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Multiple or stroboscopic flash exposure

  • Tutorials
  • 19/08/17

So what is stroboscopic flash?

Stroboscopic flash is when a chosen number of flashes are fired continuously in one single LONG exposure. This fun technique allows you to have multiple bursts of light freezing a moving subject multiple times as it moves through the frame.

You might recognise it by wondering how some of those images with dancers or basketball players bouncing the ball and are frozen multiple times are created. The results are very similar to that of combining multiple exposures.

Many speed lights have this feature and it seems complicated at first glance but we will explain how to master it.

As you are using a long exposure, you need a dark shooting environment. The longer the exposure, the darker the environment. The reason is you are using a long shutter speed and this will allow all the ambient light to come into your camera. If it is bright you won’t get those long shutter speeds and your image will be over exposed. The flash freezes the subject and illuminates it.

First of all find your MULTI mode and you need to look at three parts:

  • the flash output
  • the number of flashes
  • and flash frequency (number of flashes per second = Hz)

The Flash output is the power of the flash and works in manual flash. The lowest is usually 1/128th power and highest 1/1. Depending on where your subject is and if you are using a modifier to spread the light will depend on the amount of light.

Then set the number of flashes so lets say 6 times at a rate of 1 Hz

That means you need to have a shutter speed longer than 6 seconds as it will fire a flash every 1 HZ or I sec x 6 times.

You could change it to 2 HZ and that means you divide 2 into 6 so 2 HZ into 6 times and that means your shutter speed has to be longer than 3 seconds.


Tip: shoot in Manual Exposure mode and underexpose by about 3 stops to make sure each flash is clearly visible.