by Ricky Davies at PictureCorrect
If you already own a DSLR camera then you are halfway there to capturing some beautiful images. However having a camera alone isn’t going to make you an excellent photographer. Knowing how to use the camera on the other hand will. In this article I am going to discuss how to use on camera flash to get some pretty excellent results.
The great thing about having a flash gun is that their much cheaper than purchasing lenses with a low aperture. Now low aperture lenses are great and I have a few in my line up but there’s only so much a low aperture lens can do and without light you can’t capture any images at all.
Now as many of you know I’m a Canon shooter so I would recommend either of these flashes:
- Canon 430 EX II Speedlite (expensive but not too expensive)
- Yongnuo 456 (Chinese product but does the job)
The two above flashes are excellent products. If you can afford the Canon 430 ex II Speedlite then get this one as it has a better build quality than the Yongnuo. However having said that there is nothing wrong with the Yongnuo 460 and you can probably buy 3 of these things for the canon equivalent.
If you already have a flash then great, if not look into getting either of the above as the built in flash already on your camera is pretty much a waste of time. The images will look rubbish and the results will be unflattering.
Indoor Flash Techniques
The reason why I recommended both flashes above was that they have the ability to tilt and swivel the main head. Other flashes are fixed and I really don’t see the point in these flashes at all. If you have a fixed flash then sell it now because you are ruining your chances to taking good on camera flash photos.
Now let’s say the flash is mounted to your camera and you’re shooting in landscape mode. The most unflattering shot to take in this instance is to point your flash head straight at the subject and fire off a shot. If you don’t believe me then take the shot yourself. You should notice that the image looks washed out and your subject will have a deer in the headlight look to them. Not good at all!
If you have a white wall available you will want to turn your flash head to face this wall. A ceiling is just as good. Turn your flash head so that it is facing against the wall/ceiling and then point your camera at the subject. Take your shot.
You should notice that there aren’t any harsh shadows on your image. This is because the white wall has now diffused the light which in turn has created a much softer and natural light.
No wall/Ceiling available
Now in some instances in my case quite a lot there won’t be a white wall to bounce light off upon. So what do you do in these instances? Well don’t worry I’m going to tell you. You need a light diffuser to create the same effect.
Stofen Omni Bounce
The most common light diffuser for a Speedlite is a Stofen Omni Bounce. One of my friends describes them to tupperware but they do actually do a job. You simply put the Stofen on top of your flash and once again point the flash head up in a vertical position and fire away.
The only thing about the Stofen that I don’t like is that it wastes flash energy by throwing light in all different directions which sometimes is an unwanted effect. For this reason I often use the following product.
Gary Fong Diffuser
Now I have no idea who Gary Fong is but I’m guessing he is a photographer, because the product he came up with would only be thought of by a photographer. The Gary Fong diffuser is a little weird to look at but I swear by its results. The Gary Fong is a much larger diffuser than the Stofen Omni Bounce so it gives better results.
Images taken with the Gary Fong produce less harsh shadows and because of the way the product is designed no light gets wasted.
The Free way
Now I have no idea what this diffuser is called, I simply call it a bounce card but I’m unsure if this is technically correct. These bounce cards though are an excellent way to diffuse light if you’re on a budget.
When I first started shooting weddings people were a bit worried that I was shooting them using a card on my flash, however I believe my results speak for themselves.
About the Author
Learn how to make your own Flash Bounce Cards. You can also find more free DSLR Tips by visiting my camera tutorial website.
- Understanding Flash Photography (sundayphotographer.wordpress.com)
- Flash Photography: all the secrets in a ebook (pixiq.com)
- The 7 Deadly Sins of Indoor Photography (kozar.wordpress.com)