Photography cheat sheet: flashgun synchronization modes explained

Photography cheat sheet: flash synchronization modes
(Image credit: Future)

There is a time and a place for flash. It will often kill the atmosphere at a party, so is best avoided. But conversely can be the essential ingredient for a successful shot – in daylight or in the dark. The secret to success is to use the built-in flash on digital cameras with caution. The key to getting good results is often a matter of exposure – ensuring you use settings that make the flash look as natural as possible.

Using flash adds an extra complication to the usual problems of exposure. You not only have to judiciously choose the shutter speed and the aperture and set the ISO to suit the occasion, the flash power must also be fed simultaneously into the exposure equation.

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Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 

His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 15 Pro Max.

He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.