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How To Get Started With Flash for Portraiture

Using strobe or flash lighting for the first time can be daunting, but it's easier than you might realize. If you're looking at trying it out, here's a beginner's guide to getting started.

The first time I tried to use external lights, I used a desk lamp and it went rather well. So, if I recall correctly, I invested in a flashgun and wireless remote and tried again. It went poorly. In fact, for a while, I used to bounce my flash's light off of reflectors or walls because I couldn't work out how to get the "look" I was after. There were settings I didn't understand (damn near most of them!) and all I could seem to alter was the power.

Once you get a grasp of how how to control the light of your flashgun or strobe, how it can automatically interact with your camera settings, and what to do when it looks wrong in some way, you then need to understand the positioning of the light, the subject, and the use of available light. I can fully understand why there are so many "natural light" photographers out there when there appears to be so much you need to learn. However, if you take your time, watch videos like this one, and read the many tutorials available, you'll realize there are only a few variables in play, and it's straightforward to control them.

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