Monday, January 11, 2010

Lesson 4: Flash

Lesson 4: Flash

I am not a fan of the flash. Before I got my external flash, I tried to avoid the flash all together. However, there are times when the flash is unavoidable!

Most cameras come with a built in flash. This is called an internal flash. You can also get a flash that attaches to the camera. This is called an external flash. For this lesson, I acted as if I only had an internal flash.

Here are some purposefully bad pictures that were taken with the flash.

Basically, if the camera is to close to the subject, the subject will become shiny and/or washed out, and if the subject is too close to a wall, it can create harsh shadows. You want to move away from your subject (the lesson suggests at least 5-6 feet away), and you want to move your subject away from the wall (at least 5-6 feet away).

Another thing to consider when using the flash is glare! I've noticed in pictures of my son that his lips and drool sometimes creates a strong glare. My husbands glasses also create a glare. The lesson had tips to get rid of eyeglasses glare and red eye! You'll have to read the lesson on your own to get those tips. :)

You can even use your flash for good outdoors by using fill flash. "Basically, a fill flash is your normal flash. But in scenarios where you already have ambient light, your flash is merely 'filling in' the areas of your photo that may be shadowed or poorly lit. Here's the important part -- not only is a fill flash helpful on bright, sunny days where your subject is back lit, but it can help 'pop' your colors on gray, overcast winter days."

I've tried practicing fill flash a few times and failed miserably. My "no flash" pictures always look better. A couple times I think I was trying to force a fill flash where one wasn't needed, and other times I was rushed by my husband or son. I am determined to get a good example of fill flash someday.

This weeks challenge was actually to take pictures using fill flash.

1. Use fill flash to "pop" colors on a gray day.

2. Use fill flash to eliminate dark shadows on the face on a bright day.

3. Use fill flash to combat backlighting on a shadowed subject.

I think I succeeded in "popping" the colors, but I'm not sure if I like that picture better.

no flash

fill flash

Here is a little bonus tip/trick/lesson that I picked up from another blog...

One of the benefits of an external flash is the ability to bounce the flash! BUT this can also be done with an internal flash. You could spend $20 and by something called a lightscope, OR you could use a little aluminum foil.

I took a little card that I got in my junk mail from netflix (a credit card or gift card would also work), I wrapped it in aluminum foil, and I held it at an angle in front of my flash. This directs the flash up to to bounce of the ceiling.

I took these next two pictures in a hurry. I think the camera was in portrait mode. The first picture was with the flash, and the second picture was with the flash AND my foil card sending the flash up. Which do you think looks better?

These next three pictures were taken in manual (ISO 800, f/2.2, 1/100).

no flash

flash (-2/3)

flash (-2/3) w/ foil card

ETA: This is what my foil card looks like.


Becca said...

THANK YOU. This was very helpful! I will try it and post about it soon!

Ally said...

Love your "flashcard"! I tried one a while ago and failed. Lightscoop is officially going to be my Valentine's Day gift.