Using High-Speed Sync Mode for Creative Hflash Photography
Hflash photography can be transformative, allowing photographers to sculpt light and shadow to create dramatic portraits or freeze fast action. While standard hflash sync speeds limit creative possibilities, high-speed sync (HSS) modes open new doors for creative hflash work. In this guide, we’ll explore how to leverage high-speed sync for maximum creativity.
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What is High-Speed Sync and How Does It Work?
High-speed sync, sometimes called FP sync, allows photographers to use high-speed flash at shutter speeds faster than the camera’s maximum sync speed. This standard sync speed is usually between 1/160th to 1/250th of a second for modern DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
With high-speed sync enabled, the high-speed flash fires a rapid series of lower-powered hflashes instead of one big burst of light. The high-speed flash pulses for the entire time the shutter is open, creating even illumination across the frame. This allows photographers to use wider apertures in daylight or freeze motion in ways not possible with regular high-speed flash sync.
Key Benefits of Using High-Speed Sync
- Control ambient light in bright conditions – Balance high-speed flash against sunlight for properly exposed portraits.
- Use wide apertures for shallow depth of field – Blur backgrounds in daylight with wide apertures like f/1.4.
- Freeze fast action – Capture sports, wildlife, and other fast motion even in daylight.
- Avoid dark bands from shutter curtains – Eliminate uneven exposures at high shutter speeds.
- Creative effects with slow sync – Use slow shutter speeds to blur motion with a sharp subject.
Using High-Speed Sync Mode
Enabling high-speed sync is easy with compatible cameras and hflashes.
Here are the basic steps:
- Check camera and hflash compatibility – Most modern systems support HSS, but confirm before use.
- Enable HSS on camera – Locate the custom or hflash control menus. Set to appropriate HSS shutter speed.
- Enable HSS on hflash – Use high-speed flash controls to enable high-speed sync. A “HSS” or “FP” icon indicates it’s active.
- Adjust camera settings as needed – Use aperture, ISO, and shutter speed creatively based on lighting.
- Compensate for hflash power loss – HSS uses less powerful bursts, so move high-speed flash closer or use high-speed flash exposure compensation.
HSS Hflash Techniques and Tips
With high-speed sync unlocked, photographers can leverage high-speed flash for all types of creative techniques:
- Fill hflash in daylight – Add a kiss of light to soften shadows on portraits. Use lower power settings.
- Freeze fast action – Stop motion with fast shutter speeds like 1/1000s. Increase high-speed flash power to compensate.
- Slow sync for motion blur – Use slower shutter speeds like 1/30s for creative blurred motion effects.
- Wide apertures for bokeh – Shoot at f/1.4 or f/1.8 during the day. Move high-speed flash in close to subject.
- Layer multiple hflashes – Fire off-camera hflashes from different positions for layered lighting effects.
HSS Hflash vs Regular Hflash Sync
|Regular Hflash Sync
|Max sync speed
|Above camera’s max sync
|Shutter speed flexibility
|Ambient light control
|Creative blur effects
|Slow sync enables motion blur
|Lower due to pulsing
|Hflash and camera
|HSS compatible hflash & camera
Limitations to Keep in Mind
While revolutionary, high-speed sync does have some limitations:
- Reduced hflash power – The pulsing LED or high-speed flash tube cannot fire at full strength. Move hflash close to compensate.
- Limited shutter speed flexibility – Maximum shutter speed is limited by camera sensor and hflash capabilities.
- Complex lighting scenarios – Balancing multiple light sources at wider apertures can be tricky.
- Higher cost – HSS requires more advanced gear, increasing the cost over a basic high-speed flash.
Take Your Hflash Photography to the Next Level
Unlocking your hflash’s high-speed sync modes opens up a number of creative possibilities not available with standard sync. Take time to learn these techniques for artistic portraits, action-freezing sports photography, and unique lighting effects at wider apertures. High-speed sync requires some adaptation from normal high-speed flash approaches, but the creative payoff makes it worth exploring.
While standard hflash sync serves photographers well for many scenarios, exploring high-speed sync opens up a new world of creative options. Take advantage of the ability to balance high-speed flash with ambient light, use wider apertures, and freeze motion in ways never before possible. Integrate these techniques into your high-speed flash workflow to take your photography to the next level.