Flash in the afternoon - how to use

How to take pictures with a flash in the afternoon and why in general a flash in the afternoon?

High speed sync. Using flash during the day.

High speed sync. Using flash during the day.

The question seems pointless, but when it comes to practice, it turns out that a flash even on the sunniest day can be an indispensable tool in the hands of the photographer.

In general, it is generally accepted that a flash helps when there is little light, i.e. serves as an additional light source in poor light - in the evening, at night, in the house, in the shade of trees, in cloudy weather. But when there is a lot of light - it can and should be used too. As they say - there is never much good light.

High speed sync

High speed sync. The flash added contrast and highlighted the subject.

So during the day, a flash is needed as soften shadows from the sun or other strong and harsh light sources. Mostly flash during the day use for photographing portraits. The harsh light of the sun can make very strong shadows on people's faces. A flash can soften these shadows.

Shadow Suppression

Shadow suppression on people's faces in high speed sync mode

True, there are day flash restrictions. For photographing portraits, it is recommended to use fast fixed lenses. For example, a lens with an aperture of F2.8 and a set value of ISO 200 will require on a sunny day excerpts about 1 / 2000s-1 / 4000s. But there is flash sync concept with a camera shutter and often this synchronization rests against a certain limit. Basically, built-in flashes can work with shutter speeds of at least 1/200, 1 / 250s, or 1 / 320s, of course there are exceptions - this Nikon D40, D70, D70s, D1h etc. which can use shutter speeds up to 1/500 s, but still, they are too long excerptsto take pictures in daylight. But even if you have external flashYou can take pictures at shorter shutter speeds only if your camera allows it.

Attention: None of the built-in flash on any of the central controllers can work normally with shutter speeds shorter than 1 \ 500s. The built-in flash does not have a single CZK quick sync mode.

Attention: High-speed sync mode is available on many cameras only in P, A, S, M mode.

Day portrait example

An example of a portrait in the afternoon. Flash on camera with a diffuser card. The flash reduces the volume of the picture, but adds contrast and color.

In order to be able to use a flash with very short shutter speeds, was created quick sync mode, which is called differently for different cameras of different manufacturers. For Nikon, this is FP (fast pulse, fast sync), it allows you to use flashes and synchronize them with shutter speeds up to 1 / 8000s.

In order to be able to use this mode - need:

  1. For the camera to support fast sync mode
  2. For the flash to support fast sync

Not all cameras can use this mode - they mainly include advanced amateur cameras and all full-frame digital mirrors.

Here is the exact list of CZK Nikon that support mode FP:

D2h, D2x, D2hs, D2xs, D3, D3s, D3x, D4, D5, D200, D300, D300s, D500, D700, D800,D800E, D810, D850, D750D80, D90, D7000, D7100, D7200, D7500, D600, D610,Df

Day outbreak

Flash in the afternoon. Shot with a flash in FP mode, mounted to the top left of the model to create the desired lighting.

As you can see, the choice among Nikon cameras is small. Younger cameras of this mode do not have, which will not allow taking photos with a flash and a small shutter speed. But this is not a problem, since you can use neutral filters for decreasing excerpts. Polarizing filters also reduce shutter speed. Usually the need for flash during the day is very small.

Day outbreak

Flash during the day allows you to get a portrait in high key.

Not all flash units support this mode. – small external flashes SB-300, SB-400 do not know how to work in this mode. Nikon's FP mode works fine SB-500, SB-600, SB-700, SB-800, SB-900, SB-910, SB-5000. These flashes can shoot shutter speeds up to 1/8000. Many third party flashes also support FP mode, but it is often referred to by a different name such as flash Metz Mecablitz 48AF-1 for Nikon has an HSS mode that is completely similar to FP mode.

When photographing during the day with a flash, you need to remember that short excerpts and bright lighting requires a lot of flash energy. Funnily enough, high-speed sync flash recharges faster than normal flash, due to the unusual firing system in FP mode.

Day portrait

Portrait in the afternoon. The flash sometimes gives extra glare and may itself give extra shadows.

If you have an advanced camera with fast sync mode, then most likely there command mode for the built-in flash. This will allow you to use your external flash in remote control mode using the protocol Nikon CLS. That is, it will be possible to give light at the right angle and thereby create an excellent art photo. I advise you to experiment with photos with a flash against the sun to understand how effective the flash is in the daytime. For example, in the photo below, the girl lights up with a back (strong side) light, if I did not use the flash, I would get a dark face. The flash turned out quite differently. True, using the flash on the camera can lead to a loss of volume in the photograph.

Day outbreak

A flash in the afternoon in the strong side light of the sun.

Is it worth using flash diffusers, reflective cards - you need to look at the circumstances. As practice shows, sometimes very effective flash on the forehead in daylight, which is unacceptable when photographing people, for example, at night. When using a diffuser, the leading number of the flash is lost, which, even with fast synchronization, is less than usual. With fast synchronization, the flash makes a series of pulses with a huge frequency (of the order of 50 KHz), the human eye does not see this, but it decreases the distance from which the flash can illuminate the subject. You can read how to increase the flash range in the section Tricks 7.

High speed sync

High speed sync. The flash highlighted the subject and added contrast.


Flash during the day is just as useful as a flash at night, the main thing is to set it up correctly and remember that to get good shots it would be nice to have a quick sync mode between flash and camera.

Help to the project. Thanks for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 188, on topic: Flash in the afternoon - how to use

  • Vladimir

    Nikon d3200 camera, does it make sense to buy a flash from China Triopo TR-586EX. And will TTL work?

    • Peter Sh.

      I just had one. She worked as expected, there were no complaints.

    • Koba

      I will answer you directly from China. This flash is not worth buying because its prices are a little scattered, at least it costs about $ 65, but it does not have a high-speed sync mode. I wonder if the entry-level D3200 camera supports this mode? If not, then the limitation will be significant, and if the camera supports it, then buy the Triopo TR-988 model for the same price, it costs about 400, that is, about $ 68, for which it is almost top-end with all modes. And so, pay a little extra and buy a Godox 5N - after all, they are tested, they work perfectly and I think they are more reliable, at least time-tested, and cost 685 yuan, that is, about $ 550, which is very little for testing the very top class.

  • Vladimir

    Does the camera determine it or not? And how to set up the camera to work with it. Lens 50 1.8 and the main shooting mode aperture priority.

    • Peter Sh.

      The flash works in i-TTL mode. So the camera will know everything. How to configure the camera for this mode, take an interest in the instructions. Usually this mode is the default.

      It is clear that you need to buy a model for Nikon.
      But I still recommend the Yongnuo outbreaks. They are better made.

  • Vladimir

    Thanks for the quick response!!! The instruction is understandable, I would like the opinion of the person who used this puff. Maybe there is a photo experience with this flash of portraits.

    • Peter Sh.

      From the picture it is impossible to determine which flash was used))
      You better buy an umbrella on a tripod, with a mount for the flash, and set fire to the external flash on-camera.
      Image quality will improve by an order of magnitude.

      • Dmitriy

        3200 does not support master mode, only 7 series

        • Vitaly N

          But you can set the pulse duration manually on the flash and set it on fire with the D3200. Or you can put a flash with a command mode and control it. And then there are synchronizers and a cable ... There are a bunch of ways to remotely fire from an amateur carcass.

  • Alexander

    Arkady, your site is addictive worse than Wikipedia!))) Thank you!

  • Vladimir

    Great article, thanks to Arkady. Indeed, I experimented with an sb600 flash and Nikon D90 in the afternoon, it’s interesting to get, but here I can understand why the sex of the picture is darker. I suspect that the shutter speed is such that the images are not recorded correctly (the shutter works quickly and the lower curtain does not have time to go down as the upper one already catches up with it) and thus a black bar or two is formed from the top and the bottom. Who can tell me what I'm doing wrong?

    • Gennady

      I'm not special, but how it was on Nikon's carcass I used a flash from a canon in manual mode - such stripes appeared at a long exposure (which I don't remember anymore)

  • Alexander

    Today I shot on Nikon D90. I shoot and suddenly suddenly crackle and the smell of burning. I began to understand, it turned out that for some reason the built-in flash worked, but in the retracted position. I opened it, I looked - the surface was smoked. I thought it might seem. I took another photo 10-15 as the crackle repeated, the flash fires in the closed position. Tell me what to do in this case?

    • Michael

      Service, no options

      • Arkady Shapoval

        There is a lever that is responsible for parking the flash (the camera thinks the flash is down). Pull it, you can force it to lower and see the result.

        • Michael

          I feel it’s unlikely to help for a while (

  • B. R. P.

    Where is our dear comrade from Paris? These struts and racks are already in several topics.

  • vladimir basin

    d 40 is synchronized with an external flash at any shutter speed because it has an electronic mechanical shutter it's strange that the manufacturer does not position this as an advantage of these cameras

    • Arkady Shapoval

      not for any, only up to 1/500, nobody canceled the second curtain

  • JulianTew

    Thanks for attention. Thanks to all. Special thanks to Moderator user

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    In Nikon D50 in manual mode (M), (the flash is also in manual mode), synchronization works normally at all speeds from 1 to 4000.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      forgot to indicate that your flash is not original

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