Using Flash: Pilar Bonnin’s Tips for Indoor and Outdoor Flash Photography

Article Categories

Body Category
Lens Category
Using Flash Pilar Bonnin’s Tips for Indoor and Outdoor Flash Photography

Whether you’re shooting indoors or out, flash photography is great for any time of the day. You can use it as your main or fill light and you can have single or multiple flash set-ups—there are endless possibilities! When I have to go on a shoot, I prefer to use Sony’s F60RM and F45RM because they are powerful, lightweight and compact. Here are my 12 tips to bring out the best in your photography with these amazing flashes and the Alpha 7R III.

Indoor Photography

Sony | Accessories | Using Flash: Get the Best Indoor Photos with Pilar Bonnin

Alpha 7R III | FE 85mm F1.4 GM | 85 mm | 1/250 sec | F7.1 | ISO 200

Always choose flash over LEDs to light a shot 

When shooting with ambient light, it may be necessary to raise your ISO. But doing so will affect your light quality and grain. Some try to compensate for this by using the light from their smartphones but this requires someone to stand very close to the model which is not ideal. Others use LED lights which allows you to stand further away but does not create the best shadows or offer the greatest light quality. 

Alpha 7R III | FE 85mm F1.4 GM | 85 mm | 1/60 sec | F4 | ISO 400

Bounce your flash

Using your flash directly on your model can create a harsh look with hard shadows that may not be flattering to your subject or style. By bouncing your flash e.g. off a wall, you can create a softly lit image with no harsh highlights or shadows. With the F60RM’s Quick Shift Bounce it’s easy to switch between vertical and horizontal orientation.  

Alpha 7R III | FE 85mm F1.4 GM | 85 mm | 1/125 sec | F5 | ISO 80

Use the flash off-camera

An off-camera flash gives you greater control over the direction and quality of light. By shooting in manual mode, you can control how much power goes into the remote flash to light up your subject. The F60RM’s radio trigger allows you to use it as a commander for other flashes in a multiple-flash setup e.g. in an octobox, as a fill light, etc so you have the freedom to place them wherever you want. 

Alpha 7R III | FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM | 62 mm | 1/250 sec | F5.6 | ISO 400

Pick a flash that is capable of continuous shooting

When taking action shots, it’s important that your flash is capable of burst mode so that it can keep up with your camera’s shutter speed. This allows you to capture every motion and light it just the way you want it. When used with the FA-EBA1 External Battery Adaptor, it also has the fastest recycling time of any flash at 0.6 seconds so you will not miss a beat when taking photos. Plus, the F60RM is designed to be heat resistant so it can take a lot of images without giving out on you.

Alpha 7R III | FE 85mm F1.4 GM | 85 mm | 1/250 sec | F5.6 | ISO 500

Use coloured gels and modifiers

Create dramatic scenes or moods by fitting your flash with a coloured gel. Use a coloured gel on a secondary flash to create vibrantly coloured shadows and highlights and use a regular flash as a simple fill light to maintain your model’s natural skin colour.

Alpha 7R III | FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM | 60 mm | 1/3 sec | F5.6 | ISO 400

Get creative with rear sync flash

Try shooting on a slow shutter speed and having the flash go off at the end. By combining ambient light and rear synch flash, you can capture a correctly exposed background, beautiful motion trails and a sharp subject. It’s great for dancers, sports, etc.—the possibilities are endless.

Outdoor Photography

Sony | Accessories | Using Flash: Get the Best Outdoor Photos with Pilar Bonnin

Alpha 7R III | FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS | 100 mm | 1/100 sec | F5.6 | ISO 320

Use a flash with a high guide number

The flash guide number is a measure of the distance at which a flash can illuminate a subject. The higher the guide number, the greater the distance at which the light from the flash will be sufficient for optimal exposure. The F60RM has a guide number of 60, so it packs a lot of power for its size. You can light up a whole room or shoot from a distance with ease. 

Alpha 7R III | FE 85mm F1.4 GM | 85 mm | 1/200 sec | F2.5 | ISO 200

Use a flash with radio frequency

This gives you complete freedom when it comes to lighting different scenes. Radio frequency allows you to place flashes out of sight and position them anywhere without compromising on the type of light you want to create. Try placing them behind your subject to create beautiful highlights, or within bushes to create a three-dimensional look. The flashes will pop as long as they are within 30 m of the commander.

Alpha 7R III | FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS | 100 mm | 1/40 sec | F5.6 | ISO 500

Combine your flash with other light sources

Get creative by combining your flash and ambient light with other light sources. Try using fairy lights to create a magical, dreamy look and use your flash to create a soft fill.

Alpha 7R III | FE 85mm F1.4 GM | 85 mm | 1/40 sec | F2.8 | ISO 500

Choose a flash that is protected against the elements

Because it is dust and moisture-sealed, the F60RM is perfect for outdoor shoots. The weather may not always be on your side but you can get creative and let the elements be part of the image. Have some fun and experiment.

Alpha 7R III | FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS | 100 mm | 1/100 sec | F5.6 | ISO 320

Easy controls lead to an efficient workflow

Use the dedicated + / - buttons and customisable keys to access your menu quickly and set functions so you can adjust your settings quickly without interrupting your shoot.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of Sony Singapore.

  1. Actual colour and dimension may differ from the screen image.
  2. Colours & features of the product shown may differ by model and country.
  3. 4K: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels.
  4. Services availability depends on region. A part or whole of software/services installed into or accessible through the product may be changed, discontinued, removed, suspended, or terminated without notice.
  5. Features and specifications are subject to change without prior notice.
Article Theme

We would like to request access to your Geolocation to provide you with a customised experience. Please know that you can withdraw your consent at any time via your browser settings.