How to get the best out of your pop-up flash

If you are using an entry-level or a semi-professional DSLR, your camera most likely has a built-in pop-up flash unit that can be used to add some additional light on your subjects or even trigger another flash. The problem with built-in flashes, however, is that they fire harsh, direct light that does not look very good, especially on people. In this short article, I will show you how you can get the best out of your pop-up flash.

1) Diffuse or not to diffuse?

There are plenty of products on the market that let you diffuse the light coming out of your pop-up flash. I personally think that those products are worthless for the following reasons:

  1. Your pop-up flash is pretty weak as it is and you will lose plenty of light while trying to diffuse it.
  2. Redirecting the light from the pop-up flash is too difficult and often impossible.
  3. Why waste money on something that is not going to give you considerably better results than direct flash?

Before you waste your money on a pop-up flash diffuser, try doing some simple light bouncing with a piece of paper and see whether your images truly look better or not. When shooting indoors, simply hold a large A4/letter-size piece of paper (or any other thin white material) in front of your pop-up flash and take a picture. You will most likely get an underexposed image, in which case try increasing the flash power by using flash compensation on your camera. Another thing you can try is increasing your camera ISO to a larger number, which will also help with the exposure.

2) Use pop-up flash as fill-flash

Where find the pop-up flash to be somewhat helpful, is using it as fill flash outdoors. In situations when you shoot against bright backgrounds, you might end up with a properly exposed background, but an underexposed subject. In those cases, using your pop-up flash might yield some good results, since the flash will help lit your subject’s face and the background will also be properly exposed (as long as your subject is relatively close, within 3-10 feet). I typically shoot in TTL (through the lens) mode, which works quite well for these types of situations. Every once in a while, you might need to adjust the flash power by using flash compensation on your camera. Here is an example with and without fill flash:

No Flash vs Fill Flash

As you can see, I was able to lift some of the shadows from Lola’s and Omar’s faces, but since the pop-up flash is so direct, there are some harsh shadows on the second image – look at the shadow behind Lola’s nose and Omar’s head. Watch out for those types of problems when using flash like this. What I should have done instead, was increase camera ISO and lower flash power, so that the effect of fill flash was not so obvious. The image was shot in Aperture Priority mode, 1/200, f/8 and ISO 400. Camera flash was set to TTL mode.

I only use pop-up flash when I don’t carry my speedlights with me and I don’t bother with setting up flash power manually – TTL works well for most situations like these. When shooting with speedlights, however, I typically shoot manual for consistent results and better control of light (more on that in other articles later this week).

Watch the below video for a more detailed explanation of TTL and how it works:

3) Front Curtain Sync vs Rear Curtain Sync vs Slow Curtain Sync

Most DSLRs can control the way the pop-up flash fires during an exposure. Nikon and Sony DSLRs, for example, give you at least three options – front curtain sync, rear curtain sync and slow curtain sync. If you shoot Canon or other brands, the rear curtain sync is typically called “2nd curtain sync”. Let me explain these in detail, so that you can understand what exactly they do and how they affect your images.

  1. Front Curtain Sync – the default setting of all DSLR cameras. Flash fires a pre-flash to understand what flash power should be used, then immediately fires the main flash at the beginning of the exposure.
  2. Rear Curtain Sync – the camera fires a pre-flash at the beginning of the exposure, then fires the main flash at the end of the exposure. If shot in Auto or Aperture Priority modes, Nikon DSLRs automatically decrease the shutter speed to expose for the ambient light.
  3. Slow Curtain Sync – the camera fires a pre-flash and the main flash at the beginning of the exposure, similar to front curtain sync. The difference between slow curtain sync and front curtain sync, however, is that the camera slows down the shutter speed when using slow curtain sync in Auto and Aperture Priority modes.

If you still do not understand what the above means, watch my video below where I explain all three settings in detail.

At 6:35, where I say “Slow curtain sync and rear-curtain sync are not going to work in manual mode”, I simply mean that the camera will NOT automatically decrease the shutter speed when shooting in manual mode. The rear-curtain sync still works in manual mode.

4) Use pop-up flash as a flash commander

If you own a semi-professional camera body like Nikon D70/D80/D90 or a professional one like Nikon D200/D300/D300s/D700, you have an advanced pop-up flash that can work as a flash commander. What does this mean? It simply means that you can control other Nikon speedlights directly from your camera! Nikon has been years ahead of the competition when it comes to this particular functionality – something we Nikonians have always been proud of :) But the competition is catching up pretty quickly and Canon has already introduced the Canon 7D with a similar functionality in its built-in pop-up flash.

Why would you want to use your pop-up flash as a flash commander? If you own one of the Nikon speedlights, you most likely have been mounting it on top of your camera. While there is nothing wrong with using the flash on top of the camera, no matter how much of the flash you diffuse or bounce off different surfaces, it is still sitting on top of your camera. By utilizing your pop-up flash as a commander, you can take your speedlight off the camera and take your flash photography to the next level, for more natural and professional-looking images.

So, how does this technology work and what’s behind it? Nikon calls their implementation of communication between flashes “CLS”, which stands for “Creative Lighting System”. Think of CLS as a flash system developed by Nikon that provides a number of features for complex wireless communication between flashes. I will go into more detail about CLS later this week and will certainly provide more information in our accompanying videos, but for now, there are only a few things you need to know about CLS. The beauty of the system, is in Nikon’s implementation of “i-TTL” (intelligent Through The Lens), which fires monitor pre-flashes before the main flash, in order to calculate the correct amount of flash power. If you remember from the second video, I talked about how in TTL mode, the pop-up flash fires a pre-flash on the subject in order to evaluate the light that gets bounced back from the subject. The bounced light travels “through the lens” into the camera, where it is evaluated in a matter of milliseconds and then before the main flash fires, the camera already knows how much flash power it needs for a balanced exposure. If you change your camera exposure, whether it is the shutter speed, aperture or ISO, the changes are quickly communicated to the flash system, which adjusts the flash power based on those changes. i-TTL’s task is not to let flashes fire too much power (which would overexpose the subject) or too little power (which would underexpose the subject). Nikon understands that “too much” or “too little” can be very relative, and in some cases, the flash might not yield the best results. For those situations, Nikon came up with a few options to manually override the flash output by increasing or decreasing the flash power, directly from the commanding unit. This manual override in TTL mode is called “flash exposure compensation”.

Let me now apply the above information on your camera’s pop-up flash. When the camera pop-up flash is used as a commander or “master”, it can be configured in many different ways. The pop-up flash itself can be configured as a flash unit (in addition to being a commander), or it can be turned off to simply be a commander to trigger one or more slave speedlights. In order to be able to use the pop-up flash as a commander, you need at least one Nikon speedlight. Any of the Nikon speedlights that have the “Remote” or “Slave” mode will work just fine, so if you have a Nikon SB-600, SB-700, SB-800 or SB-900, you will be able to do this (I will go through differences between Nikon speedlights in my upcoming articles).

4.2) Setting up pop-up flash as a commander/master

Let’s start with just one speedlight and your camera. The first thing we need to do, is set up your camera to be the commander. Open up the camera menu, then go to “Custom Setting Menu”, then pick the “Bracketing/flash” submenu. Next, move down to “Flash cntrl for built-in flash” and then pick “Commander mode”. Within the Commander mode screen, pick double dashes “--” for “Built-in flash”, which will basically make the pop-up flash only the commander (by firing only the pre-flash, but not the main flash). Under “Group A”, set the mode to “TTL” and leave “Group B” whatever is already there (we won’t be using it for this example). Keep the default “Channel” 1, then press the “OK” button to save the changes. What have we done above? First, we set our built-in pop-up flash to not fire any flash (double dashes), then we set the Group A of flashes to “TTL” mode. Don’t worry about Groups and Channels for now – we just need to make sure that the Group we pick and the Channel we pick is going to be the same in the speedlight as well.

Nikon D700 Commander Mode Nikon D700 Commander Mode Menu

For those who are wondering what each of the mode settings on this screen do, here is a very brief overview:

  1. TTL – i-TTL Mode. Like explained above, the “intelligent Through The Lens” mode that fires pre-flashes to determine the flash power.
  2. AA – Auto Aperture Mode. Don’t worry about this mode and skip it every time. It is the older implementation of the TTL system that is not very accurate.
  3. M – Manual Mode. Allows you to set the flash power manually.
  4. -- – Disable Flash. For the built-in pop-up flash, selecting the double dash will turn off the main flash, but the pre-flash will still fire. If you stand too close to your subject, the pre-flash might actually influence your image, so use it with care and step back, if necessary. When selecting the double dash for Group A or Group B, it will disable those groups completely.

The right “Comp.” column represents “Flash exposure compensation”, which allows you to increase or decrease the flash power on your built-in flash or on speedlights.

The camera is ready to go. Now let’s move on to the speedlight. This part is a little tough to describe, because the setup will depend on the type of speedlight you are using. The Nikon SB-900 is the easiest to set up as a “Remote” or “Slave” unit, because it is a simple switch on the right hand side of the flash. The Nikon SB-800 requires you to go into the Speedlight menu to select the Remote mode. Let’s go through how you can change different speedlights to be slave units.

4.2) Nikon SB-900 Speedlight Setup

Nikon SB-900

It is easy – all you have to do is rotate the the power switch/dial on the right side to “Remote” and the speedlight is ready to go! You just need to make sure that the Group and the Channel are set correctly. You can change the Group by pressing the top left button and the Channel by pressing the second top left button. Once Group is set to “A” and Channel is set to “1”, you do not have to change anything else on the flash.

4.3) Nikon SB-800 Speedlight Setup

Nikon SB-800

Here is how to set up the Nikon SB-800 as a Remote/Slave unit:

  1. Turn the SB-800 on by pressing the “ON/OFF” button.
  2. Press and hold the “SEL” button for about three to four seconds, which will open up the speedlight setup.
  3. Inside the setup menu, use the up/down (+/-) and left/right (three trees/one tree) buttons to get to the submenu that shows two flashes with arrows. On the right hand side you will see text that says “Off”, “Master”, “Master (RPT)”, “Remote” and “SU-4”.
  4. Press the “SEL” button once again and use the up/down buttons to select “Remote”. Press “SEL” to save the selection.
  5. Now hold down the “SEL” button for another three to four seconds to return back to the menu.
  6. Once you do the above, the main screen should now have been changed to say “REMOTE” with big letters. On the top of the menu you should see “CH” with Channel 1 selected and on the right bottom side you should see “Group” with Group A selected. If the Channel is not 1 or the Group is not “A”, you need to press the “SEL” button once to choose the right Channel and then press it again to choose the right Group. To change a Channel or a Group, you can use the up/down buttons to toggle between different channels and groups.

The main thing is to use the same Channel and Group as in your camera.

To return the speedlight back to its normal state, simply hold down the “SEL” button for 3-4 seconds again, and set it to “Off” inside the speedlight submenu. Then press “SEL” again for 3-4 seconds to return to the normal screen.

4.4) Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Setup

Nikon SB-700

Setting up Nikon SB-700 as a slave is as easy as setting up the Nikon SB-900 – it is done through the power switch/dial on the right side of the speedlight. Simply select “REMOTE” and the speedlight will switch to Remote/Slave mode. Now all you have to do is check and make sure that your Channel is set to “1” and Group is set to “A”. You can change the group by pressing the “SEL” button, then rotating the large dial in the center to pick “A” under “GR”. The channel is also changed the same way by pressing the “SEL” button once again, then rotating the large dial in the center to pick “1” under “CH”.

4.5) Nikon SB-600 Speedlight Setup

Nikon SB-600

Here is how to set up the Nikon SB-600 as a Remote/Slave unit:

  1. Turn the SB-600 on by pressing the “ON/OFF” button.
  2. Press and hold down the “ZOOM” and “–” buttons together for about three to four seconds.
  3. Press the “MODE” button to turn the remote mode on. Here is how the screen should look like when the flash is in the remote mode:
    SB-600 Remote Mode
  4. Press and hold down the “ZOOM” and “–” buttons together again for about three to four seconds. The flash will now switch to the remote screen.
  5. Now you need to make sure that the Group is set to “A” and Channel is set to “1”. You can do this by pressing the “MODE” button to toggle between groups and channels. Once in “CH” or “GROUP”, press the up/down (+/-) buttons to switch to different channels and groups.
  6. Once you are finished, press the “MODE” button again.

To get back to the normal mode, hold down the “ZOOM” and “-” buttons together for about 3-4 seconds again and then press the “MODE” button once to change remote to “OFF”. Then press “ZOOM” and “-” again for 3-4 seconds to return to the normal screen.

Your speedlight should now be ready to be used as a slave unit! Fire a test shot with your pop-up flash opened up on the camera and the slave unit should be triggered.


  1. 1) Brian Di Croce
    December 7, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    Just in time, man! I just purchased an SB-600 to start learning/playing around with flash techniques. I’m super glad you’re taking the time to set this up. By the way, I thought you were a full-time professional photographer, but apparently you’re also pretty busy in the IT corporate world!

    Congratulations on setting this superb and helpful site. Simply amazing!

    • December 7, 2010 at 8:26 pm

      Brian, we will definitely cover a lot when it comes to using speedlights this week, so stay tuned! :)

      My wife is a full-time professional photographer, but I am a geek, always been one :) Not sure if I want to go full time into photography though, I love IT! :D

  2. 2) Suhas
    December 7, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Nasim,
    Your articles are so neatly explained and so easy to understand. Please keep them coming!

    • December 7, 2010 at 8:46 pm

      Thank you Suhas, will do! :)

      • 2.1.1) Suhas
        December 7, 2010 at 8:58 pm

        Hi Nasim,
        I had a question… I was thinking of going in for an external flash sometime soon for my Canon EOS 500D. Since, I do not have a great budget to go in for the Canon Flashlights, I have zeroed in on the less expensive Yongnuo Speedlite. In particular, I am deciding between the YN-468 ( and the YN-580 (
        I understand that the main difference between the two is that YN-468 understands the Canon’s TTL protocol. But the YN-580 has a better range than the YN-468. I am an amateur photographer who wants to get good indoor shots. But, I definitely want to learn more on indoor flash photography.
        If it were you, which of the two models would you prefer? Do you prefer the TTL feature over the longer range and higer guide number? There is not much of a difference in the price of these two.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          December 7, 2010 at 10:23 pm

          Suhas, I really don’t know anything about these flashes, so I cannot advise on which one is better. TTL is easier for beginners, so if it truly works, then it might be worth looking into.

  3. 3) MaiMai
    December 8, 2010 at 6:46 am

    Hello Nasim,

    My question doesn’t pertain flashes tho i really love the article, gives so much info.
    What is the difference between graduated filter and uv filter and which one to you suggest for a beginner like me to use..?
    Hope to hear from you…

  4. 4) Peter
    December 8, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Good, concise videos of flash sync differences and their uses. And I agree about those diffusers for pop-up flash: worthless. I rarely use mine.

  5. 5) victor
    December 8, 2010 at 10:24 am

    How do you think about lightscoop?

    • December 10, 2010 at 5:12 pm

      Victor, for $29, it is a waste of your money :)

  6. 6) RoryD
    December 8, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I just stumbled on your website, which is ironic, because I’ve spent the last year learning how to take photos without flash, and now I’m trying to learn how to use flash properly!

    Will you cover or have you covered indoor lighting? Flash photography and indoor lighting are my challenges for the winter.

    • December 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm

      RoryD, our next video will be about using speedlights indoors!

  7. 7) Jaime
    December 8, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    So happy you are covering the use of flash! I am getting used to my sb-600 on my ancient d50. Sometimes the pictures look wonderful, other times the flash won’t fire and everything is dark… even if the natural lighting is good. Also, is it better to put the cover (not sure what the technical name is) over the flash? Or in only certain situations? Thanks so much!! Love your blog. :)

    • December 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm

      Jaime, lots of new videos coming up, specifically about using speedlights indoors, so stay tuned :)

  8. December 8, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Hi Nasim:

    Thank you for sharing this useful information.
    Regards from Bolivia

  9. December 9, 2010 at 9:30 am

    In the instructions for the SB-600, it never actually shows the word ‘Remote’ on the display panel. I don’t know why they chose to use symbols instead of words, but you need to know that a little squiggly arrow is what means ‘Remote’.

    • December 10, 2010 at 5:18 pm

      Thank you Ben, I fixed the article!

      • December 10, 2010 at 7:01 pm

        Oh, one other thing. At step 4 (on the SB600), instead of holding down zoom and – to get out of the configuration screen, pressing the power button briefly works as well.

  10. 10) Peter
    December 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Good video on commander mode. Very clear, no wasted words. It encourages me to experiment with this process.

  11. 11) farid
    December 11, 2010 at 5:46 am

    just what i expected from you bro…. can’t hardly wait for more inputs…. keep up the good work…

  12. 12) farid
    December 11, 2010 at 6:17 am

    one thing i forgot, if you don’t mind can you comment or write on the usage of third party brand which can go with nikon brand camera. for example i’m using nissin di611 couple with my d3000. tq

    • January 5, 2011 at 2:23 pm

      Farid, I don’t really have much experience with third party brands…

  13. 13) Rahul
    December 11, 2010 at 10:30 am

    I typically like to shoot w/o flash, but I know where to look :)
    Thanks Nasim !

  14. 14) TMP
    December 11, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Hi Nasim,

    Like yourself, I am a professional geek and an aspiring photographer. However, unlike you – I am a complete novice at photography. Your site is by far the best photography tutorial site I have come across. It is simply amazing that you are providing this knowledge/help for free.

    I congratulate you on your effort and if you ever decide to host a photo-trek or session, I would be interested :)



  15. 15) Ahmad
    December 11, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Thank you Nasim,
    I really had a lot of beneficial info from your explanation and answers. Keep going please.

  16. 16) Chris
    December 12, 2010 at 2:24 am

    Thanks for creating this website Nasim. I find your comments very helpful expecially for begginers like us. I have a question regarding my D300s and my SB900 flash.

    I have tried using the article that you wrote regarding how to set up your pop up flash to use as the commander. What I did was put my bulit in flash to two dashes (–) just like you mentioned on your article and also put the SB900 in remote channel.

    My question is everytime I do this setting I notice that the amount of light that my flash (SB900) transmits is not as strong as when I put the bulit in flash to TTL. Is this common? or do you have any suggestions on what I should do?

    Thanks in advance foryour help and I realy enjoy readling your articles!

    • January 6, 2011 at 9:35 pm

      Chris, it all depends on your setup. Setting built-in flash to TTL should actually decrease the flash power on the SB-900 if they are both pointing to the same subject. The only reason why you want to turn off the built-in flash, is to avoid harsh direct light from the pop-up flash. If there is not enough power on the SB-900, simply increase the flash power compensation on the group that your SB-900 is sitting on (in your camera flash/commander menu) and you will be all set.

      • 16.1.1) Chris
        January 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm

        Thanks Nasim, I will try your advice!

  17. 17) Elias
    February 1, 2011 at 3:30 am

    Hello Nasim,

    Congratulations for your site! I find it very informative and useful for people like me who are trying to make their next steps from the amateur to a somewhat more advanced level. The info you provide is accurate and highly useful and all this from a person (that is you) that takes really impressive photos. Congrats once again and pls keep up the fine work you are doing.

    I have bought a D90 with the kit lens 18-105mm almost a year ago after owning a Sony point and shoot camera for yrs. Recently, I bought the 35mm F2.0 (FX) lens for low light shooting mainly indoors and have been quite amazed by the photos the 35mm can reproduce. My next purchase will probably be an external flash, since I strongly agree with your comments on the superior results by using it vs. the camera integrated flash.

    All the best,

  18. February 3, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Grat stuff Nassim! Great stuff.
    Keep up the great work…

  19. 19) Christin Søvig Gilbert
    March 15, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I find your videos and tutorials so incredibly helpful. Thank you!

  20. 20) randy
    June 27, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    hi, nasim

    I’m new to a world of photography, I just bought my d3100 a few month ago and still experimenting on it. As you said, d3100 can’t be use as a flash commander, is there any way to use speedligth as a slave. Do i need to buy sb 600 and sb 700 to be used as a master and slave for flash?

    Thank you for the wonderful tips you are sharing with us, your site is far the best.

    • 20.1) Darren (Tech-D)
      July 8, 2011 at 11:20 am


      The reason you won’t be able to use commander mode with the D3100 is because it’s not built in. If you want to play with using an off camera flash you will need something like a Pocket Wizard to remotely trigger your off camera flash.

      Hope this helps,
      Darren (Tech-D)

  21. 21) Adnan
    September 9, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Hi there Mr Nasim,

    I’m very new to flash photography. Currently using a D3100 with sb600. i just had a Family Day on a sunny beach and was the only person to shoot pictures. I dont know what is the best setting for both flash and camera so I just went for try and error. I’m using a white card attached to the flash facing upwards to bounced the light towards the subject. As a result the picture is inconsistent. I found out that the background is too bright but the people in the pictures are fine. I lost the colour of the sky and the colour of the sea are sometimes bright. the picture are taken betwen 11 a.m to 1 p.m (Malaysia tim @+8GMT) and camera facing east. Can you tell me what really causing those and give a recommendation on the setting and also solutions. I dont know where actually to leave this question so I leave it here. Thank you.

  22. 22) Danny Smith
    February 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Good Stuff….very informative….Keep posting this stuff..

    Can you do a session on Wireless Triggers?

  23. 23) Sean Stewart
    March 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    I am using a very basic setup with a very basic camera (D3000 with a DX 18-55mm lens). What settings would you recommend for taking pictures indoors at a motorcycle or auto show?

    Thanks for all of your tips and suggestions.

  24. 24) ieyla
    March 28, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Hi.. i want to ask u, can or not if i want to u Sb700 for my canon 7D? How to set the flash? So i can trigger it by pop up my camera flash.

  25. 25) femi olaiya
    March 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    thanks a million for the tutorial, is was really helpful, i would be experimenting with my family over the weekend……..flash photography it is!.

  26. 26) ramesh srinivasan
    April 15, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    How to setup the front curtain and rear curtain sync in nikon d700 please?

  27. 27) David Crowell
    April 26, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to detail, step by step, how this is done. I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Nikon’s resources trying to figure it out, to no avail. Kudos to you sir!

  28. 28) JOJO
    May 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm


    I am trying to use my das’s NIKON D40 on my sister’s graduation ceremony.The stage at the ceremony usually not properly lighten.I am wondering what settings I should use to get good pics.

  29. 29) Ansar Beeran
    June 20, 2012 at 5:38 am

    Dear Mansor
    I am trying to use my Canon 5d mark 2 with 580ex Speedlite flash in wedding function, I am wondering what settings I should use to get good pics.

  30. 30) Hassan
    July 7, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Hello Mr. Nasim,
    I am a amateur photographer.
    I am reading your article and find out that your tips are really helpful.
    I bought a Nikon d5100 last month.. Now looking for the accessories. Due to mu budget, I just purchased the 55-300mm VR II and a AF 50mm 1.8 lens. Now planning to purchase a 28-80 AF lens.
    Now I want to buy a flash which price between 50-100 price range..
    Any suggestion for me?
    I have a plan to take a tour to visit all the us state with a road trip by my car within this month and takes thousand of pictures.
    So, any tips for me, please.

  31. 31) Anil
    July 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    My pop-up flash on Nikon D5000 used to work well in manual & aperture mode meaning – the shutter speed would increase automatically when flash was popped out.

    Recently, I put an external flash – Achiever 828 & started clicking & before putting it on, I had checked if the flash was supported & on one of the forums it said, it would.

    I put the external flash & took some pictures. Now, when I pop-out the camera flash (not using the external flash), it doesn’t increase the shutter speed at all! I probably feel it is due to the external flash & could have damaged the circuitry.

    Appreciate if you could help me on this.


  32. 32) Rhodel De Claro
    September 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Hi Nasim,
    I’m fairly new in the world of photography, so was wondering if it were possible to take continuous mutliple shots with a remote flash firing while using the pop-up as the commander? I have a D800 and an SB-910 and it seems the camera is limited to only firing once even when my dial is set to CL or CH mode.

    Also, I tried it using Self-Timer with 2-5 shots set to take and still, it only fires once. Is it because the pop-up flash is limited by its power source? When setting the flash on top of the camera’s shoe, it easily performs and can fire away at multiple shots.

    Lastly, my D800 is free from the Left AF issues thanks to reading your articles in testing it. Thanks for all your help and advice…keep it up!

  33. December 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Nasim,
    It’s great article. Thanks for sharing. I just purchased Nikon D800 last month and had my SB800 flash gun in my dry box for years. Now, I start learn how to use flash with my D800, especially for Landscape photography, see how the foreground landscape can get better exposed.
    I tried several times with my Nikon D3, but looks not working quite well, I may get wrong set up. I will try again. Any suggest for D3 + SB800 pair? Especially for Action / Sport photography and Landscape photography?
    Again, thanks for your great articles.

  34. 34) Rich
    April 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Hi – just a minor point – you said that:

    ‘What I should have done instead, was increase camera ISO and lower flash power, so that the effect of fill flash was not so obvious’

    This is a bit misleading – increasing in ISO will simply increase the overall exposure of the image, both the parts lit by the flash and the parts lit by available light. If you consider yourself/the camera to have metered for the available light correctly already then you wouldn’t want to do this.

    Reducing the power of the flash alone would decrease the fill effect so that it isn’t so obvious (you could also accomplish by using a longer shutter speed, balanced by a compensatory change in aperture/iso, as only available light is affected by shutter speed), but then you’re just reducing power of the effect you were wanting to make use of to begin with.

    My point is that changing the ISO won’t really help in this situation. Either the fill is too bright, in which case fine, reduce the flash power (but you don’t need to change ISO) or the fill is the correct brightness but it is unfortunately on axis and from a small source and therefore going to give harsh shadows.

  35. 35) Reg
    December 18, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Hi Nasim. I have a Hahnel Combi TF attached to a D700 with a Speedlight SB-910 on top. I have set the 910 to manual and set the D700 to shutter spd of 1/60, flash sync speed of 1/125 and ISO less than 200. Without the Hahnel the flash photo is exposed ok but when the Hahnel is used with the same settings the photo is way under exposed. I have tried many variations with settings and am at a loss. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks Reg

  36. March 27, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Thanks a lot Nasim. I am new in Flash photography and was just looking some tips. Your’s are very helpful. Congrats.

  37. 37) Rita
    April 8, 2014 at 7:15 am

    thank you for your wonderful articles. i have been trying to rediscover [because i could do it last year!] on how to use the pop up flash on my 3200 to trigger the off camera speedlight 700. i know it must be possible as i’ve done it, but whatever i try now i can’t do it again!

    thanks in advance.. rita

  38. 38) Priscilla Photography
    December 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    I have learned so much about photography you are truly an inspiration never stop writing! Thank you so much!

  39. 39) Sandeep Borgaonkar
    June 30, 2015 at 6:06 am

    I recently discovered that bouncing light off a pop up flash really works wonders, even with a small hand held piece of white paper in front of the flash. It gives depth to the images as against the dead flat bright images from direct firing of flash. Bouncing light retains the natural colours of the objects in the image, and even retains original shadows. ISO needs to be taken care of, even an increase from 400 to 800 may harm the colours a bit.

    Thought I should share this.

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