A Word About Flashes

The difference between a snapshot and a photograph, the dead giveaway, is the use of flash. When used correctly, light can make for really dramatic photos. There are times when its just not good though. Flashes on any camera almost always wash out the faces and cast very harsh shadows. I learned a trick a few years ago before I bought a flash, to put a piece of white paper in front of the flash to diffuse the light. They also make things to snap over the flashes but they are a pain.

My main living area space has no real source of natural light. I hated to use the flash but sometimes you have to. It was only when I bought an off board flash that my camera really came alive, I could never get results like the one below with the popup flash:

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And because I bounced light off a white ceiling, I was able to get this shot too:

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You have to have a camera that as a hotshoe mount on the top:


(images courtesy of http://www.best-family-photography-tips.com)

And then you need to buy a flash compatible with your camera. My flash isn’t a Nikon (gasp!) I got my flash from Amazon, by a company called Digital Concepts.

I bought it when I had my d50 but it is still compatible with my d90 and the d3000 that I am reviewing. The flashes come at different power levels and of course price is higher for more power. I use flash only indoors when I have to. I also use rechargeable batteries. My flash pivots at a 90 degree angle so I can pick where I want the light to bounce. I sometimes use it on auto but most of the time its too strong so I use it to 1/4 the power and on this type of flash you just choose mode to get that. These flashes are bright, as in, you will definitely scare babies if you try to aim one of these at them. My favorite place to position it is to direct the light right over my left shoulder, and that produces wonderful results like this:

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When you are thinking about buying a better camera or just looking to get better results from what you have, look into getting yourself an off camera flash. They only cost around 100 bucks for the one I bought. I can tell you right now that unless I am outside, all the product pictures that I post that readers and PR reps rave about, are done with bounced flash. Its definitely one of the best accessories I ever bought for my gear bag! As my photography has grown I have also looked into actual light stands. Click Here Now to check out some light stands and solutions for artificial lighting that isn’t based on flash portable flash units.

About Candace Reid

Candace Reid is the owner and author of My Serendipity Life. She is the mother of 3 and a college graduate having earned her Associates Degree in Business for Hospitality/Food Service Management. an an AAS degree in Photographic Imaging from Lansing Community College. She also loves to blog about food, fun tech and travel. Email Candace

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for the tip! I will be saving my swagbucks for one. I have a great Nikkon, but like you, I have very little natural light in my house. The on-camera flash is way too harsh but I wasn’t sure how the bounce the light effectively.

  2. Thanks Candy! Great tip!

  3. Zenaida Odom says:

    Thank you for that tip. I cannot remove the flash from my present Canon camera, but I will remember this with my next camera purchase.

    • You don’t have to remove it, I have a built in pop up flash in my Nikon as well I just don’t use it. The only exception is when I am out in full sun and people’s faces are in shadows because if it.

  4. Thanks Candy! it is always better to take advice from a person with experience the pic looks good… hate flash ………

  5. Thanks for this advice. I own a simple Nikon Coolpix and did not start getting interested in photography until a year ago, when my daughter was born, but now I am really considering doing this as a freelancer, but I realize I need a better camera and to learn as much as possible about lighting.

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