Flash Tutorial – High Speed Sync with Godox Flash

I’ve started experimenting with high speed sync for my skateboarding photography.

Photo of Marlene holding her camera with a flash mounted on top

What is High Speed Sync?

High speed sync has to do with using a flash to add extra light onto your subject.

  • This is sometimes called fill flash.
  • The main light is the sun and you fill in the shadows by adding fill light to brighten up the photo.

High speed sync (sync = synchronization) means that you use shutter speeds higher than the default maximum flash settings of your camera.

  • In the case of the Lumix G9, the default maximum shutter speed for normal flash use, is 1/250s
  • Your camera may have a different native maximum sync speed
  • In high speed sync mode, you can boost the shutter speed higher than the default
  • This higher shutter speed does come with a cost though, it’s hard on the flash unit and may affect the life span of the unit
photo of girl getting air out of the skatepark

This photo uses flash. Shot using Lumix G9 and 12-35mm lens. This photo: 12mm focal length. ISO 200. Shutter 1/1600s. f/5.6

When to use high speed sync:

  • Typically you’ll use high speed sync when shooting outdoors on a bright day
  • You can also use it on overcast days when your subject doesn’t have enough light on it
  • If you have a fast moving subject, and want to freeze the action by using a fast shutter speed
  • If you don’t use a fast shutter speed, the subject may be blurred
  • If you want to use a faster shutter speed than the maximum default, then you need to set up high speed sync
  • You can use flash to fill in the shadows if shooting a backlit subject
skateboarder flying out of the bowl

Example of using fill flash on a sunny day. Lumix G9 and 7-14mm lens. This photo: 7mm. ISO 200. Shutter speed 1/2000s and f/5.0

How to find your maximum default flash sync speed

  1. Turn on your built-in flash or attach an external flash
  2. Put your camera in Shutter Priority mode (Tv, S on the mode dial)
  3. Increase the shutter speed until it reaches the maximum (see 3:15 in the video below)
  4. When it won’t go any higher, then that’s your max shutter speed.
  5. In my case it was 1/250s

Godox Flash

I recently purchased a Godox V860II Flash and the XIT trigger for my Lumix G9 camera.

This YouTube video covers my tests with the Godox flash using high speed sync.

When to use High Speed Sync

When I’m shooting outdoors I try to position my subjects with the available light in mind. The simplest way to do that is to have the light shining on the front of them.

But I don’t mind positioning my subject between me and the sun either. But that usually ends up with the subject being backlit. You can edit your shots in software, or if you use a flash you can fill in the darker shadow side.

Backlit photo of skateboarder

This photo shows an extreme example of a backlit subject. Camera Lumix G9 with 7-14mm lens at 7mm. ISO 200. Shutter speed 1/2000s and f/5.6.

Do you need to use high speed sync?

I’m used to shooting rapid burst modes so I don’t miss any action. I can capture exactly what I need to using the regular Lumix G9 Burst mode of 12 FPS. But sometimes the light isn’t right, and that’s when I add the flash.

When you use high speed sync, you only get one chance

  • Recycle time is 1.5 seconds on this Godox flash.
  • You need to learn the timing of your sport and of your camera.
  • Not sure if it’s just me or if I’m trigger happy. Several times pressed the shutter button too soon and missed the peak action.

You may need several hours of practice before you get the timing right, depending on the sport you’re shooting.

flash photo of skateboarder

Using high speed sync fill flash on an overcast day allows you to take advantage of interesting cloud formations. This photo was shot using the Lumix G9 and 7-14mm lens. 7mm. ISO 200. Shutter speed 1/1250s at f/4.0.

Do you still need to edit your photos if you use fill flash?

That depends.

  • As much as I like to get things right in-the-camera, as a starting point, I still like to edit my photos so I can make them stand out in the crowded eyeball space.
  •  I use either in Lightroom or Luminar, or both for editing.

I want my photos to look spectacular, and if that means I need to edit them, then I will.

More info on Luminar and the new Luminar 4. If you wish to purchase Luminar, use my coupon code: imagemaven for $10 off.

Luminar 4 Pre-order

What are your favourite ways to use High Speed Sync?

Let me know in the comments below.