Photography is originated from Greek language, “photos” which literally means light and “graphein” which means drawing. In other words, it means drawing with light. Lighting is the most important part of photography and there will be times when you will need additional light sources. For example, pop-up flash (or flash featured in every camera), it can only provide a very limited lighting. It does not give you more room for creativity. Then it will be the exact time where you will need external flash.
There are six reasons why you need to take the advantages of having additional flash with you to develop your ability in photography:
1. Flash lamp is able to face more directions
One of the issues of having the built-in flash only is the fact that it can only emit the light from the front part only. Another weakness of it is that this flash light can only shine on one part of the photo only (to the middle) which can make the object look too bright while the surrounding is too dark. Apart from that, this built-in flash has relatively low power.
With additional flash where the lamp can be rotated and tilted, you can get rid or fix the minuses of built-in flash. Because the flash lamp’s position can be adjusted (up, down, right, left, and etc.), you can reflect the light and spread it so it will not get too severe when it reaches the object. You can use any kind of surface surrounding you to reflect it like wall, ceiling, a reflector, and etc.
If it is for a certain reason, you got nothing to use as a surface to reflect the light (for example, the wall is too far or the ceiling is too high) you can fix this problem by setting the angle of the flash lamp in variety of tilt (45, 60, 75 degrees) so most of the light from the lamp will not fall onto the object. This will also help the object from fierce dazzle.
2. The power can be controlled
The power of pop up flash is fully in the control of the camera. The amount of light needed to light the object automatically is counted by the camera based on the information obtained. Your duty is to set the frame and press the shutter button. The only way you can get into the setting is for the exposure compensation and that only when there is actually one in your camera.
External flash can be used for automatic mode like built-in flash but it has manual mode as well. When you use manual mode, you will have the control of the flash power. You will be the one to decide and the flash will follow your order. If you feel that the light is inadequate, you can increase the power or reduce it if it gets too light.
3. It’s manageable
Most of flash units now can be triggered without attaching it on the hot shoe of the camera using wireless trigger. This flexibility will improve your creativity in the field of photography. Some camera body has already featured this built-in transmitter so you can control the external flash from far distance without any use of additional tool.
So, you can put your additional flash anywhere, behind the object, under it, beside it and etc. you can combine any kind of direction from where the light come as well as setting the power of it. It will absolutely enhance your creativity in shooting.
4. It is available in variety of sizes
When you use additional tools in photography, you need to consider its weight and its size. With the use of external flash, you will get more options that suit your need. There are so many sizes and weights available and depend on the feature they have. It is up to you to choose which one that matches you.
You may also try to consider third party products that offer ones in lower prices but have formidable features and qualities. Finding a compatible flash with your camera will be easy because most of third party products have made compatible flashes for almost all camera brands.
5. It can be added with other accessories
Last but not least, you can use many other accessories together with the flash unit. Mostly the function is to smoothen and to spread the light that arrives to the object. There are so many lighting accessories out there but the most popular one is diffuser. It is a small tool made of plastic that can be attached on the flash lamp and will spread the light so that the lighting can be more even and not focus on one point only.
6. Very portable
Compared to studio lamp, external flash can be far more portable. If the studio lamp needs huge amount of electricity around 220V or 110V, most external flash only need four pieces of 1.5V batteries. It will be more efficient since it can be carried anywhere. Indeed, power lamp of external flash is not as big as one in studio lamp. However, now there are external flashes that have big power like Canon Speedlite 600-EX or Nikon SB-910 which can be used to replace studio lamp.