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Photography Question 
A D. Ross

Shadows Created by Flash

Using a direct flash, what techniques or equipment are used to avoid hard shadows on images?

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8/11/2005 8:25:29 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Don't use direct flash. Angle the head to bounce off ceiling, or use "pocket" bouncer/diffuser such as Stofen Omnibounce, various Lumiquest products, Lightsphere II, etc.

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8/11/2005 8:56:32 AM

Michael H. Cothran   If you must have the flash directly on the camera, hard shadows are difficult to avoid. Allowing the ambient light to build is the only real way to eliminate the harsh shadows.
The little soft boxes, reflectors, etc., that attach to the end of the flash are of little use, and do more damage in the way of power loss than they do in diffusing the light. I've got a drawer full of them.
Here's a couple of ways to build up ambient light:
To allow the ambient light to build, you need to slow down your shutter speed. If you are shooting indoors, this is simple. Slow down your shutter to 1/30 or 1/15 for example. Depending on how bright the interior light is will determine the shutter speed, but by allowing this light to build, your shadows will slowly subside.
Outdoors or indoors, you can also set your flash to the "Fill" mode if it is so equipped, or dial down the flash output to maybe -1 or so. Combined with a slower shutter speed, this will do the same thing as I stated above - it will allow the ambient to build, thus reducing the amount of flash needed, which will in turn, reduce the harsh shadows.
Michael H. Cothran

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8/11/2005 11:47:48 AM

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