Flash exposure lock

Sometimes you may want to lock in on a particular exposure or a specific flash setting and then change your position for the shot and still shoot with that setting. To lock in on a specific exposure, you’ll want to use your dSLR’s Exposure
Lock. You can also lock in on a specific flash setting, but not the exposure. To do so, you use the Flash Exposure Lock button on your camera, designated by the acronym FEL (Flash Exposure Lock) beside the button (see 8-13), and the camera and flash will remember the setting you had before you recomposed the shot. This is also useful in mixed-light conditions where the main area of your exposure, if used with the default flash exposure as metered by the camera and flash, would render a photo that’s incorrectly exposed. You may want to alter the flash exposure for artistic purposes, or the default exposure may simply be incorrect if a part of the subject is too light or dark where the metering is taking place.

The FEL button on a Canon 1D

Let’s say you want your flash to fire at a subject that is backlit from a window. When you take a normal photo with your flash on, there’s so much light coming from the window that the flash evaluates incorrectly to effectively illuminate your subject. To operate the Flash Exposure Lock feature, you would point your camera at a darker area — similar to the lighting on the subject — and press the Flash Exposure Lock button. It fires the flash, but the camera does not take a photo. You then have about a quarter of a minute to recompose your shot with your subject and take the shot normally — and your flash will illuminate as if it were facing the previous, darker area.

It’s important to note that because your camera and flash use ETTL II to evaluate and meter a flash exposure, you must be in ETTL (not manual) mode on your flash in order to be able to use the FE Lock capability.

Category: Flashes

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