Using High Speed Sync to Take Your Action Photography to the Next Level

In certain scenarios, such as photographing action outdoors, it’s all too easy to find yourself needing to work at shutter speeds that exceed the flash sync speed of your camera. This is where high speed sync comes into its own, expanding your creative possibilities beyond the limitations of conventional flash.

Many of you may not have heard of Ben Staley, but you have almost certainly enjoyed some of his work. Ben is an award-winning videographer and filmmaker whose stunning imagery has wowed audiences on popular TV shows like “Deadliest Catch” and “Ice Road Truckers.” But Ben also happens to be an avid (and excellent) still photographer and regularly features his still photography work on his YouTube channel “Adventure & Art

In this insightful video which is equal parts education and inspiration, Ben discusses the use of a high speed sync (HSS) strobe in situations where you really need to be working at higher shutter speeds that are beyond the maximum flash sync speed of your camera. Ben demonstrates the use of high speed sync in a number of different scenarios such as photographing action outdoors in bright, ambient light, and managing challenging lighting scenarios for outdoor portrait work.

For the photo shoots featured in the video, Ben is using the Westcott FJ400 Strobe with Westcott’s FJ-X3m Universal Wireless Trigger on his Panasonic Lumix S5 IIX mirrorless camera.

The video itself is not really a review of the Westcott gear or the Lumix camera, but rather more of a field test and demonstration of how this Westcott HSS strobe and trigger can be used to manage challenging lighting scenarios, and what you can produce with them. As Ben himself says in the video, he tends to focus more on the artistic and creative aspects of photography rather than the technical details. That said however, he does an excellent job introducing HSS as a technique that can expand the creative possibilities of your photography, and the results that he presents in the video are sure to inspire any photographer who is looking to take their work beyond the limitations of conventional flash.

Gordon Webster's picture

Gordon Webster is a professional photographer based in New England. He has worked with clients from a wide range of sectors, including retail, publishing, music, independent film production, technology, hospitality, law, energy, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, medical, veterinary, and education.

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If I see the cliché expression "take your photography to the next level" one more time, I'm gonna barf.

I already did.