Through the Lens (TTL) Flash Mode is most often brought up in discussions of whether it is better over manual flash or not. While people are divided up between the two flash camps, we argue that it is more reasonable to say that both modes offer advantages and disadvantages, depending on several factors during your shoot. It totally depends on your situation, much like how both the manual and auto modes of your DSLRs are best used in varying scenarios. The best way to say is this: One is not necessarily better than the other.
To illustrate how TTL is used, it may be best to see it as the counterpart of your digital camera’s auto mode. By using the camera’s metering system and detecting your distance to your subject, the TTL flash will decide just how much illumination you will be needing. This is why some call this mode TTL Flash Metering. Some TTL flashes do this by firing a short burst of light before the actual flash. With the information that your flash gathers, it will automatically choose which power setting to use.
Just like the manual flash, TTL flash mode is still used in any of the following ways:
1. Add light.
Undeniably, the main use of a flash (whether it is a manual or a TTL Flash) is to add light to dark scenes. It is, after all, an artificial light source that could easily brighten up any poorly-lit scenario. This is especially true for people who are into night photography, and those who need more control over lighting direction and treatment.
2. Direct light.
Flashes are not just used to add light to your photos. They are also used to direct light to your subjects. Natural light is good, but it gives too little control. With a flash on hand, you will have better control of where to direct light. Used with a nice diffuser and a surface to bounce light on, your flash can help you achieve soft illumination on your subjects.
3. Create contrast.
In any photo, contrast is what gives off the three-dimensional look. It is very important because it is what separates your subject from other objects in your composition. By using a flash, you will be able to put a spotlight on your subjects, while also creating depth and dimension in the photo.
4. Control the quality of light.
Combine your understanding of lighting in photography with the use of a reliable flash, and you will be able to manipulate the kind of lighting that it can produce. Depending on your application, you can use it for creative photography to freeze objects, or simply to provide a catch light in your subject’s eyes.
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Using the TTL Flash Mode
Like previously mentioned, both the TTL and manual flash modes have advantages and disadvantages depending on a set of factors. With the basics out of the way, let’s get into when it should be used:
1. When you do not have much time to set up your flash
Sometimes, you will be confronted with scenarios that will require you to act fast. It may be during events with varying light conditions, or at shoots where you have to move quickly from one place to another. During days like these, you will have to move fast and smart. The TTL flash mode shines in occasions like these. By leaving the control of the flash to this intuitive mode, you won’t have to worry about fumbling for the settings.
2. When your objects move a lot
Your TTL flash can detect whether your subject has moved closer or farther from you. If you are into capturing people in motion, this particular flash mode can help. In cases like event photography, your TTL flash can bring you as close as it can to help you get the right exposure. Aside from event photography, you can also use the mode for kid’s photography, or maybe even portrait photography.
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What if you do not have a TTL capable flash?
No need to worry! Photographers have been spoiled with advanced accessories that can help capture the best photos. If you are a photographer who does not have a TTL Flash capable flash, you can opt to use the MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger, which also has the ability to trigger any flash device. It has a versatile set of triggering modes like lightning, sound, laser, and HDR among others. In some ways, this small device may even be more advanced than flashes with TTL mode capabilities.
The MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger has a dedicated output for flashes and a standard sync cable that can connect with your flash. All you have to do is attach the device to your flash, and use the MIOPS smartphone application to set up the device to the appropriate mode. Both the sound and laser modes can trigger your flash during sound events or movements. With this device, all that is left to do is apply some creativity to come up with unique photos.
The TTL Flash Mode and the addition of the MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger can help any photographer achieve the best photos in a more efficient manner. With both options having the ability to detect scenes, you can rely on your flashes to appropriately light your subjects. These advancements in technology have truly made photography a lot easier, thanks to their assistance in exposure-- emphasis on assistance.
We can not stress this any further, but it truly does bear repeating: any photography accessory or gear are mere tools in the trade. Your flashes and fancy camera triggers can definitely help with properly exposing your photographs, but it is still your skills that will make your outputs standout. Master your camera’s settings and add a bit of flare in your composition. You have to develop your personal “voice” as a photographer before any accessory can make a difference in your work. Investing in photography gear is nice, but having a mastery of your camera and a unique style are the real keys in capturing compelling photographs.
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