Flash photography is the use of a camera flash bulb in a variety of possible situations where there doesn’t seem to be enough light.
But there are many other situations where the flash could be used, such as using fill-flash when the background is brighter than the subject, using the flash to light up a room and creating better coloring, or using the flash to freeze a moving object in a dark situation. In typical indoor situations there will probably not be enough light to take a normal hand-held well-exposed photo. In order to take effective indoor flash photos there are some techniques you should keep in mind. This would normally create somewhat of a silhouette effect, but a fill flash would balance the photo nicely. Many cameras have a red-eye reduction mode where the flash may fire before the picture is taken in order to cause the subjects’ pupils to contract. A slow sync flash is for more complicated exposures and is used commonly to create blurry long exposures. Many photographers also choose to bounce the flash off a wall or ceiling to get a softer, diffused kind of light commonly sought after for portraits. Practice using flash in your photos even when it is not necessarily needed and pay attention to your results.
We are always looking for more interesting and insightful photography tips and techniques to share with our readers. Although the flash unit itself is a relatively small light source, it will cover a wide area of a wall and ceiling. To create a portrait with the bounce technique, I generally tilt the flash unit to hit the ceiling and wall as I visualize a large softbox there, at the traditional portrait lighting angle, to my subject.
You can even angle your flash up and behind you to fill a small to normal-size room up with beautiful light. Something most people don’t realize is that light comes out of your flash unit in a wide pattern, not in a straight beam. When bouncing your flash, at certain angles close to that perpendicular plane, direct light will hit your subject.
To eliminate this effect, you can place a small piece of opaque material or black foam just long enough to block the direct part of the light from hitting your subject. The size of your light source, relative to your subject, affects the overall look of the picture. We’ve already discussed how bouncing your light off a wall and ceiling will make the relative size of the light illuminating your subject larger. Indoors, a bounce card like this has the added benefit of throwing light onto your subject from two directions, forward and bounced off the ceiling. Through-The-Lens (TTL) mode, on the other hand, puts the flash unit’s output under the control of the camera and flash.
TTL can be used in just about every shooting situation including shooting in your camera’s manual mode, outdoors, and even when using bounce techniques.
When you’re ready, you might want to learn more advanced techniques using Flash Exposure Compensation and general Exposure Compensation controls in conjunction with TTL flash. You’ll usually need to work with higher shutter speeds if normal sync at your chosen aperture and ISO will result in overexposure of the ambient lighted portions of the image.
DSLRs have the advantage of overall color control via the white balance (WB) setting you use.
But there are times when you want to make sure the light coming off your flash unit is close to the same color as the ambient light.
Again, you’ll likely get the best results if you adjust WB during post processing, but this way the images will have a more consistent color throughout. To bring your flash into the tungsten range of color for most ambient situations, you can use a Color Temperature Orange (CTO) filter over the flash lens. Even if your camera has a preset flash mode for achieving this effect, I strongly recommend switching over to the camera’s manual mode. Become a Contributor: Check out Write for DPS page for details about how YOU can share your photography tips with the DPS community.
Get the speedlight closer to the axis of the lens opening rather than 9″ above it where most speedlights live.
As to switching over to manual mode to control ambient light, a quick, and less precise shortcut is to adjust the flash power using the camera’s Flash Exposure Compensation if it is so equipped. It will be great to have an article on speedlights, their features, advantages, and differences.
There is so much information and thoughts on taking photos and lenses and ways to setup lights, but really little information on flashes, and strobes. Thank you, this article reminded me that when I do use on camera flash, I do not use my HONL accessories enough, nor my gels enough. In my eBook (mentioned above) all of this is discussed in detail, including a strategy to make it all very easy, virtually foolproof, to control.
However, kind of in line with point 2, you can do a little bit of light redirection (at the expense of some of the flash’s intensity — not a great problem with most onboard units) with the use of white card angled in front of the unit. However, it’s still definitely worth getting a dedicated and detachable flash unit, then you have the options of all sorts of angles. This is an extremely helpful article for photographers who use natural light as a primary light source. Now position yourself so that there’s a wall on the left or right of your subject (a light-colored or white wall works best).


The tilt function is combined with the swivel function to aim your speedlight in exactly the direction that you want. Hi there, I just want to say many thanks for the excellent information on portrait photography.
The most common use of flash photography is group portraits at gatherings where there is not enough light to take a satisfactory exposure. The reason it would come out blurry is because the shutter would be open long enough for any minor hand shake to distort the composition.
When using the flash do not point it directly at a mirror or glass that will create a lens flare or just ruin the photo. Fill flash can be used for sunny day portraits for shadows on a subject’s face or to fill any shaded area that is out of the sunlight. In order for this technique to work, you must be careful to stay in flash range, which is usually around four to ten feet. The red-eye reduction modes in newer cameras are surprisingly effective and many work in different ways to contract pupils.
The flash fires at the beginning of the exposure, but the shutter still stays open for a moment after the flash has fired. This kind of flash technique requires a flash that can be aimed in a direction that the camera is not pointed. The best way to become better at flash photography is to analyze your photos and try to figure out what you could have done differently in order to create a better flash-filled exposure. In this article, Verosky offers up eight useful tips for anyone wanting to get better portraiture results with on-camera flash. And there’s no need to purchase expensive attachments to modify your light, because everything you need is already there. Indoors, a typical room with light-colored walls and ceilings will provide you with all the bounce surfaces you need to make beautiful pictures. This technique is very versatile as it can give you everything from very dramatic split-lighting to soft, even illumination.
While most of the light is focused forward, there is a good amount actually spilling out perpendicular to the flash head lens. This is generally because a larger light source will create a smoother transition between light and shadow, or what you might call softer light. The camera and flash essentially work together to decide how much light the flash emits in order to properly expose the subject. Since TTL can make life a whole lot easier for you, especially in fast-moving shooting situations, there’s no reason not to use it extensively for on-camera flash work. These controls allow you to make easy adjustments to flash and overall exposure while still letting the TTL system do most of the thinking for you.
This can happen easily in outdoor portrait situations, where the ambient background is rather bright, and you’d like a little fill flash on your subject. This will ensure that most of the light in your images are in the same ballpark, color temperature-wise. Set your camera’s WB to tungsten, if you like, and fine tune the WB in post as necessary. This happens when the camera is exposing well enough for the flash illuminated subject, but not enough environment light is being recorded. This will allow you to manually determine slower shutter speeds to achieve exactly the amount of ambient light you want for the image. Regular TTL should still be employed in order for the camera and flash to make a good determination about the exposure of the subject (what the flash is concerned with).
This will make it cast a less obvious shadow under the chin and can even look more like a high-fashion light. When using flash straight on for fill light on close subjects I always have FEC turned way down. I find understanding flash photography quite a challenge as some of the tips mentioned here are quite complicated for a newbie like me. My next purchase is a flash and some simple tricks with rubber bands and cardboard are welcome! I have a speedlight flash and have been wanting to learn how to use it to its full potential. Since there are often times when there isn’t enough light (especially indoors), these tips are incredibly useful.
Never big on flash photography, but with eight simple tips you have made the task less daunting. This creates a wrap-around light that covers your subject very evenly, eliminating most shadows. This is found on your speedlight itself, where you can adjust it so that it shows +1, you can fine-tune it so that the exposure on your subject’s face is correct.
The trick is to aim the speedlight so that it fires at a wall which will bounce light back onto your subject. This is because a larger light source wraps around your subject and softens the transition between the highlights and the shadows. The use of a tripod or higher ISO (or faster film) will probably be needed but many of us do not regularly carry a tripod.
With common cameras, in order to add fill flash to a photo, just toggle the flash to go off when it normally would not be needed.


It takes practice to refine this technique but many professionals come to use this method almost exclusively.
The thing to understand is that your flash unit is just another light source at your disposal.
Using this technique, you can achieve softbox-style lighting, or even very broad lighting, with your flash unit alone.
The subject’s orientation, and the resultant secondary bounce around the room (providing fill light) are the keys to creating the effect you want.
This allows me to maintain consistent manual control of the flash’s output power in relatively static shooting situations, like traditional portraiture. Allowing the ambient light and surroundings to appear in the image will place your subject in context and give the image a sense of atmosphere. You will have to hold it there and use a TTL cord or make some fancy bracket out of palm-fronds and snot (or whatever you happen have handy). If you point your flash straight up and use a white card or if you angle your flash to bounce off a wall or ceiling, is there any exposure compensation involved? Useful for some outdoor shooting where flash power isn’t of great concern and your subjects are relatively close. If your camera is in manual mode, you can control the flash exposure (subject) and the ambient independently, quite easily via a simple shutter speed adjustment.
The tips you gave here are great, I’m especially happy to see that I can get a soft box-like effect with it by merely using a bounce card.
A bit of time and experimenting gives interesting results with close up multiple flash units, particularly on insects and other small objects. You might have also heard that a speedlight (external flash unit) will improve your pictures dramatically.
In this mode, your speedlight measures the amount of light coming in through your lens, and releases the appropriate amount of flash power when you press the shutter button. The speedlight will now be aimed at the nearby wall, while your DSLR is aimed at your subject. The further the wall is from your speedlight, and the further the wall is from your subject, the more you’ll need to compensate. What you are referring to is an accessory flash, or external flash, or even a hot-shoe flash. Sure, everyone can get a half decent shot about half of the time by relying on the built-in meter and auto-exposure system, but the results will be disappointing as often as not. Try to make sure your main subjects are about the same distance away from the flash as each other or some that are closer to the flash will appear brighter than ones that are farther away. Or the slow sync flash could capture a sunset and freeze a closer subject that is moving through the frame. Because the light being directed toward your subject is at least twice as large as the face of the flash, you’ll get that much more surface area coverage.
When shooting indoors, for example, you are free to shoot at any appropriate shutter speed UP TO your normal flash sync speed limit.
David Hobby wrote a similar tip a few days ago as well, if that helps validate this practice some of us have been using for a coon’s age.
What I mean is, by not shooting directly at the subject, would I have to open up a half or full stop or is this all speed of light stuff and no matter what angle or how many bounces the light makes it (the light) would get there at the same time anyway? This is to harness the combined surfaces of these 2 planes and channel the light onto your subject. I know it seems like I’m splitting hairs here, but using the proper terminology helps make things more clear. As with so many things in life, there is a right way and a wrong way to work with you camera’s flash. Or you may just want to cast light on certain objects in a lighted room that appears too dark for an exposure. In a backlit situation there will be a lot of light in the background but no or little light cast on the front of the subject. There are countless situations where a slow sync flash could possibly be used to enhance an exposure.
This usually results in more pleasing illumination if you’re not too far away from your subject. But when you need a little extra here and there, it’s nice to know you can always slap on that flash and get great shots on demand. The goal is to achieve directional light, which means that there is a nice balance of shadow and highlight, due to the light coming from a specific direction. Since this post discusses on-camera flash, we will not include off-camera flash techniques, which can also be used to produce softer, directional light. There are also other versions of the sync flash such as the rear sync flash (where the flash fires at the end of an exposure) or the stroboscopic flash (where the flash fires multiple times throughout an exposure). They are not miracle machines, because you need to be able to use them correctly to get professional-looking results.
Second Curtain Flash TechniqueYour flash system may let you choose whether the flash goes off at the beginning of the exposure (‘first curtain’) or at the end of the exposure (‘second curtain’).



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Comments to «Tips flash photography indoors»

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