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Controlling the flash

A studio flash head will usually offer a few simple controls. First, there’s the output setting. This controls the strength of the light. Many monoblocks have a range between 1.0 and 6.0. Each number represents one stop of light, so the maximum output of 6.0 could equally be thought of as 1/1 power, while the minimum output of 1.0 is effectively 1/32 power (although some heads will go lower than this). Of course, the strength of this maximum and minimum output will vary depending on the power of the unit and whether a light modi er is fitted.

Among the other controls there’s usually a button that switches the recycling beep on or off. This tells us when the heads are fully recycled and ready to fire (it usually takes half a second or so). The other useful control is an optical slave mode. Enable this on our second light and it’ll fire upon detecting the flash from the first.