I have a DSLR that was given as a present and I cannot afford a real external flash, however the flash on my phone is powerful enough to use. The reason I wanted to use an external flash is to have multiple flashes in a single frame, and I don't think that's possible with a Nikon D5300's flash.

Is there an android app that I could use to activate the LED for just a short moment?


No. Your phone has no flash. Your phone has a led light that pops when your phone takes a photo, and no. It is not powerful enough to be used as a "flash". (A flash is a strobe light of a fraction of a second, let's say 1/500s or faster, and in some circumstances can overpower the sunlight)

Instead of fooling yourself triggering a phone's "flash", learn how to use continuous light illumination.

Yes, you could use your phone to paint light or use it as another light source. Used like this you could use for example a shutter speed of 1/30 and have a decent result.

But probably it is a good idea to use a desk lamp, for example, or some industrial lights that can be cheap (but can be really hot)

But if you really want to take photography that needs a real flash there are some really cheap options. One used flash and a cable, amazon basics flash, or if you want to be serious Yongnuo flashes or Godox with radio triggers are a solid bet.

If you want to make some stroboscopic effects using multiple lights as I am understanding your project:

1) Prepare a completely dark room. Clear any obstacles to prevent accidents.

2) Put your camera on a shutter speed of 30 secs, (probably you need to set up the focus on manual mode) and have some friend to press the button.

3) Take photos with your phone. It will probably shoot some pre-flashes, or something and move around.

4) Again, you could use any other light source to do this kind of photos.


The flashlight function on a smartphone can also turn the LED on and off, if you're doing long exposures.

You don't have to get a new Nikon SB unit to have a hotshoe flash. More affordable options would include used Nikon SB speedlights, and 3rd-party units. While I would say that maybe those $30 manual-only cheapies on Amazon might not be worth it, there are manual-only hotshoe flashes for off-camera use that are in the $60-$65 price range, and good 3rd-party TTL/HSS alternatives in the $100 price range from brands like Godox and Yongnuo.


Are you trying to trigger your phone's flash when you release the shutter on your camera?

Is the phone's LED stronger when you use it as a flash as opposed to just using it in flashlight mode?

I would just turn on the flashlight and light my subject as I want it then use the camera with the flash on. The shutter will take care of the "short moment" that you're looking for.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.