Have you discovered high-speed flash?

I have had my fair share of photography growing pains.

Here is how I discovered High-Speed Flash!

Once upon a time, I didn’t know much about flash sync speed or high speed flash. In fact, I discovered it completely by accident. It was after I took some really bad photos!

A few years ago, I had been told how useful a flash can be to fill in those pesky shadows that show up in daytime portraits (especially around someone’s eyes).

The next time I wanted to get portraits of my son, I went to the park with a DSLR and a 50mm F1.8 lens. I loved using this lens because it created a nice soft background but kept the subject sharp. This time however I would try a flash. I set the aperture to F1.8, turned on the flash, and fired! The shot was terrible; washed out! Not usable! Overexposed!

Well, what I didn’t know is that each camera has a maximum shutter speed in which the flash can operate normally (flash sync speed). Usually that speed is around 1/200 sec. I didn’t notice this at first but when I turned on the flash, the camera reset the shutter speed to 1/200 on its own. Keep in mind that I was outside on a sunny day and was using an F1.8 lens.  I had used this lens and flash before (always inside) and had great results. Why were my photos turning out so poorly this time? It’s because the lens was wide open to light while in direct sun. I needed a faster shutter speed than 1/200 sec.

After a little research I learned that CCC sells various flashes with high speed sync capability. This means you can use the flash with almost any shutter speed you want (It does vary by camera however). While you will lose some range/power on the flash as the shutter speed gets faster, this technology will let you use a flash and a fast aperture lens at the same time. Even in bright sunlight!   I can even darken the sky but get a great exposure of my subject!

For more about high speed flash, stop by your local CCC store!


– Matt Nolte, Springfield, IL Store Manager


A Pro Tip from Stephen Weiss

What is High Speed Falsh Sync? (HSS)

HSS flash is where the shutter speed exceeds the “normal/native” flash speed sync…Generally between 1/60th and 1/250th of a second.

This is where a flash will “stop” the action above a 1/250 of a second by several burst of light over a period of time vs. one long burst of light.  It’s impossible to see this!

Reasons to use HSS…The first is to photograph with a flash and very shallow depth of field and the second is to photograph with a flash outdoors during bright ambient light and sometimes to “stop” the action in a subject.

View your cameras “flash” setting menu to set this.  Many photographers leave this “on” all the time.