Nikon Americas USA

121ArticlesRemaining

4.7 Rating
Using Auto FP High-Speed Sync to Illuminate Fast Sports Action

Dave Black on using high-speed flash sync for sports…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.7 Rating
High Speed Sync: A Flash Technique To Add a Pro Touch to Your Photographs

Kevin Kubota on auto FP high speed sync flash…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.7 Rating
Speedlight Tutorial: Bounce Technique

David Tejada uses Speedlights wirelessly for pleasing portrait illumination

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Quick Tips for Taking Better Portraits

Suggested Lens choices, exposure settings and focus modes

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Flash Points: The Control of Light

Color temperature, rear sync, slow sync: Three key elements in flash photography.

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.7 Rating
Joe McNally and the new SB-910 AF Speedlight

Behind the Scenes of a Marketing Campaign Shoot

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.8 Rating
A Light in the Forest

Rod Planck on photographing critters in the field with a Speedlight

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.9 Rating
Speedlight Tutorial: Day to Night Technique

David Tejada uses Speedlights to create the illusion of a night scene

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.6 Rating
Speedlight Tutorial: Artificial Sunlight Technique

David Tejada uses Speedlights to add a late afternoon look to a scene

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.6 Rating
10 Tips for Better Camera Panning

Dave Black's tips for camera panning

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.7 Rating
COOLPIX Cameras and Cool Lighting with Speedlights

Lucas Gilman shows you how to use Speedlights with COOLPIX cameras

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.8 Rating
Repeating Flash Lighting Technique

Joe McNally uses the technique of repeating flash to capture the grace of balletic…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Photography Lighting Tutorial Part 2 - Control of Color

Go on location with Joe McNally for a video tutorial on lighting…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Understanding Auto ISO

Auto ISO can simplify shooting under changing lighting conditions

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
Photography Lighting Tutorial Part 1 - Control of Color

Go on location with Joe McNally for a video tutorial on lighting…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.7 Rating
Advanced Wireless Lighting

Advanced wireless lighting is the use of multiple Speedlights set up for wireless remote…

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.1 Rating
Photographing People Using Wireless Lighting Techniques

Tom Bol's images inspire new ways of taking a portrait photo.

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.7 Rating
Photographing the Night Sky

Astrophotography: tips for making great images of the stars, moon and night sky time-lapse

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
Six Steps to Lighting Magic with Joe McNally

Follow lighting expert Joe McNally's instructions for easy flash photography…

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.0 Rating
Creative Lighting

For those who want to learn about creative lighting

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.9 Rating
Exposure Compensation When Using i-TTL Gets Easier with the D4/D4s

Exposure compensation and flash compensation can be…

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.8 Rating
Just Say Mo. Slow-Mo that is.

Steve Heiner shoots slow-motion video

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.6 Rating
Lighting Techniques: Light Painting

Using the technique of light painting allows you to add depth and dimension to your…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.2 Rating
Tool Talk

Mike Corrado on the gear that shapes the light.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.6 Rating
Action and People Photography

For those who want to take better people and action photos

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.7 Rating
Robin Layton

Fine art/portrait photographer Robin Layton is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about her photography.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Photograph the Classic Holiday Light Bokeh Effect

Tips for shooting lights as soft globes of color

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Understanding ISO Sensitivity

Photography is built on the three pillars of exposure: shutter speed, aperture and…

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.5 Rating
VR Image Stabilization

VR image stabilization technology detects vertical and horizontal movement and offsets it by…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.7 Rating
Destination Europe: Do a Little Research, Then Go Light on the Gear

Blaine Harrington on travel photography in Europe

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.2 Rating
Photographing Sports Indoors and Out

Capturing the action of a sporting event is easy when you follow a few simple…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.0 Rating
Making Great COOLPIX Videos of a Child's Birthday Party

Tips & Tricks from photographer Ann Cutting

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.1 Rating
Pet Mode

Nikon's new Pet mode lets you capture the expressions and actions of your pet cat or dog automatically.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
Introduction to Three-Point Lighting & Other Video Lighting Techniques

Advanced lighting for video

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
Understanding Maximum Aperture

Learn how aperture affects the end-result image.

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.8 Rating
Professional Video Camera Equipment for Your HDSLR

Using third-party rigs, rail systems and other accessories

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.1 Rating
Online Exclusive: Time Lapse Photography Adds Interest to your D-Movies

Speed up time with interval shooting.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Shooting Wirelessly with Nikon’s WR-1 Wireless Remote Controller System

Learn how easy it is to shoot wirelessly with the…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
How a Sports Illustrated Photographer Shoots his Kid's Games

What can a Sports Illustrated photographer teach you about…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.1 Rating
Assignment: Road Trip

Bob Krist pursues persons of interest

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Shooting Wirelessly with the Nikon WR-R10 and WR-T10 Wireless Remotes

Learn how easy it is to use the WR-R10/WR-T10 for…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Live Image Control

Live Image Control lets you preview how certain settings will affect your final image

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Zoom Lens Maximum Aperture: Fixed and Variable Apertures

Zoom lenses can have either a fixed maximum aperture or a…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.0 Rating
Getting Started: How to Hold Your D-SLR Camera

Getting sharper, more in-focus pictures can be as simple as learning how…

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.7 Rating
FOCUS First: A System for Better Photos

Mark Alberhasky's 5 step system for taking better pictures

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
Dave Black

Sports and commercial photographer Dave Black is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Bokeh for Beginners

Have your subjects stand apart from the background with this easy technique

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
3D Color Matrix Metering II

This system of evaluating light determines the best possible exposure for a particular…

NEW
Read
Viewing

Using Auto FP High-Speed Sync to Illuminate Fast Sports Action

Today’s sports photographer not only needs to capture the action, but oftentimes produce a unique feature image for a client. Using Nikon Speedlights in the Auto FP High-Speed Sync mode to illuminate fast action is a great way to take your sports photography to the next level.

[Auto FP High-Speed Sync is a flash mode used for fill-flash photography under brightly lit conditions. It will fill in and open up shadowed areas in order to portray the greatest detail in subjects. It's also ideal when using wide aperture lenses, and because it allows fast shutter speeds—up to fastest shutter speeds on compatible Nikon D-SLRs—it is often used for action-stopping sports photography. And for portraits, you can open up your lenses to their full aperture in order to isolate your subject against a blurred background without overexposing the image.

When Auto FP High Speed Sync is selected, the flash will fire for the duration of the shutter curtain's travel, thus syncing with the camera's shutter speed when that speed is set higher than the camera's normal sync speed. —Editor]

Setting up your camera and Speedlights

When photographing sports action I will set each Speedlight to the REMOTE mode and adjust my Manual Power Output setting via the Nikon SU-800 Commander. Then I go into the Bracketing/Flash category in the custom setting menu of the camera and select the Auto FP 1/250 setting that activates the High-Speed Sync mode. This setting will enable you to shoot at a fast shutter speed—faster than the normal flash sync speed of 1/250, which is too slow to stop the action. (Note: cameras like the D800/D800E can use FP High-Speed Sync up to 1/320 of a second shutter speed so that 1/250 of a second remains a normal sync mode without light/output loss that you would get with the FP sync.)


My Basic Lighting Formula

I can establish the exposure manually using the in-camera meter, or when shooting in Program mode with exposure compensation of -1 EV. I make an “underexposed” test image, turn on my Speedlights and make the “reveal” image. You can see this in the two images of the Superbikes (photos 1 and 2).

How to determine the power output:

Set the manual power output of the Speedlights via the SU-800 Commander, beginning at FULL power, then take a test shot and review it on the camera’s LCD. If the subject is too bright, simply reduce the power output via the SU-800 Commander. It's a bit of trial and error, so if FULL power is too strong, try ½ power and if that is still too bright try ¼ power, etc. Continue to adjust your flash’s power output and make test shots until your subject is illuminated to your liking.

If at FULL power your subject is too dark, then you will need to move your Speedlight closer to the subject or add additional Speedlights to increase the amount of illumination.

Basic lighting formula used to underexpose the scene and then reveal the subject with Speedlights:

These images, like many other images I capture using High-Speed Sync make use of illumination from more than one Speedlight. Sports action in general requires that photographers be positioned some distance from their subject. By using two, three, or even four Speedlights from the same location I can illuminate subjects that are further away.

The Moody Blue Formula: For this very stylized image I changed the camera’s white balance from daylight (5500°K) to Incandescent (3030°K) so the overall scene becomes a cool blue color. With the orange colored CTO Warming Gel placed over each SB-900, the color of light now illuminates my subject back to a slightly warmed daylight, with an almost “golden hour” color.

For those of you who have never used a CTO get, it is simply a filter designed to change the color temperature (Kelvin) that is placed over the daylight-balaced Speedlight. In the case of Orange CTO filters, it is for a warming effect or to match to Tungsten and/or Incandescent lighting.

Keep in mind that when you place the CTO Warming Gels on a Speedlight the amount of illumination hitting the subject is reduced. To compensate, I increased the power output of each Speedlight to effectively reveal (illuminate) my subject from the underexposed scene.

Mastering sports action lighting with Speedlights and High Speed Sync will require experimentation and practice, but I encourage you to strive to make this very dynamic and stylized lighting technique part of your lighting skill set.

Dave Black is a Nikon Ambassador.

See more of his work on his ambassador page.

Welcome to
Nikon Learn & Explore

We've made it easy to find all the videos, tutorials &
stories you care about, get tips and advice from pros,
learn new shooting techniques, discover classes and
workshops—in short, help you find new inspiration
every time you visit. (And we hope you visit often.)

Get the Learn & Explore iPhone App

Access all the photography techniques, advice and inspiration of Nikon's Learn & Explore anytime, anywhere with the free app for iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad®.
photo of two iPhones with the Nikon L&E app on the screens

Take Today's Poll

Make your opinion count and check back often to participate in new polls.

Attend Nikon School

Take your photographic knowledge to the next level; get a working understanding of your camera's features; learn how to create DSLR videos; discover how to edit your images using Capture NX2 software and more.

Nikon School logo and Brian Skerry underwater photo of fish on a reef

Subscribe to the
L&E e-Newsletter

And get great tips and techniques to try next time you go shooting!

L&E e-newsletter examples graphic

Learn photo & video terms!

Learn & Explore features an expansive glossary of over 800 photographic terms. Visit the L&E glossary to learn about specific Nikon camera features or more general photographic or video terms and definitions. Browse the glossary by letter, number or icon.
glossary graphic