash settings are you using on the flash?
    Flash Photography Techniques

    dg28.com - photographer education

    Photoflex Lighting School

    Lighting Essentials: For Photographers
     
  8. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Messages:
    635
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Without being able to look at the actual camera, I would bet this is probably you're issue here. Try setting the flash to Manual and the camera to Manual Mode. Theoretically, the flash should always fire under that setting. If it fires every time, then you know you've got setting issues somewhere. If it doesn't, there's a good chance there's something else wrong.
     
  9. linpelk

    linpelk TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    California
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks Clawed for posting these questions. I JUST got a speedlite 580 EX two days ago and don't have the slightest idea how to use it. I've even read the manual..twice.. and I'm still confused. Hopefully some of the articles posted will help us!!
     
  10. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    426
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Arizona
    Okay, I finally got my Speedlite to fire (although my old 3rd party flash is not firing properly still). It must have been the batteries as Overread pointed out. I was shooting in Av so I figured that was not it. Also, I made sure the camera settings were set properly to utilize that flash.

    Well, now that it works I better learn how to use it.
     
  11. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Heres a tip when using the flash: Aperture controls flash exposure, shutter speed controls ambient exposure.

    When the flash fires, you can control its power by adjusting the aperture on your camera up and down or by dialing the settings on the flash itself.

    The shutter will control the ambient light. For example, if you are taking photos of people and the background becomes dark, slow down the shutter speed to bring in more light. It wont mess with the exposure of your people, but will brighten up the background.
     
  12. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    426
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Arizona
    Great tips, thank you!

    However, can you expand upon what you said above about Aperture controlling flash exposure? I am assuming this means a larger aperture opening would allow more flash to reach the sensor? Also, with a flash unit is the flash output the only thing you can control? Or are there other manual controls worth using?

    I think what I am having a hard time understanding is metering and then knowing how to adjust my settings (on the flash or camera) to achieve the results I am looking for.
     

Share This Page