How does it work? Well first of all, let's assume you are shooting at a wedding reception in the evening and the available light is not bright enough to use the camera without flash. In these conditions, you would have to use your flash to avoid the picture being very blurred.
However, direct flash often results in freezing the main subject, like the bride and groom but leaves everything else either totally black or with an indistinguishable, sterile background.
A nice shot at a wedding is to capture the bride and groom dancing but with the other dancers clearly visible but blurred. This gives the best of both worlds, as the main subject is clear and sharp but retains the sense of movement and atmosphere of the occasion more.
This is where slow flash sync comes in. If you select this option from your cameras menu and use it, it will do two things. Firstly, it allows the full exposure just as if you had not selected the flash mode at all. Secondly, it will also fire the flash.
The result is that the main subject, in this case, the bride and groom, will be sharp from the flash phase. However, the shutter will remain open to expose the general scene correctly. The final effect is while you get the bride and groom sharp from the flash, you will also get the bride and groom plus all the other dancers blurred.
You can almost feel the movement of the dancers with this technique and of course, it will apply to all sorts of other photo opportunities as well. For example, surf crashing over a rock in the evening light. This can give a stunning effect with a combination of blurred water with sharp droplets of water frozen in time. And what about combining this with a sunset? Wow! That would be a sure fire winner don't you think?
There are many other wonderful shots you can take with this technique. Use your imagination to find equally exciting potential subjects - and don't forget to take more than one shot; take several. This is what a professional does and for good reason - if you take several shots, one of them will have the timing better that all the others - and that is the one you want.
So dive in to your camera's menu and try the slow flash sync option to open up another world of exciting photo opportunities. I am sure you will not regret it and you will be rewarded with some breath taking results.
My name is Peter Martin Jones and I enjoy computing and photography in both film and digital formats.
If you would like to look at a completely free book on digital photography and other freebies, then you may like to visit my web site at;
The book covers everything from choosing a camera through editing your images to scanning your old film negatives and slides and uploading your image files to the internet. Everything you need to know for successful digital photography.
The book is based on my experience as a photographer and the many questions I have been asked by people who find some aspects of digital photography confusing or who simply want more information.