The camera triggers the flash and allows the flash to send out its maximum discharge that it is set for. Older flashes only had one setting referred to as a full dump or nuclear which it learned from those bulbs. They had the B setting which stood for "BLIND".   In this mode the camera and flash work as two independent pieces of equipment. Since the camera does not know how much power the flash will put out, this required the shooter to adjust the aperture, for exposure which was a series of disks.  If the Ok corral had been filmed, the five minute shootout would of taken a whole day.


For a pro trained in film use and experience, there is a reluctance to use all the automated features of the new flashes. He has a regimen he follows, works for him and he has been successful.

With the newbie, he thinks the automated features will be the end all and problem solver. Both are wrong.  Flash is the most essential, viable and valuable tool for the wedding, event, paparazzi photographer and no specific setting or adjustment will solve a problem, you have to. But it opens a range of exposure problems, solved by knowledge and a controllable source of light.

There is no magic, you are the magic and the magician, you are expected to do the tricks.  The problem is both Canon and Nikon seem to want you to exclusively use their system and that’s why both have taken their systems and totally integrated them into their cameras claiming the Gods are on their side.  Bull excrement ! (I have to keep my PG rating and not say horse shit) 


It appears, no one integrated the scene, the Brides outfit, the location lighting, the alcohol, emotions, and a million other things that can and do go wrong that St. Murphy-Lawes is so proud of. That’s when a PRO who understands this takes command and experience and knowledge guides him through. You might be switching gears fast in an environment with no automatic transmissions.  It was  the stick shift we all learned on.

I have said on 1000 occasions or so that a Wedding/ Event/ Journalist/ Photographer must have two qualities. He must understand business and light. Business skills relate to the financial, sales, promotion, leadership and focus of the company.  Light skills cover the art of photography including the study of light, subject, the composition, creativeness, after all, its photography’s most primal and true definition.



Flashes are needed at the end of the light functionality spectrum.  In other words you run out of apertures and speed settings and basically looking at too dark a scene, you go to flash. Sometimes you use flash to counteract too much light, we call this balanced fill flash.  To me, a flash unit is the most important accessory, next to a lens, that a photographer needs. 

Simple, it extends our shooting base to more difficult light situations and goes beyond the film or the digital sensors ability to properly record light.  Many cameras come with a built in on-camera portable flash that either is a waste of battery power or rarely gets used. It’s effective range is six to ten feet on a good day.  The real problem is that a new flash presents a learning curve even with all the integration between that flash and camera has been promised to you by the manufacturer. 


This is because you can't see the effects of a flash at the time the shutter goes off.  At thousandths of a second we don't really process in our minds eye what really happened during the burst.

Thus most of the flashes rely on distance measuring devices for the exposure called a squelching circuit. Some flashes pre-flash a small light to assist in checking the distance and in some low-light conditions turn on a small flashlight to help ascertain distance and focus. There are other ways to measure flash and they enlist the aid of a flash meter. I use and endorse the Sekonic 358.  I bought and paid for it after testing many others. Later we will discuss it.