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TTL vs Manual

Lesson 37 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

TTL vs Manual

Lesson 37 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

37. TTL vs Manual

Next Lesson: High Speed Sync


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


Principles of Light


Speedlights vs Strobes


Compressing the Scene


Location Lenses and Lenshoods


Metering Modes and Back Button Focus


Natural Light Reflectors


Lesson Info

TTL vs Manual

I'm gonna have both you and sydney out here and I'll have you uh grab a speed light so let's say that you have a studio strobe that you could take out on location and a speed let you khun definitely mixed them you could definitely have the to function together so I'm just gonna demo that really quick um then what we're going to do is you wanna watch a quick video that shows manual versus detail in action and then we jump into high speed sync so that's kind of the trajectory of things but I did want to address this because I got lots of questions all right so let's say that I have sir stephen here he is posing for me and I probably want my studio strobe is my main light okay um so I will make sure it's on so the first thing I wanna do is figure out what I want my ambien exposure to be so I have my camera on manual I'm going to go through and try to figure out what the setting should be so I'm going to do s o four hundred once they see it's of a second f ate so while she does that I'm go...

nna pretend there's no ambient light and then go in my head what would I have to do to make it work so for time's sake so let's just do this first alright so steven do you have the um the flash meter so what I'm going to dio is once I figure out what I wanted my ambient light to be I know that right now I decided the ambient light looks good at f eight for example so I know that I need this to match f ate in order to be correctly exposed if you're not comfortable or don't own a light meter you can just kind of take pictures and look and see if it's right course that's not the accurate way it's not going to give you the best results but it is totally doable it just won't be perfectly accurate so I was going to hit test here eleven okay I turn this down a little and I had to make sure what's on the back what's on his meter is the same as mine it should be I s o four hundred and since it's flash the shutter speed doesn't matter and it's going to give me the aperture that's acis nine little lower at eight and anything effie what oh fake perfect if it's an f a a and then a number after it I'd have to decide if it's s eight nine then it's actually closer to eleven so I just need to keep going that's what those little stops means okay so I'm good with that so far um may I use you for a second did you or did you get into work right okay um can we give me that speed light real quick perfect so here's the thing what I have up what I have set up right now I'm going to show you what works and what doesn't cause you'll definitely see a problem how I have it set up right now is I don't have a trigger for this at the moment I actually have a trigger for the speed like so what I'm going to do is I'm gonna have that speed light fire and trigger this so what you need to do is you need to change the settings on it and it actually already changed you need sure to make you need to make sure that this is fired optically meaning when it sees another flash it should fire so I already have that set up okay so that should be good you could shoot manual you can switch with her now if you want you can shoot manual or tt l with that back like but I know since that is my my light that this is looking for right what might through the lens meet a ring for my flash is looking for that one well it's going to be back hair light so chances are if he doesn't see very much and I say zero flash compensation it's probably going over exposed does that does that make sense like it's the backlight so it might not quite know where to put it so I'm just going to show you what that looks like and see if that is the case so let me just turn that that flash I have it set to channel one group a all right and I'm going to switch over to t t l it wasn't manual and we're just going to do zero flash compensation okay and at a fate so this should be correctly exposed and since I'm using tl it should give me a hair light that's correctly exposed as well all right so put right back in his hair looked right at me okay so what I thought was correct if you look for the tether hey has a really bright hair hair light room life because it's saying zero compensation I want correct exposure it's a back room late it doesn't see much it doesn't quite know what to give me so I could say no I'm gonna outsmart it this is how I want to do it I'm just going to adjust my flash compensation on that first flash I'm going to adjust it and that's really bright I'm going to do minus two stops it's like two stops overexposed so that exact same thing again oh he's really moment modeling from his sister to get and do one more look me straight on because it's it's for the angles to match all right so now that I didn't mind us two now it's much closer to correct exposure so you could do it that way okay if you want accuracy this is a portrait he's not moving around and I can take my time so we're gonna do is we're gonna grab that same uh slash meter again and now I'm going to switch over to manual and so that is now going to be manual not tt l anywhere that back flash so I'm going to switch to manual and I am going to start at love well d'oh d'oh one one two one thirty seconds he's picking at random I can hit test and hold that again and so he's holding where the light is don't out pointed towards that flash and what does it say okay so f seven so f seven is a little dimmer than f eight so I could move her forward or I'm at one over thirty two so I need a little more light so I could try and see if I went to sixteen one sixteenth power was tested and see what that is all right so what we said what no I think you change your angle a little bit point back towards the light again says it more time okay so is still getting break but so he said it's f ten the light on him is f ate but maybe I'm okay with that back like being a little bit brighter like it's not correct to make sure both of them read f ate if that back one is meant to be brighter than the front light like it it doesn't have to match so let's just test it good perfectly created me oh and it's still too bright so what I'm going to do is I can go back to manual and instead of one sixteenth I'm going to go one and I think he was what I think we did that you'd have an assistant giving a meter reading of it because I think he's moving so I think that's why it was a little bit off so let me just go back and should be one thirty two you're pointing it the right way good all right let's test this way now was it read all right so now it's eight let's try it again perfect so now you can get you know similar results I can keep decreasing the power so the upside of doing on manual is they know exactly what I'm getting I can make sure it gets consistent readings he's not moving no problem I have a little bit more control with my t t l I had actually outsmart and say wow you're two steps off linus to like whatever your thinking's right give me minus two still gives me the same result the only benefit of tt l maybes if we're moving around maybe it would give me better results but it's still the backlight so it doesn't quite know what to give me so that's why I think manual is going to be the better way to go like you're deciding what the ratios are so to summarize that what we what we had is I picked what I wanted my ambien exposure to be f ate I meet her to make sure that this light was f eight so it would match and be correctly exposed then I added that light and I made sure that was close to f ate by me during it and so then I can decide if I want to change the ratios between them I started with tt l and had to do minus two to get it close to the correct exposure because it's leading from the back so the cameras kind of confused what it's actually supposed to be for strength so manual is probably better because I'll get more consistent results and I'm telling exactly what the output should be so we take a step aside I'm going to try to include the ambient light now so let's take a look can I see it at all you could just hold it up point at him great okay so we're looking and I included can you move that light out of the picture is a little bit so I see a little bit of that ambient light but not much so as I said before the tools that I have available to me is to change the ambient light I change the shutter speed so I can go ahead and use a longer shutter speed to let more light in so I feel comfortable with this lens hand holding to a sixteenth of a second so I'm gonna take a look there and I'm letting more laden and so it's gonna be a little bit brighter in the background now looking at him just to address something we're going to talk about soon he's the background is very warm color kits tungsten and he's a little bit cooler I can gel this to match but we're still still kind of getting there let me just say this one more step further and then we'll move on all right so I'm not one sixtieth of a second all right so that's that's good but I want more late in the background and I don't think I can handle that any longer than that so what are my options to get more light in the background I could go ahead and open up my africa or a little bit when I do so though these two lights are going to get brighter so I have to compensate by turning down the power or perhaps moving them back moving it back lo changes the quality of light just a little bit so I'm going to open up a bit to five o and so what you'll see is that background I can get it much brighter but of course now he's over exposed so I can chase that and say ok let me just turn this down tonight can I get a meter reading from you so let's see I opened up to five o I need it to read five o for him not to be overexposed was did it moving anything make sure everything's okay there oh you're over to your okay go one more time go a little bit lower trying to get close to five as possible that's pretty close all right someone give a quick test on that I think there's something you're holding a little funny but I think that's pretty close all right so what I'm going to do now we just check that it looks a little dim I think something moved joyce again okay all right so what pointing straight towards that light is that line up with your face all right let's give it a test that should be fine there okay let me see you let me see if I think that back lights too bright backlight still too bright so I come over here to my settings I go into manual and I turn it down maybe one one twenty eighth and can you see if you can point it give me a meter reading pointed towards that flash that's perfect you can look towards it would say all right eight one still might be a little bright but shouldn't be too bad I can at that point I'm at my lowest power so I'd have to back her up if I want to decrease it or maybe put a filter on that should be fine let's try right there all right looks pretty good I'm gonna open up a tiny bit more let's make that background even brighter so like that's more or less the conversation I'm having is like ok I opened up my aperture so these you're gonna get brighter so I'm gonna have to turn them down a little bit I could do the same thing with my eye s so let's say that this is a group shot I already opened up to for oh I'm not going to go any more close down than that so the next thing that I have to do is bump up my I s o make everything more sensitive to light in the scene and then I'll have to turn these lights down again so that's kind of the process of it all if I switched these two and had that as the main light it's the same idea I could so I could have that mainly b t t l and I'll just go really quick bring it over here and okay this is not the modifier and have but perhaps I want this to be his hair late okay this wouldn't actually be what I would dio but okay I would do the same thing when I meet her on his hair make sure that it's the correct exposure and for this now I can put it on ttcl and it should work better because it's a light in the front now so that should be a little easier I'm gonna switch it and we switch it over to teo and let's just all I'm going to do is pay attention to this light for a second and let's get him test all right seven two so I'm gonna go to brighten it up a little bit because I want to shoot at four point oh so let me actually closed it down a little bit it's let me just adjust my exposure compensation I'm just going to get a test go ahead oh I got to keep going down a little bit okay all right that's good was going to six eight gonna match my aperture let's give it a quick test here so the way on his face is good because I matched the apertures I did six three for the ambient because that's the reading I got in his face and then that's what this power output was so I kind of matched it alright that looks good and then this power I would have to adjust I can do it by sight it's looks okay to me or it could go ahead and meter it and match it to six three if I wanted to be the same power but it doesn't need to be the same power so you could do it either way you could have the main light be the speed light or you can have the main light be the strobe and you can trigger them because they both are set to trigger this is set to trigger when it sees this fire so either way it'll work questions or shall I proceed kind of general question from super dua says this is taking awhile obviously you're teaching how much time do you spend during a shoot getting your lights ready I'm always worried about not taking up too much my subjects time um so first of all I do this much much much faster when I'm actually shooting unlike talking through it now I mean I know it inside and out so I also know my life so actually don't need to meter is much like I know where to set it and roughly where to turn it because I've shot with these so much so the more you shoot them or you'd be familiar with ok I should put that at that distance probably at one one twenty eighth like get more familiar with it before I do a shoot where no I have a client there if I prep I spent fifteen minutes if I have a subject there this is mikey if I'm trying to figure out the light my trick is I always ask the subject to tell me what they love most in life you know what you're passionate about what are your hobbies and so all the salem hey I'm just testing my light out you said that you like to surf where did you first learn that and then I'm testing the whole time where they're talking they barely notice because people like to talk about what they're passionate about that's my little trick is get them talking and then you have a lot more flexibility with how much time it takes you to get set up I love that that's great yeah you go perfect okay so I'm actually going teo flip over there and we're going to start with a video but I did want to say it probably to get the lighting set up like this it would take me a minute maybe like but it's practice like it's not like I'm super smart I've just done it a million times okay cool go ahead and just well why don't you introduce the video here and then we're going to look while you're watching it perfect all right so this is just a video summarizing what we talked about already for the difference between manual on tt l just a visual reference of that and that we're going to jump into some more fun things like high speed sync right after so when is tt l better than manual or vice versa right let's imagine that you're an event photographer and you're photographing subjects that air moving a lot and they're there they're dancing let's say like a a wedding for example all right so you're photographing a couple or you're photographing this beautiful model and she's the bride at the wedding and you photograph one shot where she's two feet away and then you back up for a little bit wider shot and she moves away and you take another photograph okay well if you are shooting in manual every second every step that you take away every increase distance you have to go back in and manually change your exposure on your flash have to change your flash output based on that distance you're going to miss a lot of shots we're gonna waste a lot of time what tt l does is when that distance increases and when you move away it sends out that pre flash it helps determine what the flash output should be it bounces back and it's able to give you a cracked er kind of correct flash output so it's going to save you a ton of time the problem is tcl is not always the best in fact it's not always accurate details torn off by a lot of different things for example if you're shooting in a big way really really dark area where the pre flash goes out and it reads okay uh endlessly it's black it's going to try to send out a lot more light and it might overexpose so it's best is if your subject is going to be constant and you're in control of the the uh the scene and you were in control of maybe it's a portrait then you're going to want to set uh settings to manual your flash output to manual because you have more control another time when you're going to want to control this is let's say that there is really tricky things in the scenes like metallic surfaces what happens with pre flashes sometimes it reads off those metallic surfaces that might be closer than your model it says oh that's way too right and so it closes down it puts out less light and then your picture will be over exposed so there's a lot of ways that geologist gets tricks and it's kind of like the same thing as if you used to uh photographing an aperture priority it works a lot of the time but there are some times when you just got to be smarter than it you've gotta override it so keep that in mind if you're photographing a lot of events a lot of moving subjects coming in and out where there's a lot of activity you should really learn to control and understand your tl and understand where its weaknesses are in some instances when it might be better to go to manual if you're shooting a lot of controlled events a lot of portrait that manual is probably going to be the best for you all right so this is what this actually means all right so can I have you stepped back all the way to the pole back there perfect all right so stay right there okay and take a few steps forward right there perfect and if you said ford great and a couple more steps forward so if you look at these images what's actually happening throughout is the flash is trying to guess what the correct output in the correct exposure should be so it goes ahead it sends out that pre flash it reads uh get estimates an exposure off that subject and then the flash fires to give you the correct slash output okay so if you look if I slip through these images the exposure on the subject is about the same whether she's twenty feet away fifteen feet away ten feet away or just a couple of feet away from me that's not what happens with manual in manual whatever you set the power out put off that flash will stay the same so I'm going to switch over to manual all right so I'm going to switch my settings here to manual flash okay and I'm going to set my power to one eighth power okay I'm just picking that arbitrarily so it's gonna be a constant output no matter what let me take a quick picture of her here all right now can you walk back to that pool again all right and what right there walk towards with take a couple steps perfect and a couple more stops great and one more time so what you're going to see is that the exposure on the subject drastically changes depending on her distance from the camera and in fact it's actually the distance from the flash because here's why when you've set your exposure for your flash on manual it's putting out one amount of light it's not talking to the terrorists are talking to the flash it's just putting out one amount of light so what that means is the inverse square law is going to pay a really big effect on the appearance of your photograph because when she's far away the light is going to appear much much dimmer as she gets closer it's going to appear brighter and brighter as she gets closer to that light source all right so that was just kind of showing you in action just you could see really what's happening of and I'm always considering that I know from shooting emmanuel there's any movement I'm going to have to make a change so I'm going to kind of power through now I'm just going to talk about couple other points on the whole exposure differences but then we're going to open a high speed sync so let me just mention something we talked about that um africa priority versus manual all right so here's your shooting with your speed light and you've got aperture priority are sure you've got a t t l or manual are your two options for setting your speed like but that's independent and not necessarily related to what how your camera is meeting your camera settings could be africa priority or manual so it is conceivable it is actually possible for you to be it of an event where you're shooting africa priority and t t l like you could do that where you set the exposure compensation if the light's too dark in the room use aperture priority to brighten it up and if this delight is to write huge flash compensation to darken it down you could do that but two notes if you're a nikon you can't because in africa priority with a nikon when you adjust your exposure compensation it affect slash output as well if you're shooting in detail so just know that I wanted to make that note in case you thought you could do that it won't if you're messing around with exposure compensation it also affects your flash but that's an icon only cannon it will work so hopefully that helps out a couple of people who might run into a problem um what it comes down to is you can shoot all these different combinations you could shoot average priority and tt lf you're a cannon you have less control because we're leaving her exposure up to the camera a bit and you are leaving your flash exposure up to the flash and camera as well you could shoot your camera on manual and flash detail you could I mean there's other combinations as well but the most control is manual in manual it just takes more time so it depends on what is best the type of work that you do

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Keynote 3
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This class was amazing. Lindsay Adler is a great presenter...I learned so much.....I love that she spoke about natural light..strobes and speedlites. Wonderful information. I purchased this and I am glad I did. Great job Lindsay. Jean


Lindsey Adler is one of the best and most engaging photography instructors in the USA. I highly recommend this lighting course. It felt more like a 101 and a 102 course than just a basic course. She teaches in a way that makes learning alot of fun and the amount of time & effort that she puts into her video and class presentations are second to none. Her classes are well worth their weight in gold and you will walk away with a wealth of knowledge!


Lindsay is amazing , I love the way she explains everything!! This course is filled with GREAT information and helps you better understand natural lighting,strobe and flash. Thank You Lindsay, please keep your classes coming!

Student Work