Learning About Camera Flashes and Lighting

Proper lighting is a staple of good photography and videography. Whether you're a beginner, enthusiast, or pro, flashes and on-camera lights should be integral tools in your work. Flashes have the ability to illuminate objects, create special effects, and set a certain mood. On-camera lights ensure continuous illumination while shooting.


What's an On-Camera Flash?

A flash is a piece of equipment that produces a beam of light for a very short period of time when you release the camera shutter. You can use it to lighten shadows and to brighten your subject without having to decrease the shutter speed or increase the ISO settings. External camera flash accessories outperform internal camera flashes because they're more powerful and thus can be used at greater distances. They can also be pointed in many directions, and can even be used to create unique effects. Additionally, external flashes have an internal flash battery instead of running off your camera's battery, allowing you to take more photos.


Types of Camera Flashes

There are various types of camera flashes available. Regular on-camera flashes often have a rectangular-shaped light that can be directed straight or moved vertically and horizontally. You can use on-flash light modifiers, such as soft boxes and dome diffusers, to diffuse and scatter the light. Macro and ring lights fit around the camera lens to illuminate objects at short distance. Ring lights are popular in portrait photography, macro photography, and vlogging, because they deliver even, diffused light that eliminates hard shadows. They also create a distinct circular reflection in the pupil of your subject's eyes. Battery-powered heads are a type of flash that can be used on and off the camera. They have an incredibly quick recycling time, and you can combine them with a great range of light shaping tools.


What's an On-Camera Light?

On-camera lights are essential in every videographer's equipment kit. Many on-camera lights are lightweight and often include numerous LED lights arranged in a flat rectangle, circle, or in various other shapes. In addition to providing a continuous supply of light, you can adjust the temperature of a camera's LED light to get just the right lighting for your scene. As far as powering the device, you have several options, including different types of batteries, and outlet power.


B&H Photo and Video offers a variety of camera lighting equipment to set the scene. For accessories, check out the electronic flash accessories section.