How much power do you actually need? – Understand your flash power requirements

Flash companies are coming up with new technologies and improved flash units everyday. There are so many options in the market for Flashes. From all those options which is the best flash for your work and what power you should go with is really a confusing decision, thus I have listed all the things you should consider before deciding the flash power your need .

Flash Power

When ever you go buy a flash , what you see is how powerful it is. Have you ever consider the minimum power while buying your flashes? If No is your answer than you are buying your flashes all wrong. Because so many times the minimum flash power plays a big role in your photography.

Flash Power
Shot with minimum power settings on our flash units

Why to use Flash power on minimum settings?

As you see, in this images there is a very shallow DOF effect which gives you good connection with our model’s eyes. Creating such images without flash is always easy, but you will never have the light control you need with natural lights. Thus we use artificial lights, so we have more control on direction. But for creating such DOF you need a flash to fire on very minimal flash power. So for this any day i would suggest flashes such as Canon 430, Godox 860, Profoto A1 as they all are around 70 Watts, so they can fire on a very low power and gives you just the right amount of power you need for such shots.

The Bigger The Better

While i am showing you the benefits of buying less powerful lights, I am not even denying the requirement of high power units such as Godox 600AD pro, Profoto B1x or Broncolor Siros for your outdoor sunny day shoots. As much as you will need some low power flashes for your indoor studio works, you will sure need the powerful flash units for your outdoor wide angle fashion shots.

Flash Power
Shot with 2 flash units with 400 watts power and sun working as key light in the image

As the image given above requires to cover a long Dynamic Range. We used 2 flash units outputting 400 watts power on our Model Sara. For shots like this you really need powerful lights. So all those mono heads such as GODOX 600AD pro, Profoto B1x or Broncolor Siros units are a must buy for these kind of shots.

Easy guide for a smart buy

Flash Watts

Where to use

Speedlights 70 watts, such as Godox 860, Canon 430, Profoto A1

Good for Indoor Shallow DOF portraits and Basic outdoor Portrait shots

Units with 200 watts, such as Godox Ad 200 pro

Good for Indoor and Basic outdoor Portrait shots and some full body shots depending on the time of the day

Units with 400 watts or above, such as Godox Ad 400 pro, Godox Ad 600 pro, Profoto B1x, Broncolor Siros

Good for Indoor, but not for very shallow DOF shots. A must buy units for full body outdoor shots.

This is just 10% discussion of what actually can be discussed on buying or understanding the flashes. As lot of things matters for making the right decision for buying the right flashes. Your shooting style, time of the day, shot styles, distance, modifiers, weather and much more are there to consider when you are selecting your lighting gear.

I know many of you will still have questions for buying the right flash system for your use, but a good news for you guys is, we have a ASK US option available on our blog menu. Where you can ask us any questions regarding anything about photography. You can access our ASK US feature by clicking here. It is FREE registration and we are going to keep it FREE forever.

12 responses to “How much power do you actually need? – Understand your flash power requirements”

  1. Im confused sir. I really loved your work and u inspired me but i need some suggestions regarding the outdoor light .which light you use while shooting .Plz help me with this.??

    • Please ask your questions only on our ASK US feature on our blog. But for your answer i use different companies canon speedlites, elinchrom and profoto lights

  2. Hey sir!

    We just talked via Insta so i am writing all my light related doubts here.

    Sir i am a budding Fashion Photographer and an AD film maker. I use Nikon D3400 (i may upgrade soon) with18-55cm and 50mm 1.8, till now i was working with natural light but now i am willing to take one step up in fashion.

    Hence please suggest me an affordable light set up for outdoor fashion photography.

    Sir i am not someone with loads of money so i am trying to buy something that may be used for multipurpose like a flash used with softbox can be used for fashion it can also be used as on camera flash in events. My first priority is fashion only). Or is there any light which i can use in fashion and ad films as well. Also elaborate do i need to buy magmod ? If yes, is Digitech Magmod good enough ?

    I may also upgrade my camera so also guide me how many things i have to change in my this set up to make the set up compatible with my new camera. 

    • Hey thanks for your question

      Well first of all you are asking me to give you some superpowers, lolz i mean see there is no flash which will work for everything. I mean you need to priorities according to your budget and your use. If you want to use on camera flash which is good for events and at the same time for some outdoor fashion shoots then you should buy Godox860. Now with that flash you get very less power which i think can be a problem to you shooting outdoor full body shots. So for outdoor my preference is to go for Godox400ADPRO. But as AD400 is a big studio kind of unit you can not use it for bouncing on camera.

      So solution for your query is, for on camera flash you can buy a simple Godox 520 kind of flash which will cost very less. And for your outdoor usage buy a flash which gives you good power, such as Godox Ad400. And about your new camera well my preference is always canon. But if you wanna stick to your nikon then you need to go for any good full frame body. But make sure that you need to select the brand first then buy gears as the triggers are gonna be as per the brands.

  3. I had short conversation on instagram with you sir !
    I’m impressed and a fan of your photography. I would like to learn a portrait photography at your studio,
    I’m not professionally certified but I’ve those skills and i would love to get trained with you further.
    would byou please help me with it !

    Thank you.

  4. I have read about flash power and I am confused as I read the Profoto B10’s which are 250w are almost has powerful as 500w heads.

    Sometimes watt output doesn’t reflect the true output?

    • Michael you are simply getting confused between two different profoto heads. PROFOTO B10 AND PROFOTO B1O PLUS .
      Profoto b10 comes with 250 Ws power and Profoto b10 plus comes with 500 Ws power. The power never can be more then what the heads claims to be. So I hope your doubts are now clear.

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