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Author Topic: Action photos with flash in low light?  (Read 2524 times)


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Action photos with flash in low light?
« on: October 17, 2015, 02:32:08 am »

I want to shoot some photos of moving subjects in low light using a Quantum flash with umbrella reflector on a stand and Sony A7ii : without ghosting and with as much of the background area illuminated by available light as possible

Would a good way to do this be:
(1) take incident light reading with the flash meter at a high iso (eg about 800asa),
(2) set camera in manual mode to the same asa and same aperture as the flash meter reading indicates
(3) set shutter to a high enough speed eg ss180 to max ss250 to freeze action and avoid ghosting of the moving figure?

Or is there a better/ easier way to do this?


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Re: Action photos with flash in low light?
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2015, 10:14:38 am »

A high shutterspeed isn't really necessary, because the flash will freeze the action.

Going with a high ISO is the way to get the background as well. But, using an umbrella will loose a lot of light, depending on the power you've got, maybe it is better without modifier.

But, if you don't mind me asking, is there a special requirement why you want to have everything frozen? It makes for a less dynamic picture. Just my opinion. I would typically drag the shutter (longish shutterspeed) with lower ISO, but long enough shutterspeed to give the background some definition. I'd still use flash to define the subject, perhaps on 2nd curtain (it flashes at the end of the exposure).

While not a great picture, this is an example of what i mean.
Hans Cremers


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  • Tim Cole
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Re: Action photos with flash in low light?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2020, 03:50:43 am »

Depends how fast your subject is moving and in what direction in relation to the camera. To really freeze movement you will need an even faster shutter or light the entire subject with a shorter flash duration. Blending flash and ambient will create ghosting if the movement is across the frame and fast.


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    • Bob Shaw Photography
Re: Action photos with flash in low light?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2020, 07:07:35 pm »

You almost always use flash to freeze motion if you have the option rather than shutter speed.
So use a low ISO if possible to eliminate the ambient light.

The problem is that not all flash units have a high speed flash.
Check the flash specs for the t0.1 flash duration.
It needs to be faster than about 1/3000S to freeze say water.
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