May 13, 2010

High Sync Speed - Lightenupandshoot

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is "How do you get your camera to sync faster than the maximum sync speed". In this video, we show our top secret government technique, ok so we're trying to be funny but it really does work.

Part of the entire lightenupandshoot philosophy is to know the boundaries of your gear and then go beyond them. Flash sync speed has been a very big problem for some photographers, but if you know your getting a black bar, then simply step back, recompose with the black bar in mind....then CROP!
Yes, it's that easy! Remember it's not a mistake if you know it's going to happen!
So as always, get out of your chair, stop reading this and go try it! When it works and you wipe that grin off your face...go tell someone about it!
If you have any questions, just leave a comment and we'll get right on it!
Mikey and Andy


  1. This is one of the biggest reasons I don't use the Nikon CLS or TTL flash control. Unless you take measures to defeat all of those features that you just paid handsomely to have, it assumes you are stupid and you lose control of your lighting.

    Its also worth noting, the Nikon D-40 has a 1/500 sync speed, which you seldom need to break. Its one of the biggest reasons I still carry (and avidly use) my D40 over my D90 or D300s.

  2. Tim,

    We could not agree with you more in regards to TTL or any other feature that does the thinking for you; those systems just aren't accurate in certain situations. We always shoot manual and always encourage our audience to understand your camera and take control...shoot manual!

    As far as cameras: our philosophy has always been shoot with what you've got. We don't give a rat's ass what you shoot with...just get out and make awesome photographs. Thanks for mentioning that the D40 has a 1/500 sync speed...I bet you can push that sucker into the 1/1000 range! If you are on a budget, buy an old D70 or D70S (both of these fine cameras have 1/500 sync and can be scored for around $250 on ebay)

    Lighten up and shoot!

  3. Haha, I'm going to call bs on your example! The high sync speed black bar only effects things that are lit by the flash, not the ambient light like the sky in this image!

  4. I am admiring your work!You opened my eyes - and now i love to "Lighten up and shoot":)
    I regret that equipment that you are using in sessions (for example - westcott softboxes) are not avaiable in my country:( i have to modify studio softboxes to use them at locations with speedlight;)
    Kris - Fan from Poland;)

  5. Krzysztof,

    Glad your liking the work!!! And especially glad your aboard the lighten and shoot philosophy!

    I wrote westcott and they told me to tell you to try this dealer:
    Eimsbuetteler Chaussee 66
    Hamburg 20259
    (494) 063-6066 90

    and if anyone has any questions regarding worldwide availability on their products to contact:

    Amanda Roberts

    E-mail Support:

    Customer Service Phone: 800-886-1689 (Monday-Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm EST)
    International Callers: 419-243-7311

    Any other questions...just ask!!


  6. Thanks for the tip.
    Great post and a great blog.

  7. I have been shooting WAAAAY over the max sync speed for a while. It wasn't as hard as I thought. My D50 max sync is 1/500th I get around it shooting mid day ( tons of ambient ) and my flash fires FASTER than the shutter. Not uncommon to shoot at 1/1000 etc. You also have to shoot on Manual. TTL will kill this and won't let it shoot past your max sync speed.

    The only down side is that there is a point where shutter speed is too high and things turn gray. I think this has to do with how fast the flash fires and dies. Not sure.

  8. I remember photographers (i think it's from using the black bar to control the spill of their flashes, while mixing it to the ambiant, almost like a gradient ND filter :)

    They even turn their camera upside down for the bar to be on the side they wanted :)

  9. This is the very reason why I bought a 6yr old used Nikon D70s. It has a hybrid mechanical/electronic shutter like the D40. I got 1/500 natural sync speed with no gimmick, no power sucking high speed focal plane shutter (Don't get me wrong, if I could afford a bunch of SB900, I would absolutely use the High Speed Focal Plane Shutter mode and damn the battery life!!!)

    Here's another secret: I get a natural 1/8000 sync speed without gimmicks. Oh, BTW, Nikon D70 has a max shutter of 1/8000sec... D40/Rebel doesn't.

  10. Awesome, I was with the idea that this can be done, but I hadn't watch or read that it could be done, until now.