My Flash is too bright!

Help! My flash is too bright! Michael, I am doing what you say; and I am using TTL; and yet I get shots like this from my on-camera flash – way over-exposed:

What am I doing wrong?

A-ha. Look at the back of your flash, if it is a high-end unit like my 580 EX flash. And you will see something like this (and an SB-900, for example, would do the same):

That flash says “with the current settings, and the flash aimed ahead, you can take pictures roughly from 2 meters to 18 meters distance”. You see, there is a minimum power setting. And hence a minimum distance.

Which in this example means you cannot take pictures of an object (or a person) 1 meter away. The picture will be overexposed if you try!


  1. Pay attention to this warning!
  2. And when needed to get closer, use a lower ISO!
  3. Or use a smaller aperture (larger F-number).

Simple, once you know. Just like brain surgery.

(Bonus point if you know how much overexposed the image will be at 1m. Answer: Twice the distance is 4x the light, hence 2 stops over).


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