Twelve Weeks to Better Photos: Week Four, Flash

Well, it was finally warm enough (a nice balmy 48 degrees) to take a couple outdoor photos.  This week’s lesson on flash can be found here.

We’ve been learning about aperture, ISO, and shutter speed, but sometimes you still need to use your flash.  This week’s lesson not only focuses on using your flash indoors  but outside as well.

Tips for using flash

– Make sure your subject is between 6-12 feet away from you. A flash only works so far away (so don’t bother using a flash for things that are off in the distance) and by moving your subject away from you it will make the light less harsh so the people you’re taking pictures of won’t look washed out.
– Move your subject as far away from the wall behind them as possible (that will prevent harsh/giant shadows in the background).
– Turn the flash down. Many cameras will let you reduce the intensity of the flash so it’s not at full force all the time. Try taking it down a few notches.
– To avoid red-eye, have your subject look over your shoulder. It will still appear that they are looking right at the camera, but it will prevent the flash light from bouncing off their retinas and creating red-eye (this really does work!).
– If you’re using an external flash, bounce the light off of the ceiling or a wall instead of pointing the light directly at your subject.
– If you’re using the built-in camera flash, consider investing in (or inventing) something that will redirect or diffuse the light. You can buy something (like a lightscoop or diffuser) or DIY something.  I personally love my lightscoop for indoor shooting.

The Assignment

This week I’m inviting everyone to do TWO challenges: the one found on thsi week’s pdf and a second one I whipped up myself.

Challenge One (from pdf):

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.

Here’s my number 1, starring Mr. Carrot.  All pictures are SOOC.

Gray Day No Flash

Gray Day Fill Flash

I didn’t play with these in photoshop, but just looking at them, I kind of like the first picture (sans flash).  Go figure.

Now, it wasn’t overly sunny out and there were minimal shadows, but I did try again in sort of different lighting…

Shadow No Flash

Shadow Fill Flash

You can definitely see that Mr. Carrot’s left eye is better lit with the fill flash in the second picture.

Challenge Two (from me):

Take your flash indoors and see what happens.  For this challenge I shot with my pop up flash, no flash, my lightscoop, and a DIY index card contraption.  Do you have a favorite of the four?

Flash versus no flash


White Index Card2

Now these are SOOC with no editing.  That being said, I kind of love the picture with the index card best.  Go figure.

I hope you enjoy these challenges and I’ll see you all next week for Lesson 7: Shoot Outdoors… again.



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