Total Noob when it comes to flash - how do you do it?


TPF Noob!
Jan 21, 2009
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Sacramento, CA
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Hi guys, I have NO idea how to use my darn flash.

I have a Canon EOS Rebel XS, and a 580 EXII flash.

I usually shoot in Aperature Priority mode. I'm just not "getting" how to use the flash. I mean, I can attach it, hit the little lightning bolt button, and when I take the photo, the flash goes off. But it's not too good.

I've tried turning it to the side and bouncing off the ceiling, but when it comes to shooting people, I'm not happy with it.

I guess my main question is: What do you adjust on the camera? Is there a setting I should be doing or something?

Thanks in advance!
You can check Youtube for an infinite number of tutorials on how to POSITION light. It's not about the functions of the camera, its about how you control and direct the light you are using.
The camera/flash act differently in auto mode than they do in Av or Tv mode.

Personally, I use manual mode most of the time when using flash...but I keep the flash in E-TTL mode.

It would help us if you could post some examples and explain what you don't like about it.
In Aperture priority mode, the camera will meter its exposure time based on the entire scene and will attempt to fill-flash the focal point.

Manual will eventually be your friend when shooting with bounce flash and ETTL. At least that's what I've found but that just may fit my style of shooting.
What do you adjust on the camera?

With the flash in auto (ETTL) adjust flash compensation. Look for the button with the lightning bolt plus +/-

With the flash in manual: flash guide number/distance to subject = f/# for "normal" exposure. Most guide numbers are given for ISO 100 at full power. Make sure you know whether it's feet or meters.

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