Light is one of the most important elements in photography. It’s a medium that allows you to see the world through the lens of a camera and having the power to harness it can give you the most amazing images in every shot.
Professional photographers often rely on light to achieve creative and more defined photos, but all these won’t be possible without mastering how to use one particular part of the camera: the flash unit.
There are several devices and techniques that can help users not only shape and filter light, but will enable them to control it from different angles. One effective method is to totally remove the flash from your camera’s hot shoe and find a more suitable position so that instead of just releasing a sudden burst of light head-on into your subject’s face, you can have the freedom to move it up or down, or position it left or right. It sounds easy, right?
However, there’s just one problem – once you remove your flash unit from your camera, it loses the physical link required to activate it. In other words, once separated from the actual body of your gear, your flash unit is basically useless since it will not have the capability to fire on its own.
This is where the important role of a flash trigger will come in, and this article will help you understand this vital device especially if you want to fully explore photography not just as a hobbyist but as a professional.
What is a flash trigger?
In definition, a flash trigger is a specialized accessory that sends a signal from your DSLR camera to the flash unit, giving you control when it will fire.
If you want to know more about flash triggers and the applications that you can try out, read on.
Here are the essential things to know about this device and how you can use it to achieve the best quality images that you want in your portfolio.
1. Flash trigger uses a flash-synch technology to do its job well.
Flash triggers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all of them play the same crucial role especially when it comes to professional photography shoots: to activate and cause the flash to fire, accurately at the exact moment that your camera’s shutter opens.
This is only possible through a process that is known as “flash synchronization”, and it is nothing new to the photography community. It has been around for decades and its history is as old as photography itself.
2. A flash trigger can be synched to the on-camera flash.
Most photographers use flash triggers to trigger an auxiliary flash but it can also depend on the light (coming from the actual on-camera flash) as a signal to fire.
However, you should take note that some cameras like Canon usually have a pre-flash feature (used in checking the exposure), so you need special flash triggers for these models to avoid ruining the timing from the mis-triggering.
3. Some triggers can be activated through sound sensors and laser beam.
Modern flash triggers have been improved and enhanced to become smart devices that can easily trigger flash units using different methods. For instance, most advanced camera trigger devices will enable your flash to fire through laser beams and noise sensors to perform stunning high speed photography.
What happens is, when your subject makes a noise (like balloon bursts) or when an object trips the laser beam coming from the trigger device (commonly used for capturing silent subjects like water drops and splashes), that’s the exact moment when the flash unit will fire, precisely and accurately timed.
4. Flash triggers enable you to use two or more flash units.
You don’t have to settle on one single flash unit, and a flash trigger can make it possible for you to use two or more devices just to achieve the shot that you want. For instance, you can bring in a second flash unit to achieve an exceptional image by positioning each of them to cover different angles.
5. Wireless flash triggers can fire multiple flashes from great distances.
A wireless trigger, as the name suggests, does not need cords to connect your camera to the auxiliary flash. In fact, its ability to send a special signal to not just one but multiple flashes from great distances make it a perfect device for professional photographers who want to achieve great shots even in the darkest corners of a room.
6. Corded flash triggers can also do the job with precision.
Although wireless triggers can be the ideal choice, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of corded flash triggers especially when it comes to the quality of shots that it helps your camera capture.
Basically, a wired flash trigger is attached to the top of your camera. The cord is capable of communicating electrical signals between your camera and the flash unit. Generally, the cord length varies, with a minimum 6-inch cord to over 30 feet.
Most professional photographers who use this traditionally wired trigger can agree that it’s error-free since the connection is direct and straight to the point.
7. Buying generic triggers is more practical than choosing a manufacturer-specific unit.
The biggest camera companies today offer flash triggers as additional accessories but do you know that you can have the option to buy a generic flash trigger? Aside from being a more affordable alternative, it actually offers one important advantage: they are not really exclusive to one camera brand, so they are actually compatible with ANY digital camera SLR in the market today.
Choosing a generic flash trigger should be your first option especially if you’re thinking of trying out other camera brands. Aside from its versatility regardless of your camera’s manufacturer, it can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Transform your regular camera and flash unit into a high speed photography equipment
Did you know that you can turn your DSLR camera and regular flash unit into a high speed photography equipment? With MIOPS Smart Trigger, your basic equipment can have advanced triggering modes, such as lightning, sound, laser, timelapse, HDR and more. With these features, you can easily capture lightning strikes, water droplets, breaking glass, popping balloons and other amazing photos. To learn more features and watch it in action, see MIOPS Smart Camera and Flash Trigger.
Related Article: What is a Camera Trigger? A Simple Guide for Beginners