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Slow Sync Flash

Explore the Creative Possibilities with Slow Sync Flash

One camera function that can be a lot of fun to play with (and that can get you some interesting results) is slow sync flash.

Low Light Photography Options

When shooting with a subject in low light situations you generally have two options; either to shoot with a flash or to shoot with a slow shutter speed.

1. Flash – When shooting in low light with a flash in auto mode your camera will choose a relatively fast shutter speed. This means that your subject will be well lit and that if it is moving it will be frozen and as a result will be sharp. The problem with this is that it can also leave your subject lit up too brightly and can leave it’s background looking very dark as there is not enough time for the camera to collect any ambient light.

2. Slow Shutter Speed – The other option is to turn your flash off and shoot with a longer shutter speed in order to collect enough available light from the image to get a well exposed shot. This can be an effective technique if you’re shooting landscape or environmental shots where everything is nice and still – however if you’re shooting a moving subject it means you’ll get motion blur which could ruin your shot.

Both of the above options are legitimate technique but both have their weaknesses. Another options to consider is slow sync flash.

What is Slow Sync Flash?

Slow-Sync-Flash

Slow Sync Flash is a function found on many cameras that tells your camera to shoot with both a longer shutter speed as well as firing the flash. This means you get the best of both worlds above and can both get a relatively sharp shot of your main subject as well as get some ambient light from the background and foreground.

Some cameras allow you to access slow sync flash manually and set exposure length and flash strength but on many compact cameras there is a little less control given and it’s presented as an automatic shooting mode, often called ‘night mode’ or even ‘party mode’ where the camera selects the slower shutter speed and flash strength for you.

Rear and Front Curtain Sync

If your camera gives you some manual control when it comes to slow sync flash you might find yourself presented with two options called ‘rear curtain sync’ and ‘front curtain sync’.

These two modes sound a little technical but to put it most simply they are the way in which you choose when to fire your flash during the longer exposure.

Slow-Sync-Flash-2

Rear Curtain Sync – this tells your camera to fire the flash at the end of the exposure. ie when you press the shutter your lens opens up and starts collecting light and just before it closes the flash will fire to light up and freeze your main subject (see the card shot to the left for an example where you’ll see the card trail ending in a nice crisp shot of the card).

Front Curtain Sync – this tells your camera to fire the flash at the start of the exposure. ie when you press the shutter, the flash will fire immediately and the shutter will remain open afterwards capturing ambient light.

You might not think there’s much difference between these modes but when you’re photographing a moving subject it can have a real impact. You’ll find many action/sports photographers will use Rear Curtain Sync when shooting with a panning technique.

Tripod or Handheld?

Slow-Sync-Flash-1

When using either slow synch in either mode (or in the automatic ‘night mode’ you will want to consider whether or not to use a tripod. Traditionally when shooting with longer shutter speeds it is accepted that a tripod is essential in order to stop any camera movement. Even the steadiest of hands will not be able to stop a camera moving over even a 1 or 2 second exposure. So if you want to eliminate blur from your cameras movement definitely use a tripod (and consider a shutter release cable).

However in some circumstances hand holding your camera while using slow sync flash can lead to some wonderful effects. For example if you’re at a wedding or party and are out on the dance floor the results can be great at capturing the mood of a night with those you’re photographing largely frozen by the flash but the lights on the dance floor blurred from you moving your camera during the shot.

Of course hand held techniques won’t work with every situation so experiment with both methods at different shutter speeds and by using both rear and front curtain sync and find the best methods for your particular situation.

Post your Slow Sync Flash Shots over at our forum assignment on the topic.. Also check out these 13 great Slow Sync Flash images.

This post was previously posted in January 2007 but today has been reposted with updates.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • http://nil R.Vijayendra Rao

    Very interesting! The illustration has given me a very good insight on Rear & Front curtain sync. Thanks a lot.

  • http://whoputmeinchargeofthesepeople.blogspot.com Texan Mama

    I’d like to ask a question about composing my shot.

    Before I ask, let me say that I’m pretty much a novice but trying my best to learn.

    What is the best way to shoot a photo with good results when using slow sync flash? What I mean is, should the subject be in high contrast to the background? Does it matter? If there is any light in the room, should it be behind the subject or to the side? How fast or slow should the subject be moving to get the best result? Any answers would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • http://www.shubhrachaturvedi.com Shubhra Chaturvedi

    I have a Nikkon D-40 and it doesn’t have front curtain sync and rare curtain sync options, but it does have manual flash mode where it says full power or 1/2 till 1/32. Now whatever that means how can I use slow sync techniques on my camera…

  • Paco M

    Thx for telling this information so easy !!!

  • http://www.larissaphotography.com St Louis Wedding Photographer

    I hadn’t heard the term slow sync flash before, but we do this every time we go to a wedding reception. We shoot in fully manual mode, so we control our shutter speed with each shot. Basically, what you’re really getting with this technique is 2 different exposures. One exposure is what you have your camera set at – ie a 30th of a second. The second exposure is the exposure of the flash itself, which is super fast.

  • Kathleen

    Ahhhhhhh …you should teach people how to shoot in Manual mode, or with an SLR ( film, not digital ) if you want everyone to truely understand what your saying instead of asking you what the setting is on thier camera. the best way to use flash is to actually use it like a real photographer, not letting your camera make desions for you. This is coming from a student phtographer perpective ( graduate in spring ). You will learn way more using manual settings and calculating your GN on your hotshoe unit. Then, oh my god, you people will not have problems with your subjects being unexposed and ghost like, because you will have learned how to calculate flash output, your shutter speed and your distance, and this would not happen. If you want to learn more about flash, ditch your expensive DSLR’s and get a much cheaper film camera and enjoy the sweet smell of developer :)

  • http://www.glamourphotography.co Yucel

    Your sample shots are very cool by the way.

  • http://www.dailyphotographytips.net DailyPhotographyTips

    Nice post. Everybody explain on their own way and your idea is clear. How come everytime you come up with idea but write in simple words and Flickr example most of the time. :)

  • theresa

    Can anyone help me find these modes on the Canon Rebel EOS?

  • rash

    nice !
    thanks for sharing :)

  • http://-- Antonello

    Hi, some week ago I tried with my nikon d90 and his integrated flash to reproduce Johnny Blood’s shot. It didn’t work. I just saw transparent hand in my picture. Is there an easy test that I can do to try slow sync without an external flash ? Could my problem be preflash ? I don’t think so. Thanks :)

  • Jazzfreakjerry

    Does the Nikon D90 have the rear and front curtain sinc? Thanks

  • http://www.renewableenergyinformation.org Mike @ Renewable Energy Information

    I love the picture of the hand holding the card. I’m going to have to try this technique with a spinning windmill to see what happens…

  • P.C.Chowdhury

    Are there any compact cameras offering the rear-curtain feature? Some websites say Canon S95 has it but it is rather expensive. eopinions.com say the recent PowerShot SX230 HS has it. An authoritative list would be a great help.

  • http://jmsewingstudio.com Jeanne Marie

    Darren, I was surprised to see your name on this post when I found it. Why is it whenever I Google for a little help for my blog, I end up finding YOU?! Anyway, I’ve had a terrible time with the photos for my blog, and had already played with the auto settings and made some — but not complete — progress eliminating the funky shadows. Reading this post encouraged me to try again, and I accidentally found the source of the annoying shadows in my photos. I had some wall hung task lighting on, trying to increase the light in the room. Those lights were just throwing awkward shadows. Turning them off, then using just the central ceiling fixture plus some of the different auto settings (“portraits,” “kids and pets,” and “indoor” worked particularly well) solved the shadow problem. I thought I might have to buy some expensive light diffuser. You’ve saved me money and aggravation. Can’t thank you enough for all the help you’ve provided for my blog.

  • http://twitter.com/miniporkchop learn violin

    I?m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back in the future. Cheers

  • shivam purohit

    hi i m always shoot wedding photograps but i have little confusion! when i shoot moving subjects then some time picture getting blured plz guide me how to shoot moving subject sharp!

  • KT Pierce

    I’m so irritated right now because I can’t find a single web site that will give the technical specifics on how to accomplish any of these. These are just simple explanations. I know there is so much more to it than this.. I’m just frustrated. Forgive my venting…

  • Frank

    A very nice moment to use this technique is focussing on a dj’s decks and at the end of the exposure aiming at the dj himself, you can then see the record spinning around the dj!

  • uvi

    Hi Darren….thanks for article , I m bigner in photography. ur article help me lot..
    Please tell this technique available I my Nikon d 5100 …and thank u for helping

  • sampath rumi

    Will this technique works on canon 60d….. ?

  • Bulgas

    Excellent, succinct explanation. Thank you for sharing. I’m a busy guy and trying to learn at the same time. I’ll be coming back soon to check out more articles.

  • Dhy Strike

    I just have a question, how do I set my camera for slow/rear sync?

  • Vinod

    Thanks for the article, your writing is simple & gives all the details, pls let me know which flash (cheap & best) works well with 5D (classic) esp for this rear curtain sync

  • http://mayuonline.com/ J Mayu

    I’m not sure how it works in other models and brands, but for Nikon D3200, just hold the flash button (yep that button with flash icon in the front) and scroll the wheel on the body, it should change across available flash modes. Also make sure to check across Manual, P, AP modes. Certain flash types are available in certain modes only.

  • Sawyer Donk

    Just to answer the questions “will this work on my camera” I have a Nikon D40, a seven year old camera, and I’m able to do this. Not to say more recent cameras may not have the same options available, but I’m willing to bet most DSLR’s do.

Some older comments

  • sampath rumi

    September 29, 2013 02:28 am

    Will this technique works on canon 60d..... ?

  • uvi

    October 19, 2012 04:21 pm

    Hi Darren....thanks for article , I m bigner in photography. ur article help me lot..
    Please tell this technique available I my Nikon d 5100 ...and thank u for helping

  • Frank

    May 10, 2012 11:40 pm

    A very nice moment to use this technique is focussing on a dj's decks and at the end of the exposure aiming at the dj himself, you can then see the record spinning around the dj!

  • KT Pierce

    May 7, 2012 01:53 am

    I'm so irritated right now because I can't find a single web site that will give the technical specifics on how to accomplish any of these. These are just simple explanations. I know there is so much more to it than this.. I'm just frustrated. Forgive my venting...

  • shivam purohit

    January 25, 2012 06:16 pm

    hi i m always shoot wedding photograps but i have little confusion! when i shoot moving subjects then some time picture getting blured plz guide me how to shoot moving subject sharp!

  • learn violin

    January 21, 2012 12:22 pm

    I?m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back in the future. Cheers

  • Jeanne Marie

    September 16, 2011 03:14 pm

    Darren, I was surprised to see your name on this post when I found it. Why is it whenever I Google for a little help for my blog, I end up finding YOU?! Anyway, I've had a terrible time with the photos for my blog, and had already played with the auto settings and made some -- but not complete -- progress eliminating the funky shadows. Reading this post encouraged me to try again, and I accidentally found the source of the annoying shadows in my photos. I had some wall hung task lighting on, trying to increase the light in the room. Those lights were just throwing awkward shadows. Turning them off, then using just the central ceiling fixture plus some of the different auto settings ("portraits," "kids and pets," and "indoor" worked particularly well) solved the shadow problem. I thought I might have to buy some expensive light diffuser. You've saved me money and aggravation. Can't thank you enough for all the help you've provided for my blog.

  • P.C.Chowdhury

    September 13, 2011 10:08 pm

    Are there any compact cameras offering the rear-curtain feature? Some websites say Canon S95 has it but it is rather expensive. eopinions.com say the recent PowerShot SX230 HS has it. An authoritative list would be a great help.

  • Mike @ Renewable Energy Information

    August 29, 2011 01:42 pm

    I love the picture of the hand holding the card. I'm going to have to try this technique with a spinning windmill to see what happens...

  • Jazzfreakjerry

    July 28, 2011 07:50 pm

    Does the Nikon D90 have the rear and front curtain sinc? Thanks

  • Antonello

    June 28, 2011 10:32 pm

    Hi, some week ago I tried with my nikon d90 and his integrated flash to reproduce Johnny Blood's shot. It didn't work. I just saw transparent hand in my picture. Is there an easy test that I can do to try slow sync without an external flash ? Could my problem be preflash ? I don't think so. Thanks :)

  • rash

    May 15, 2011 06:06 am

    nice !
    thanks for sharing :)

  • theresa

    February 27, 2011 02:20 am

    Can anyone help me find these modes on the Canon Rebel EOS?

  • DailyPhotographyTips

    February 16, 2011 03:30 pm

    Nice post. Everybody explain on their own way and your idea is clear. How come everytime you come up with idea but write in simple words and Flickr example most of the time. :)

  • Yucel

    November 11, 2010 10:14 am

    Your sample shots are very cool by the way.

  • Kathleen

    November 4, 2010 12:37 pm

    Ahhhhhhh ...you should teach people how to shoot in Manual mode, or with an SLR ( film, not digital ) if you want everyone to truely understand what your saying instead of asking you what the setting is on thier camera. the best way to use flash is to actually use it like a real photographer, not letting your camera make desions for you. This is coming from a student phtographer perpective ( graduate in spring ). You will learn way more using manual settings and calculating your GN on your hotshoe unit. Then, oh my god, you people will not have problems with your subjects being unexposed and ghost like, because you will have learned how to calculate flash output, your shutter speed and your distance, and this would not happen. If you want to learn more about flash, ditch your expensive DSLR's and get a much cheaper film camera and enjoy the sweet smell of developer :)

  • St Louis Wedding Photographer

    October 28, 2010 07:04 am

    I hadn't heard the term slow sync flash before, but we do this every time we go to a wedding reception. We shoot in fully manual mode, so we control our shutter speed with each shot. Basically, what you're really getting with this technique is 2 different exposures. One exposure is what you have your camera set at - ie a 30th of a second. The second exposure is the exposure of the flash itself, which is super fast.

  • Paco M

    August 3, 2010 12:05 am

    Thx for telling this information so easy !!!

  • Shubhra Chaturvedi

    June 1, 2010 05:38 am

    I have a Nikkon D-40 and it doesn't have front curtain sync and rare curtain sync options, but it does have manual flash mode where it says full power or 1/2 till 1/32. Now whatever that means how can I use slow sync techniques on my camera...

  • Texan Mama

    May 27, 2010 02:04 pm

    I'd like to ask a question about composing my shot.

    Before I ask, let me say that I'm pretty much a novice but trying my best to learn.

    What is the best way to shoot a photo with good results when using slow sync flash? What I mean is, should the subject be in high contrast to the background? Does it matter? If there is any light in the room, should it be behind the subject or to the side? How fast or slow should the subject be moving to get the best result? Any answers would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • R.Vijayendra Rao

    March 29, 2010 03:59 pm

    Very interesting! The illustration has given me a very good insight on Rear & Front curtain sync. Thanks a lot.

  • Rama

    March 22, 2010 11:09 pm

    "SLOW SYNC MODE" doesn´t exist in Canon, so in that modes that the camera set automatically the shutter speed, you wont be able to play with it. This modes are Av & P.
    You have 2 options: use Tv or M mode to set manually a slower shutter speed.

  • David Hardwick Photography

    March 6, 2010 05:21 am

    Very interesting viewing. These pictures have turned out great. I must give this a try.

  • Sierra

    February 2, 2010 02:43 am

    Anyone know how to do a slow sync flash on a Kodak EasyShare CD82?

    Please help, thanks :-)

  • pedro pages

    January 12, 2010 08:18 am

    Any idea where to set slow sync flash on canon eos 50d or 580ex flash units.?
    I've been trying to get this to work for wedding reception candids in poorly lit venues indoors.
    Can't find it in this camera yet.
    Thanks

  • Darin House

    November 8, 2009 04:21 am

    Definatly my fave new way to do night shots

  • arenacreative.com

    September 21, 2009 11:51 pm

    Gotta love this technique - it's awesome for weddings, too.

  • hannsze

    September 21, 2009 02:35 am

    Hey!

    anybody can explain whats the difference between slow, rear, and slow rear flash please?

    Senario: You know how those fancy pictures are taken in night clubs where the photographer shoots at a group of ppl and then swirl the camera around so that the picture comes out with the people still looking sharp with a twirl of background colorful lights across the picture?

    thanks!

  • Andrey

    September 14, 2009 09:30 am

    In the wedding night party - "M" ,1/4 , f 8-f12, flash, max 1 metr from obiekt.

  • Kumaresan Vibhakar

    August 25, 2009 05:48 pm

    Every thig is fine but the present days cameras, that came after F80 / F100. Pricisely the Di cameras don't have the threading on the shutter release button to screw on the shutter release chord that absolutely essentialy for the shakesless & Slow Speed shutter release.

    The slow shutter speed & full opening night shots, that is held for the quite a long duration exposures cannot be achieved with 100% effect.

    Those who have nervous problems, heavy breathing with heavy body structure will have some difficulty in releasing the shutter even though the camera is mounted on a solid heavy Tri Pod. As per your comments what is the use of using the Tri Pod for the essential requirements with quality, less than the 100% with the above said draw backs. Thank U. Have a Nice day

    Kumaresan Vibhakar [Southern India]

  • Bob Kajang

    August 16, 2009 09:45 am

    I love slow flash its make my picture look so clear and didnt look so flashy and very minimize shadows...Another tips...you can use slow flash for people just set to high ISO setting ...this only recommended for low noise HI ISO camera like newest DSLR

  • vije

    July 10, 2009 01:35 pm

    Thank's for the info..more i know ..more i don't know......

  • ROBERT

    June 1, 2009 07:37 am

    To Darren

    Thanks for the good job of explaining slow and rear synch. Earlier today I became frustrated when reading someone else's article on these. So I went back to the computer and searched more. I came up with your article and decided to give it a go. With your article I grasped the message you were conveying to the reader the very first time through the article. So you have done a very good job simplifying and explaining this.

    I have the D300 and I familiarized myself with it over the last year now. It has not been easy. With such a complex camera I think the best strategy is to "find yourself" inside the camera and then stick with this set of personal "default" settings most of the time. But even then one needs to understand and practice certain highly valuable techniques that are not used all the time and will require changing settings, and then changing back to the personal defaults. Slow and rear sych are perfect examples. I need to become proficient with these. You have given me a basic beginning understanding. Now it is going to take practice. One beauty of digital is that unlike film, it costs nothing to practice. With this D300 once I find the correct exposure settings I can choose to let the camera take over automatically (and I do choose that), i.e. I have no intentions of going manual. Been there done that. Thanks again and happy shooting!

    Robert King

  • jabeer ahamed

    May 5, 2009 05:36 pm

    hey guys i hav seen ur all comments really good
    dis snaps s really super
    but i hav doubt
    i hav Nikon D40
    how can i use on D 40
    dar s no Rear and Front Curtain Sync.... pls clear my doubt
    and wat s long exposure

  • tom

    April 22, 2009 10:53 am

    Has anybody here ever tried just turning their camera and taking pictures without going into all sorts of
    complex settings that you'll forget as soon as you turn the camera off?????????????

  • assadmd

    April 19, 2009 02:31 am

    ive always wondered how they did this. now i can stop trying after readin it

  • Joan

    April 10, 2009 04:34 am

    That would be i've with a capital I.

  • Ron

    April 10, 2009 01:53 am

    I tried the slow sync flash and I'm getting a lot of interesting photos! Thanks for the article! :D

  • Rodrigo Neves

    March 31, 2009 11:51 am

    I cannot believe I am getting this kind of stupid reply from an adult - if you are one. Your mother should teach you some manners, boy. Maybe she did try, but you were just too much a moron to take advantage of that.

  • Evan

    March 31, 2009 09:56 am

    ...then why did you take so much "precious" time to comment back
    that's a hell of a dumbass investment

  • Rodrigo Neves

    March 27, 2009 11:17 am

    Evan, I must apologize for the silly "did" mistake, as I usually don't commit such language crimes. But I keep the "investment", since my time is very precious, and every minute I spend at the computer doing something that is not related to my work at all HAS to be an investment.

  • Edsar

    March 26, 2009 11:19 pm

    great information, want to try this tonight.. with my canon 400d.

    great tips to explore...

    regards to all

  • Evan

    March 26, 2009 05:31 am

    it's free, dude.

    not an investment...
    and it'd be investments i've made, not investments i did

  • Rodrigo Neves

    March 25, 2009 10:42 am

    Darren, finding this blog was one of the best investments I did for my photography. Thanks a lot for the tips.

  • MKM

    February 12, 2009 04:29 pm

    Does anyone know how to do this on a canon g10? I know this is an old post and I just got into photography so any help will be much appreciated! :)

  • Flores

    January 7, 2009 02:16 pm

    Thanks for the tips. I have this problem for so long, especially during Christmas when I wanted to take pictures of my friends in front of the Christmas light. Without flash, it would be a total darkness of the persons and using flash simply destroy all the beautiful background.

    In my case, since mine is canon S5 IS, it is called 1st and 2nd curtain sync.

  • sgacyr

    January 5, 2009 02:05 pm

    hi everyone...i just want to ask if anyone could help me how to set those technique above for my Sony alpha 300 i only found low and rear sync..but i don't have rear and front curtain...how can i apply those technique...email me at sgacyr@yahoo.com tnx...

  • Richard

    January 5, 2009 10:32 am

    This is a great technique that gets a lot of good feedback and this is a great tutorial on how to use it.. concise and informative, nice job.

  • Andy

    January 3, 2009 03:51 am

    Can I purchase a set of these rear flash curtains from my local Jessops or would it be possible to make a set using a sewing machine?????

  • Jacob

    December 23, 2008 10:07 am

    I made a tutorial for slow sync flash with some of my own tips and tricks.
    It can be found on my blog here. I hope you find it useful.

  • Emre

    December 16, 2008 07:53 am

    Hi Al,

    Thank you very much for the answer.Yet I don't get why it needs to figure out the light.Please correct me if I am wrong but if the camera is already adjusted to "freeze" only the last frame then that's not really needed to check the current light and fire the flash in the begining. Unfortunately my camera is not with me at the moment so I cannot check. Did you have any chance to experience it by yourself? I wonder if other models have the same features.

    Cheers,

    Emre

  • al

    December 15, 2008 07:54 pm

    Hi Emre,
    Someone told me that the flash at the start is just for it to figure out the light, and it is actually working as a rear-curtain thingummyjig.
    Al

  • Emre

    December 14, 2008 11:26 pm

    Hey,

    Does anyone happen to know the answer of Alastair's question? I also have set the rear-sync on my Canon 400D,and the flash fires at the beginning as well as the end. I dont get what's the point of having two flash fires???

    Thank you in advance,

    Emre

  • Carter

    December 13, 2008 08:03 am

    Hey guys,

    Ive been trying this in a variety of different lighting situations with a lot of different ISO's, shutter speeds, and apertures and can't get anything to turn out quite right. Any suggestions?

  • Alan T

    September 17, 2008 05:08 am

    @ Patrick:

    I agree with you mate - there are so many people asking the same question about how to do this on their particular model of camera. If you don't know, then read your manual or google it before you post on here - that's just being really lazy and it gets really boring when someone new (like me) goes to read all the comments.

    I have a 450D and now I'm off to read my manual to see how this works!

  • Al

    September 15, 2008 07:22 am

    Hi,
    I have set the rear-sync on my Canon 400D, but the flash fires at the beginning as well as the end…. Can anyone help? The manual says that this will happen, but this seems to suggest to me that the rear-sync function is useless on the 400D....?
    Thank you!
    Alastair

  • Al

    September 15, 2008 07:20 am

    Hi,
    I have set the rear-sync on my Canon 400D, but the flash fires at the beginning as well as the end.... Can anyone help?
    Thank you!
    Alastair

  • dear patrick

    July 10, 2008 06:09 pm

    no need to be cocky. a lot of people know most of the easy-to-find functions on their cameras. since you know, just help them out. no need to lash out.

  • Patrick

    July 10, 2008 07:55 am

    Holy cow, are there so many people who dropped massive amounts of money on cameras and have no idea how to use them? I'm waiting for someone to ask how they set rear curtain sync on a 1DsMk3 or D200...

  • sameer

    June 30, 2008 05:52 pm

    Hi i want the information about how to take pictures in low light areas in last month i purchased the Digital camera of Sony Cyber shot 730 having 7.2 mega pixcle camera but while shooting in low light areas picture are not very clear please Guide me how i can used my cam in low light areas to give me best picture

    Thanks
    Sameer Bhoite

  • Dorian Perrottet

    February 28, 2008 11:55 pm

    i started with a E-500, and upgrade to a D200 and im really happy with it. but when i had my E-500 i when to the Colorado spring air force base and did a few pics of the church and i would like you opinion on my work. where is the is the website http://picasaweb.google.com/xthefrenchmanx/ColoradoSpring/photo#5082757806182616306
    it goes for a few pics.
    Thanks
    Dorian

  • Matt

    February 20, 2008 10:50 am

    Amazing tutorial. One question though, how do I get the rear curtain sync on my Canon EOS 5D with a Canon Speedlite 580EX?

    Many thanks.

  • Chris

    January 25, 2008 11:14 pm

    Loving the rear-curtain sync stuff, will try that, thanks :)

  • Alyssa

    January 9, 2008 06:21 pm

    My point-and-shoot has the front/back curtain option and i never knew what it is. unfortunately my brother just broke the screen so i can't see what settings I'm on, or else I'd try this out. Only a week until my new Digital SLR arrives though, so this will be one of the first things I experement with!!

  • Bojoura

    December 14, 2007 09:47 am

    This helps a lot... I'm buying a flash this weekend, because I have to take pictures at a wedding next week. I'm a horrible flasher and thought it was no fun. But looking at these pictures, makes me wanna grap my cam and go play. Thanx, really helpful.

    Greetz, Bojoura Stolz

  • Chris Ridley

    December 5, 2007 11:05 pm

    Mike:
    You need to set your camera to rear curtain sync, set a shutter speed slow enough to record a bit of action and click away, everything you need to know is on this page!

  • mike

    November 20, 2007 08:57 am

    how do i make my subject clear and bacground blur I have a 400D canon

  • Mick

    November 1, 2007 03:39 pm

    For owners of the Canon XTi (400D)- Check out page 106 in your instruction manual. All is revealed there.

  • Chris

    October 29, 2007 07:43 pm

    Have been trying this last weekend with my 40d, it's a great techniques to try - am loving it :)

  • alex mcroberts

    June 11, 2007 11:13 pm

    Yuva. Get a mobile (cell) phone with an LED light "flash". Go on to manual settings. Set iso to your second highest number. Set the exposure time to something like 5 seconds, and I usually use f8.0 too. put the camera on a tripod. Set the self-timer to 5 seconds. Setup your phone to put the LED light on. Click the button. Draw the shape. The Longer the exposure times the more complex the photo you can get. Use more than one phone to draw big things - like the "Revolution" photo - it took three phones at 15 second exposure.

  • Yuva

    June 11, 2007 05:49 pm

    Really Cool snaps alex mcroberts cud you share how you took those . Really amazing... Can anyone tell me how to do this in Canon IXUS 800 IS

  • Evan

    June 1, 2007 08:51 am

    louis- You cant really fix that in photoshop as far as i know. It happened because when you use a slow shutter speed and the subject moves too much or moves out of the frame it gets faed since it was such little time that the subject was in the position. To fix it:

    take the pic again, try using a different aperature setting to make your friend stand out more, and use a faster shutter speed. I use around 4-8(hundredths) for this kind of thing, you may want to bring it to 10 depending on the speed of the subject (in this case, the skater).

    but a good rule is if its really fast, make the shutter speed 3-5 stops slower than you "should." otherwise do 4-8 or so. and to keep the background from distracting from the subject, play around w/ the aperature to control whats in focus and whats not.

    Another cool thing you can do that might have been mentioned here earlier is to turn off the flash, put shutter speed to 4-8, and move the camera around while exposing. Try rotating, steaking across, up, down, anything. my personal favorite thing to do is zoom in while exposing. gives it a great motion. its awesome.

  • louis

    June 1, 2007 07:44 am

    Hey!! i tried it with a friend that was skating, front curtain sync, unfortunately in the shot the background looks awesome but mi friend looks like a ghost. Does anyone know a way i can correct this in photoshop? Should i make it in rear curtain sync??

  • Evan

    June 1, 2007 07:36 am

    two more things.....
    1. what is RAW? is it really low quality or really high?
    2. what is mirror lockup, and what else did they take out of the original Rebel?
    3. can you get firmware that supports 2nd curtain flash?

    ok i guess thats 3.....

    thanks
    -Evan

  • Evan

    June 1, 2007 07:33 am

    why do i have to be "brave" to install that? Is it dangerous or something? Viruses? Crashing the camera? Erasing data?

  • Dave New

    May 31, 2007 12:22 pm

    The original Digital Rebel didn't support 2nd curtain sync, unless you used a flash that allowed you to set it on the flash itself. The 500EX for instance, will work, but unless you want/need a high-end bounce flash, it's a pricey solution.

    Canon purposefully crippled the original Rebel firmware, to keep it from gutting the sales of their 10D, etc. If you check around, you will find hacked versions of the firmware for your camera that (if you are brave enough) you can install that will restore most of the removed menu settings (like mirror lockup, etc). One of the most aggravating 'features' was the way it coupled certain shooting modes together. For instance, the JPEG 'sports' mode is the only one that uses the predictive focus system, but it forces you to shoot in JPEG, and disables the flash (like I'd never take sports shots with flash?). The Rebel firmware is essentially identical to the 10D, with a bunch of the menus NOP'ed out of the code.

    I gave up on the original Rebel as hopelessly crippled, and upgraded to a 20D. Much more flexible, for someone that cares about such things as mirror lockup, 2nd curtain sync, and being able to choose which focussing mode to use with which exposure mode, and to always be able to shoot RAW, no matter what.

    And for all the folks with Canon EOS bodies (whether film or digital) there is a great FAQ that will help you understand how to get the most out of your flash system at:

    http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/

  • Evan

    May 29, 2007 09:40 am

    hey I cant find this on my Canon Digital Rebel.

  • Travel Photographer

    May 26, 2007 01:35 am

    Slow speed sync is a cool technique. It certainly opens up a lot of creativity in people.

  • Motorcycle Guy

    May 13, 2007 08:39 am

    I'm not even sure my camera has slow sync flash. I don't think its called that exactly but I'll have to check it out.

  • Abdallah Baki

    May 12, 2007 12:57 pm

    just fantastic info.

    very simple yet very rich with information, thanks for sharing

  • Jason

    May 12, 2007 12:44 pm

    Great tip!

    Anyone knows if where can I set the 'Rear Curtain/Front Curtain Sync' on my Canon 10D?

  • Rog Patterson

    May 12, 2007 02:45 am

    Have a photo of my #4 son's Formula Vee race car trailing a long, red blur with the front half of the vehicle sharp and wondered how it was taken...thanks for the answer. My Olympus C740UZ offers 2nd curtain flash, so now I've just gotta find me a red race car.

    Rog Patterson

  • Cedric Sherif

    May 11, 2007 04:21 am

    I have the Panasonic DMC-FZ50 - and reading the manual it suggests that the flash fires first ie front curtain, I would presume that the DMC-FZ5 would be similar - hope this will help Ziv......

    A smashing article......

  • gray

    May 11, 2007 12:15 am

    you people must not hear this enough, but RTFM! it's all in there. I'm surprised that a lot of you don't even have a basic understanding of your camera, enough to figure out where a simple menu item might be. when in doubt, rtfm first, then ask questions

  • Becca

    May 9, 2007 07:54 am

    Thanks mark!

  • anders

    May 8, 2007 01:06 pm

    never mind previous comment got it working

  • max

    May 8, 2007 12:25 pm

    what buttons do i press to switch between rear/front curtain sync?

  • anders

    May 8, 2007 12:11 pm

    It doesn't seem to work for me, I only have a 1 and 1.6 second exposure choices, is that to short to pull this off.

  • aChamp

    May 8, 2007 03:49 am

    Recycled post :|

  • Bryan

    May 8, 2007 03:27 am

    So that's what Slow Sync Flash means on my Canon SD600. I'll have to try that more often - thanks!

  • Free Nature Photography Wallpaper

    May 8, 2007 01:31 am

    Not bad, I do some long exposure as well, check it out. I prefer modeling photography though...

  • Ziv

    May 7, 2007 11:38 pm

    does anyone knows if on the Panasonic DMC-FZ5 you can set the slow sync flash to fire at the end of the exposure? I checked the manual but it didn't say a lot about about slow sync flash and I checked their website but couldn't find the camera.

  • alex mcroberts

    May 7, 2007 11:06 pm

    Check out my link:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/black.horizons/Donegal2006

    that was using a slow shutter speed, and a couple of mobile (cell) phones that have a LED "flash". stick on the LED, use a tripod, go "painting"...oh and the longer the exposure the longer you have to draw :)

  • Jack Pearce

    May 7, 2007 08:35 pm

    Great tip thanks for that, explained it alot better than most the magazines out there.

    Jack.

  • Mark

    May 7, 2007 08:17 pm

    Becca rear curtain sync with a Canon 30D is set in custom function 15

  • Dave

    May 7, 2007 05:47 pm

    This technique is great in really dark clubs where it won't get overexposed. I'll shoot F4, ISO 100, 1 second, front curtain, and then move the camera around after the flash fires.

    You can paint streaks out of the lights.. here I made hearts out of all the candles on the tables. http://www.flickr.com/photos/davematthews/330415502/in/set-72157594433785054/

  • Austyn

    May 7, 2007 04:31 pm

    I was curious if any one could tell me the settings for this on either a Kodak Dx7590 or Kodak C743, I have tried messing with the 7590 in manual mode to no avail any ideas?

  • Jakob Montrasio

    May 7, 2007 04:07 pm

    Thanks for the tip, I'll try that out with my Nikon D50 tonight!
    Best,
    Jakob

  • John

    May 7, 2007 04:03 pm

    I did this shot with a long open shutter and a flash at the end in a dark room.

    http://gallery.jmaresca.com/photography/11.jpg

  • Paul

    May 7, 2007 07:04 am

    Superb shots - many thanks for that.
    - www.photographyvoter.com

  • Becca

    May 3, 2007 10:08 am

    How do i get the rear curtain sync with a Canon 30D?

  • Eric

    March 25, 2007 04:04 am

    I have a sony A100, and I cant figure out how to get it to flash after the shutter opens. Any suggestions?

  • Kevin

    March 3, 2007 11:53 pm

    Press and hold the flash pop-up button, then rotate the thumbwheel. Try having the camera in the "M", "A" "S" and "P" modes to see the different flash sync options in different modes.

  • Odi Jamir

    February 8, 2007 02:34 am

    New at this, just got my first DSLR (d70s) Any Nikon users that can point out how to set rear or front curtain synch on the d70s?

  • Desiree

    February 7, 2007 03:45 am

    smokingmonkey, would you mind explaining exactly how you got that shot? Looks great! Desiree

  • Sanjay Shetty

    February 2, 2007 01:21 am

    Thanks for the really simple and lucid explanation.

  • matt

    January 20, 2007 07:53 am

    this is one of my favorite ways to shoot. :)

  • NAT

    January 19, 2007 05:00 pm

    This is very useful information, thanks so much. I have got to try this soon. -NAT

  • Sawyer

    January 19, 2007 12:13 pm

    I can't get Tv or Av to work. Help?

  • Sawyer

    January 19, 2007 12:12 pm

    When I turn on the flash on on my Canon Rebel XTi, the shutter speed automatically moves to 1/100 or 1/200, even in manual mode.

  • Jonas

    January 19, 2007 09:29 am

    Great tips, just had a couple of tests, and it does create a nice effect. Never knew what that setting was for, now I know. Thanks!

  • Randy

    January 19, 2007 05:32 am

    Thanks for the great tips. This is very helpful.

  • KJC

    January 19, 2007 03:51 am

    Robert: The Digital Rebel XT has a Night Portrait option and you can also use Av (aperture priority). To set 1st (front) or 2nd (rear) shutter curtain sync, see the custom function setting of the manual (p. 150).

  • Robert

    January 18, 2007 05:11 pm

    Another name I've heard for this technique is "open flash."

    As far as the front and rear curtain sync, how can I control when the flash fires on a Rebel XT?

  • Brian Auer

    January 18, 2007 12:32 pm

    Totally cool, THIS is the type of stuff that makes me want to get out there and fill up my memory cards.

  • Matthew Miller

    January 18, 2007 12:26 pm

    Rear curtain sync generally gives the more natural effect, but if you're shooting with a timed shutter speed (instead of bulb mode, where the exposure ends when you say it ends), it's really hard to judge when the flash is going to go off -- imagine if your camera had a two-second shutter lag.

  • Donncha O Caoimh

    January 18, 2007 08:07 am

    On a 400D you could try either AV/TV or manual modes. Manual is probably the best one to go for because you can adjust the speed and aperture.
    Try a speed of about 1/4 second to get a nice blur on moving people or animals in your image!

  • Dave

    January 18, 2007 07:07 am

    fantastic tut, any idea on where these settings are on a 400D ?

  • Filipe Rocha

    January 18, 2007 04:51 am

    I was looking for some information to give to a friend of mine about how to use ISO/ASA in her camera because it was much better to provide her with rather new information than the one I had on a book by Michael Langford, "The step by step book of photography", and I've found dPS. What a great site.
    Already subscribed.
    Looks like I'll be using my camera more often. Or even buy a new one.

    Thank you,
    Filipe

  • Markku

    January 18, 2007 04:47 am

    Thanks for tip, I bought new flash this week for some project, but flash is more usefull...

  • Donncha O Caoimh

    January 18, 2007 02:46 am

    I just love that technique and as luck would have it I posted a picture of swans in a local pond yesterday using a long exposure and flash. Love the movement and they look a lot more menacing!

    http://inphotos.org/the-swans-they-are-a-coming/ (in case the above link gets eaten by a filter)

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