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When Should I Use an External Flash?

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

An external flash is a flash that’s not built into a camera. It can be attached to the body of the camera or remotely triggered from another location.

Many photographers prefer to use an external flash as opposed to a built-in flash because it provides more control and versatility. Read on to find out its benefits and when you should be using one in your photography.

More Powerful

An external flash is more powerful than a built-in flash. Therefore, it can illuminate subjects that are farther distances away from the camera. For example, a built-in flash may illuminate a subject that’s 3 to 9 feet away while an external flash can illuminate a subject that’s 30 feet away.

The increased power also provides a better angle of coverage. So, if you are shooting a wide-angle picture, a built-in flash may only light up half the image. An external flash will have you covered.

External flashes also surround the subject in light while built in flashes will only illuminate them head on.

Red Eye Reduction

Because external flashes don’t hit the subject head on with a concentrated light, there’s less chance of red eye.

More Options with Positioning

An external flash is not attached to the camera so you can move the camera around without having to worry about how it will affect the lighting in the photo.

More Natural Lighting

A built-in flash produces an intense effect that may look unnatural. An external flash bathes your subject in light creating a more natural aesthetic.

Can Be Used with Diffusers and Reflectors

Because the flash is external, its easy to add a diffuser to take a cleaner looking photo. You can also add a colored diffuser to give your photo a unique tint.

You can also use reflectors to change the angle and intensity of the bounced light. This is easier to do with an external flash that lights the entire area.

It Can Be Mounted to Any DSLR Camera

DSLR cameras are manufactured with a hot shoe at the top that can be used to connect with any external flash. However, it’s important to check in advance to make sure the camera you are using is compatible with your flash.

Shorter Flash Recycle Time

Because an external flash has its own power source, it recycles faster. That means it will be ready to take the next photo sooner. Photographers will benefit as they won’t miss out on any terrific photo opportunities because they are waiting for their flash to recharge.

Increased Creativity

An external flash allows a photographer to get creative. If the flash is equipped with an adjustable head, you can tilt it to produce softer lighting. If the flash supports features like wireless firing and linking with multiple flash units, you can get results that are even more sophisticated.

Increased Control

An external flash allows the photographer to adjust the brightness giving them more control of the lighting.

If you are looking to take your pictures to the next level, an external flash will help you achieve that goal. It produces more natural results, provides you with more power and it allows you to get creative with your endeavors. Will you be trying it out the next time you shoot?

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