Over the days leading up to the 25th of December I’d like to give something to everyone who stops by my blog. These tips cover camera settings, flash, lighting, software and gear. I’ll be providing a pair of tips each day until 25th December.

#15 – Highlight alert – the ‘blinkies’

highlight alert

Highlight alert shows you which parts, if any, of your photo are pushing the boundaries of overexposure. The mid-range EOS 80D and more professional models have a menu option to enable highlight alert. Once set, the highlight at or near overexposure blink on any of the playback displays.

highlight alert info

For other more basic cameras, the highlight alert is still available, it’s automatically shown when you select the histogram info display, as above, that’s the only one that shows the “blinkies”.

Shoot RAW, try the Neutral Picture Style

The histogram and highlight alert is created from the JPEG image that you’ve captured, or is stored in the RAW file. With RAW files, you have a little more headroom in post processing, an can recover more details from the highlight. To get a histogram and highlight alert that better represents your RAW image, it is better to set your camera to use the Neutral Picture Style. Neutral is a very flat, low contrast picture style, and so preserves highlights better than other Picture Styles.

highlight alert comparison

You can test this for yourself if your camera has RAW processing capability. In this example I took a RAW image and made sure to overexpose it with the flash, so some highlights blink. Then I processed the file in the camera with different Picture Styles; Standard and Neutral in the examples above. You can see the amount of highlight alert is much less for the neutral Picture Style.

#16 – Secure your Speedlite on a light stand

speedlite mount

This is the collection of standard items I use to securely mount my Speedlite on a light stand. I have tried various devices to mount a Speedlite on a light stand, this one has stood the test of time – and many shoots. It is relatively compact, and lightweight and doesn’t break the bank.

The three elements are a Manfrotto 014 stand adapter, Novoflex Neiger 19 ball head, and the Frio cold shoe (all from Amazon). Buy the bits, screw them together and use it for “ever”.

The Frio cold shoe might be the hardest part to source, as the company that originally sold them is no longer trading, but I have seen them offered from several photo dealers and also Amazon prior to writing this. Actually the Novoflex 19 ball head comes with a cold shoe, I just wanted something a bit stronger. The Manfrotto 014 stand adapter comes in two sizes, 1/4″ and 3/8″. The Novoflex ball had has a 3/8″ hole in the base, and comes with a 3/8″ to 1/4″ adapter screw, so either the 1/4″ or 3/8″ adapter work fine.

One additional capability is that the stand adapter can be fitted sideways to the stand, so that it points out at 90 degrees rather straight up. I use this when I need a light coming straight down, or at a steep angle and want to get the flash further away from the stand. If you’d like a look at some of the other items I use then read on…



Here’s a few more festive fifty tips

Festive fifty – day #11
Festive fifty – day #17
Festive fifty – day #22
Festive fifty – day #10

About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag