A little while ago Digital Photo asked me to do a story on flash, and one topic that comes up all the time is manual versus TTL flash. There are two schools of thought, and very passionate opinions on which is best. Honestly, I’m less worried about what is best versus what works. If you swear by manual, that’s great, then use it. If you think TTL is awesome, perfect, fire in that mode. The bottom line is if it works for you, then use it. Be open to new technique and technology, but don’t let tech hinder creativity.
I see advantages and disadvantages to both techniques; I shoot in both TTL and manual flash, it depends on the situation. And I never thought I would use TTL flash on a strobe, but fast moving portraits with the ELB 500 in Bhutan changed my mind. To learn more about these techniques, check out the new issue of Digital Photo on newsstands now. A digital version should be posted soon.
The image at top was taken using TTL mode with the ELB500. To produce shade and eliminate glare, we used a ‘sun swatter’ as an overhead silk. We were moving from one location to the next, and I never metered my flash output. I just set my manual exposure, turned on the flash and fired in TTL mode. This mode produced perfect exposures for the entire shoot, no matter how close or far the flash was from my subject.