Second Act Flash Basic Tutorial

At The Phoblographer, we’re strong advocates of learning how to use flash photography and lighting. Even if you like to shoot in natural light, mastering various types of lighting is essential to developing into a well-rounded photographer. Anyone who is acquainted with flash photography is aware of how useful it can be as a tool. Flash may be a useful tool for freezing moving objects in addition to lighting our subjects. Though the subject looks to be absolutely blur-free, what about pictures that appear to be long exposures? Surely they are composites. I guess not always. Even while you can definitely get this look in post-production, you can really duplicate the effects in-camera. Why stay at your computer for so long when you can nearly get the same results in-camera? Second Curtain Flash steps in at this point.

Second Curtain Flash is a useful creative tool for photographers when utilized appropriately. The resultant visuals display a distinct look that many people find appealing. “If Second Curtain Flash exists, then First Curtain Flash must as well,” someone once said. You would be right if such a notion crossed your mind. You can consistently create this effect in-camera if you know how first curtain flash and second curtain flash vary from one another. Let’s get started.

The majority of photographers who have used flash before are undoubtedly already acquainted with First Curtain Flash. We have the capacity to stop motion and outshine ambient light thanks to First Curtain Sync, Front Curtain Flash, or Front Curtain Sync. This is accomplished by adjusting the flash duration; while establishing your exposure, it essentially serves as additional shutter speed. If you want to learn more about flash duration, you can read our more in-depth article on the subject.

You probably clicked on this page because of a phenomenon called rear curtain sync, sometimes called rear curtain flash or rear curtain synchronization. This is what enables photographers to produce photos that blend aspects that are often connected to longer exposures (such as light trails and motion blur) with objects that seem clear and fixed in time. When used appropriately, Second Curtain Flash may produce some really eye-catching pictures.

So, how can you utilize Second Curtain Flash to give your photos that additional bit of artistic flair? Set your camera’s shutter speed and ISO to a low level to start. Ensure that Second Curtain Flash mode is selected on your camera and flash. (Keep in mind that certain manufacturers may sometimes refer to it as Rear Curtain Flash, Rear Curtain Sync, or Second Curtain Sync.) The impact will be more noticeable in your final photograph the less ambient light there is in a setting. You’re now ready to use Second Curtain Flash while shooting after getting these settings just right. Don’t be scared to play about with your settings and explore until you have a final picture you like.