Understanding ambient light and flash light balance for family portraits



Aperture is also called the f-stop of the lens. Every lens has an aperture which can change from a small opening to a large opening. The size of the opening affects how much light is let in to expose the digital sensor. Large holes F2, f4, let more light in and small holes f16, f22 let in less light. Small holes also result in long depth of fields and large holes result in short depth of fields. We will talk in detail about depth of field in another lesson.


Shutter speed


Shutter speed means the amount of time a hole (large or small) is open. ½ second is a long shutter speed and 1/500 second is a fast shutter speed.


The relationship between aperture and shutter speed is how the photographer controls the balance between ambient light and artificial flash light.


Often the ambient light inside or outside is not fantastic so artificial light needs to be used. The trick is to add artifical light (flash light) to a scene without making it look like you added light. The way to accomplish this goal is to balance the ambient light with flash. If the ambient light is affecting the photo too much the flash will have no effect. If the flash is too strong the picture will look like it was taken only with a flash and will have that blown out look. So how do we make them balance perfectly?


The Answer


Shutter speed affects ambient light only


Aperture affects both ambient and flash light.


If your flash output is overpowering the ambient light you need to use a slower shutter speed and or decrease the power of your flash. Changing the aperture will change nothing because aperture affects both ambient and flash light.


If your flash is not having enough effect on your photograph you can increase the flash output and or increase your shutter speed. Again changing the aperture will change nothing.


The best answer

Hire Steve Barrus at www.barrusphoto.com to take your portraits because he has been perfectly balancing ambient and flash light for 25+ years.

Thanks for visiting Barrus photography in Utah web site.  We are the family photographers to choose for the best family  portraits.  You will not be sorry when you choose Barrus for your portrait photos.  Your family portraits will be the best family portraits you have ever had.   Once you have come to Barrus photography portrait studio in Utah you will return time and time again for all of your family picture needs.   Absolutely the number one choice for your family photographer

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