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It sounds so powerful doesn't it! What sounds so powerful is actually pretty basic.
I will explain using as few examples as possible so as not to confuse too much.
Flash power is how much light is coming out of your flash during one burst.
You control your flash power by increasing or decreasing the power. With the flash in manual mode the settings go as follows:
1/1 Full Power to 1/2 Power to 1/4 Power to 1/8 Power to 1/16 Power to 1/32 Power to 1/64 Power and so on.
Each one of these steps is equal to one stop of light.
So what does it all mean in basic terms. Simple.
Read on to find out!
Knowing how your flash power works is going to help you not only get the correct exposure, but it can also help you save battery life if you are using speedlights. Have you started noticing that there is a common denominator in all of these variables...STOPS OF LIGHT! When you are using flash and it is set to 1/1 FULL POWER and you lower your flash power to 1/2, that is ONE STOP OF LIGHT! You are basically doing the same thing is closing down your aperture one stop. Your flash exposure is going to be the same whether you close aperture or reduce flash power. They work together. So there will be a ton of instances that you will be able to open your aperture and lower your flash power to compensate and save battery life.
Let's take this image for example. The flash was fired at FULL POWER 1/1, since my flash was setup with so much power my Aperture had to closed down all the way to f/11 to let less light in. We have a greater depth of field with this setting and if we need that depth of field, then we have no other choice. But, if we don't then we can lower our flash power and open up our aperture to compensate. Firing at full power has a couple of downsides so we will try to avoid this as much as possible.
The first bummer is batteries...firing at full power will drain them quickly and leave you in the dark unless you carry around a ton of batteries.
The second bummer is recycling times... The recycling time is how long it takes for the flash to be ready to fire again. This can be bad, especially if you have a model with A.D.D. and you need to take pictures more consecutively to keep her focused. Taking too much time between shots will sometimes throw the model off her rhythm...not good.
The third issue with shooting full power is you can actually blow your flash if you fire off too many shots without letting it cool down...definitely not good!
Ok, so knowing all of the above, we decided to avoid all those issues we decided that we don't need the Depth of Field that f/11 offers us so we can open up our aperture to compensate.
So we are lowering our flash power from FULL POWER 1/1 to 1/4 Power. That is 2 Stops of Flash Power or light difference. We now have 2 Stops of less light coming into the camera so we need to compensate. By opening up our aperture 2 Stops (from f/11 to f/5.6) we are now able to capture 2 stops more light. Since the flash is firing 2 stops less light and we opened up our aperture to capture 2 stops more of light, our flash exposure is exactly the same. The only thing that changes is our Depth of Field.
This final image is our world famous "Flash Power Cheat Sheet for Dummies and Anyone Else Who Didn't Understand It On The Video Chart". If the correct exposure is 1/1 Full flash power at f/11 then follow the chart for keeping the correct exposure while "dialing down".
Ok, NOW LEAVE A COMMENT, TELL A FRIEND OR 123 OF THEM AND GET OUT OF YOUR HOUSE AND SHOOT, OR SHOOT SOMETHING IN YOUR HOUSE I DON'T CARE AS LONG AS YOU'RE SHOOTING SOMETHING!!!!!
So, three down, and two to go!!! CONGRATS!!