…you’re using TTL (Thru The Lens metering).
I know, I know, all the flash manufacturers love to talk about TTL in their marketing pieces, and it’s touted as a miracle fix-all for new flash users. But in my honest opinion, I think it’s probably the single biggest reason new flash users struggle with their flash or even hate their flash, and it’s because of TTLs total inconsistency or flat-looking results when it does work.
For example, you’re shooting a wedding; you’re getting decent results for the first few minutes; you turn to shoot a different part of the church/reception/whatever, and all of a sudden it looks horrible. You haven’t touched anything, you haven’t changed everything, but it now it looks awful. Now what?
The concept behind TTL is great — it meters the existing light in the scene, and theoretically it then sends just the right amount of light onto your subject. Sometimes it’s fairly right, but quite often it’s not at all, and you wind up with an image that looks like you were shooting a crime scene for law enforcement.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “But Joe McNally uses TTL!” That’s true — but you’re not Joe McNally. He’s the magical unicorn of flash, and he could form a flash from a watch battery, a packet of soy sauce, and a can of Crisco and use it to light a portrait using TTL that would make Rembrandt reconsider using natural light.
Yes, there are pros who can tweak TTL to where it works for them — but that’s not who I’m talking about here. I’m not talking about people who have mastered TTL or overcome all the quirks of TTL, and they’ve made it work for what they do. I’m talking about everybody else. I’m talking about the thousands of people I taught during my Shoot Like a Pro seminar tour who were miserable with their flash. Sadly, so many had given up on flash altogether when all they had to do was switch off TTL and switch their flash to manual. Then if the flash doesn’t look bright enough in the shot, you just turn up the power of the flash. If it’s too bright, you turn it down.
Can it really be that simple? Absolutely!
I did something to help all those folks
I wrote a book called ‘The Flash Book,’ and in it, I tell folks to turn off TTL and start loving their flash. Of course, there’s way more in the book than just that (or it would be a 1-page book), but it’s a really great start because I teach a system that I know works from the hundreds of folks who’ve told me that now they finally love their flash.
There are more reasons why folks hate their flash, and I’ll cover some more here maybe next week, but this weekend, dust off your flash; turn off TTL, switch to Manual Mode, and start down the path of finally falling in love with your flash. It can change everything.
Here are the winners of my Flash Book give away:
Teri Yearkey, Macomb Township, MI
Jose Mario Monia Sanchez, Spain
Gary Phillip, England
Still waiting to hear from the other two winners, but we’ll find ’em. :)
Have a great weekend everybody, and here’s to making better images with your flash!