How and why you might want to use High Speed Sync flash in the studio

Oct 17, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How and why you might want to use High Speed Sync flash in the studio

Oct 17, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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High speed sync flash is typically associated with shooting outdoors. You’re in the bright light, and you need to take your shutter past your camera’s sync speed in order to overcome the bright outdoors and bring it under control. High speed sync lets you keep using flash beyond these speeds. But there are times when you might want to use them indoors, too.

In this video, Gavin Hoey shows us why we might want to use high speed sync in the studio or other indoor settings and how to use it to get the shots we want.

The reasons for using it in the studio are essentially the same as for using it outdoors. You need to take your shutter speed past the flash sync in order to bring the ambient light under control. This doesn’t often happen when you’re shooting indoors, but it can if you want to shoot at ultra-wide apertures like f/1.2 and still use flash.

If your aperture’s down at f/8 or even f/5.6, the flash sync speed of your camera is often enough to kill the ambient and let you use flash the old fashioned way, but at f/1.2, it might not be enough to turn your scene to blackness without flash. This means you end up with a mixed lighting situation and lose control over your colour.

Gavin’s using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, which has a flash sync speed of 1/250th of a second. He’s using the M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.2 lens, and he faces that issue here as he wants to shoot it wide open. It just doesn’t get the shot black enough. So, he breaks out the Godox AD400Pro and XPro trigger to let him go into high speed sync mode to shoot at 1/2000th of a second and still get enough light on his subject with a big octabox.

In many indoor settings, you might be able to dim the lights, but you can’t with all types of lighting. In those situations, high speed sync is often your best option.

It’s probably not a technique you’ll need to use often indoors, but it’s always nice to be reminded that it’s there, especially if you’ve always associated it with the bright outdoors.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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2 responses to “How and why you might want to use High Speed Sync flash in the studio”

  1. Francisco Hernandez Avatar
    Francisco Hernandez

    Great article!

  2. Michelle Avatar
    Michelle

    Hi John, is there a way to use ambient natural light along with hss?