Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tips for photographers // flash advice for DSLRs

The question for today is, "The flash that comes on a camera is not the best I know. What other flash types are out there, and if you were to buy just one or two, what would cover the bases best?"

First off, before you try and tackle flash photography, I would advise learning your camera really well and becoming very familiar with changing your settings first. Only because if you add extra flashes, that just creates more to think about and more settings to manage if you're already confused about shooting on manual. :)

A great way to learn your camera settings is with our photography 101 & 102 workshops where we talk a lot about camera settings and lighting. Another way to learn your camera is to just switch it to manual, read up in your camera manual, look things up online, or go out there and practice!!  

Ok, let's talk flashes now. Yes, the little pop up flash on your camera is not the best. Sure, it works fine for snapshots and quick lighting when needed, but it's definitely not recommended for evenly exposed and well planned photos. The built in flash doesn't provide much light, its one directional, and it's just guessing what you're photographing (as opposed to attachable flashes where you can manually adjust the settings based on what you're taking a photo of.)

If you're looking to upgrade, start with one speedlite flash. We have the Canon 580 ex ii flashes, which are around $500. Canon and Nikon offer many types of flashes... These just work well for us with the type of work we do.

flash photography

These flashes will help expose your photos in lower light situations. You're also welcome to use these flashes outdoors as a little fill light. In most cases, DO NOT have the flash pointing right at your subject (like it is in the picture above) - anytime you send direct light like that right at someone, it's pretty undiffused, harsh, and creates more washed out faces, shadows, and sharp unwanted lines. By simply facing your flash up slightly or straight up bouncing off the ceiling, your pictures will look SO much better having more diffused light!

flash photography

Here's an example of one speedlite flash, pointed up bouncing off the ceiling:
flash photography

Beyond that, you can continue to add multiple flashes, accompanied by a triggering machanism like Pockettwizard. We use up to 3 off camera flashes, and we have 4 pocketwizards. Having multiple flashes helps with exposure, but it's also fun creative light. (like having it fire in the background)

flash photography
{This post simply contains my own thoughts, ideas, and insights. Each photographer is different, and everyone goes about photography differently. This blog's content is copyright of Memory Montage Photography. Please do not copy or republish this text without written permission to do so. If you would like to share this post, please include a link directly to our blog's URL. Thank you!} 

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