update 2 years(ish) later: please help so i tried this, i took photos with different shutter speeds. I was shooting manual for all photos with f1.8, iso of 200, white balance: Flash, my first shot was 1/200(max i can shoot with flash on) and my camera(or photos) did NOT pick up the flash and so with 1/160, 1/125, 1/100, 1/80, 1/60, 1/50, 1/40, 1/30, 1/25, 1/20, 1/25, 1/13, 1/10, 1/8 .... but anything solwer than 1/8 i was able to see flash on my photos ( 1/6, 1/5, 1/4, 0"3, 0"4...etc) is there anything that I'm missing in flash photography, now i know that sppedsync is important with the camera's shutter and the flash itself. but I'm sure there is a way to shoot at 1/200 with flash. just to clarify again, the flash does fire in all the photos i took but anything faster than 1/8, you wont get your photo lit at all. i will provide the images for 1/8vs 1/6 and just know that in in both images i was able to see the flash firing with my eyes enter image description here enter image description here

I've tried many things: I've changed the flash's batteries and also the camera's batteries, none of them seem the problem. I'm using a Canon t3i and sunpak digiflash 3000. I've tried the internal camera flash and the pics turned out well, but when I connect the sunpak flash and turn it on the image is dark - darker than when there is no flash on at all.

I've tried to take a picture in the mirror while the external flash is on. The flash fired off, but in the picture the flash seems to have no light at all. I'm thinking that the problem should be somewhere between the camera and flash the spot where they connect. Please help I want this problem fixed.

  • 3
    Please post sample photos, along with EXIF data for each of them.
    – Philip Kendall
    Jul 12, 2015 at 19:07
  • What shutter speed are you using?
    – MikeW
    Jul 12, 2015 at 21:13
  • I supose you do see the flash firing when taking the photo.
    – Rafael
    Jul 13, 2015 at 17:01
  • sorry for the super late reply.. but yes, i see the flash firing but playback image is still dark
    – Marvin
    Apr 21, 2019 at 4:45
  • i am shooting in portrait mode, so it sets the shutter automatically
    – Marvin
    Apr 21, 2019 at 4:46

4 Answers 4


Probably your shutter speed is faster than the flash can work at, take your shutter down to 180/sec and try again

  • i tried that its still dark :(
    – Marvin
    Apr 21, 2019 at 4:52

FWIW I had this same problem and the solution was absurdly simple: I needed to clean the contacts on the top of the camera (hot shoe mount) with a bit of alcohol. Issue instantly resolved.


I have seen this with my Nikon, I cant speak for Canon though.

I had my camera set up in remote commander mode, whereby the flash goes off in order to set off other speedlights, but (when set up as such) does not do a "main" flash itself.

So check your flash settings.


I am unsure of your issue with the different shutter speeds, but the message header said the problem was a dark flash picture, which is very understandable. The flash in the picture is an extremely poor plan in the best case, but this was far from the best case.

  1. If Manual flash mode and camera Manual mode, there is no automation, so choosing correct exposure is YOUR job (which was not done, so no way that is going to work). You cannot expect Manual mode to adjust itself, Manual mode cannot change anything. Manual mode means you are to do it, and set everything proper yourself.

  2. Nothing was metered in Manual mode, but BTW, even if in automated modes, TTL flash exposure metering cannot correctly use Spot mode.

  3. If planning the picture in the mirror, then even in TTL mode, taking a picture of the flash itself is about impossible and doomed. The flash is exceptionally bright, and so metered exposure will be reduced accordingly.

  4. If doing the mirror picture of the camera, then use TTL mode instead for example, and get out of Spot metering mode. Aim the flash head straight up at the ceiling for bounce flash (and try real hard to keep any direct flash brightness unseen by the picture because then the metering of the excessive brightness will shut the exposure down). Then you will see a huge change (without any direct flash in the picture). Camera Manual mode is OK with TTL, TTL flash will still react to it and TTL will adjust the flash power properly (which Manual flash mode can not do).

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