November 9, 2009

Speedlight Series: Shutter Speed (Part Dos)

So what does shutter speed do in flash photography?

What pretty much took us 5 minutes to explain in a video we can explain using 2 sentences:

Sentence 1: Shutter speed controls the ambient light of your picture, or pretty much wherever the light from your flash is NOT illuminating.

Sentence 2: The faster the shutter speed the less ambient light in your picture, darker it's going to look or, the slower the shutter speed the more ambient light or lighter the image is going to look.

(OK, I cheated with a long run on sentence 2, but you understand the point)

Check out the examples after the break!!

This first example was taken using a slower shutter speed and that is why the sky is lighter. The longer the shutter is open, the more light comes.

The second example was taken using a faster shutter speed, thus the sky is darker. The less time the shutter is open the less light comes in.

Notice that the exposure on our model is the same on both images. We control the models exposure using the aperture which was f/5.6 in both cases, flash to subject distance (how far the flash is from the model) and flash power but definitely NOT with the SHUTTER SPEED!!

Cool and simple. Now, leave a comment or question, email this link to 2 friends and GET OUT LIGHTEN UP AND SHOOT!!!!


  1. Thanks guys. Been playing around with this and though still not proficient....starting to get it. Keep it up and keep the vids coming.

  2. I love this! These vids are the best, I check them out whenever I have a couple min. As of now I have the flu (so not much shooting for the next couple days)

    Thank you guys for helping me through my Flu!


  3. Guys,
    if you need help with any translations just shoot me an email: caphics [at]

    Tito - Caphics

  4. You guys are kicking ass....learned more here in 5 videos than i have in.....well ive learnt lol Keep it up!

  5. I just want to say thanks for taking the time to go through the basics!

    Awesome work keep it up!

  6. Just discovered this site a day ago. You guys are funny and informative! Keep up the great work, I'm finally learning!! :)

  7. This is a very informative site, Thank you guys!

  8. simple. I hope to get a flash soon to try this out! GOSH! SO SIMPLE!

  9. When underexposing ambient light will a cameras flash sync speed become a factor when using off camera flash? Sometimes I might have to shoot at a shutter speed of say 1/750 to underexpose ambient light.

  10. Here is a great article on flash sync speed

    if anyone is interested. Keep up the great work guys.

  11. Hi everyone,

    im still a little stuck on something. Say im going to shoot a band promo outdoors like the above example. Do i start off setting the ambiant exposure using my shutter speed? if so at this point what should my aperature be set at or does it not matter? or should during setting up should i set my aperature as wide open as possible?

    mark from the uk

  12. hey here. but like Jeff said, i learned more here in 2 days than i did in 3 years that i have been shooting! Freakin awesome! BTW - yo hablo espanol muy bien, so if u need any help, hit me up...zilos (at) zilosphoto (dot) com

    Im so stoked! These videos rock! Keep em coming!