BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Jennifer Dent
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/7/2007
 

Flash Photography Help


I went out with friends last night and we were in a dimly lit bar. All my pictures come out blurry. I tried not to use flash because I prefer pictures without it. I had the ISO as high as it would go. So, against my better wishes, I tried to use the flash on my camera (Canon Rebel Xti), but I don't like it ... it is so harsh and people made comments about how bright it was. What other flashes do you suggest? Thanks in advance.


To love this question, log in above
11/28/2009 10:16:40 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
4-Week Short Course: Getting Started in Commercial Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
 
 
  As a Strobe Accessory
As a Strobe Accessory
Bounce fill and a somewhat larger light source.
© John H. Siskin
john-siskin.com
4-Week Short Course: Getting Started in Commercial Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
Kodak DCS 14N Digi...
 
 
Hi Jennifer,
You could buy a dozen camera mount flashes and not solve your problem. It is not the flash. It is how you use it. If you light a room with a little tiny light source just above your eyes, it will always look bad. Now the built-in flash canít really do anything else, but if you get something like a Canon 580ex II, you will have some of the same problems.
Several things can help:
- First, you could bounce the flash off the ceiling. This means that the light will come from above and from a lot larger area, looks way better. This wonít work with a dark or colored ceiling, however.
- Alternatively, you could put a device on the flash that would make the light source larger and spread the light around more of the room. Spreading the light causes some of it to bounce back to the subject, so you get a lot of fill. This means the light is less harsh. I have recommended many devices for this over the years, but I am now suggesting a shoe cover. You can get a couple of these at Lowe's or other hardware or home improvement store for less than $5. If you use these, or devices like the Lumiquest or Cloud, both cost more than my shoe cover, be sure not to cover your sensor.
I wrote about the shoe cover at my blog a couple of weeks ago; check out www.siskinphoto.com/blog
Thanks,
John


To love this comment, log in above
11/28/2009 10:42:02 AM

 
Jennifer Dent
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/7/2007
  Hi! Thanks for responding!

Would this fit on the tiny flash on top of my camera? I have a slave flash I can mount on my camera, but the shoe cover looks pretty big. I'm not sure that would work ... or would it?


To love this comment, log in above
11/28/2009 11:01:47 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
4-Week Short Course: Getting Started in Commercial Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
  Hi Jennifer,
It wouldn't fit on the built-in unit. There are some covers for that unit, but they don't improve the light very much. I believe that Gary Fong makes one. You could tailor the shoe cover to any flash it didn't fit, so it would probably work with the slaved unit. The cover would work with most camera mount strobes.


To love this comment, log in above
11/28/2009 12:15:09 PM

 
Jennifer Dent
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/7/2007
  Thank you!


To love this comment, log in above
11/28/2009 12:40:27 PM

 
Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery
  I used to have the Gary Fong diffuser until it bounced off my flash and into this rushing mountain stream.. but when I had it, it worked great. :-)

You can do a Google Search on "Gary Fong Lightsphere" and find out more.


To love this comment, log in above
11/28/2009 1:15:32 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
4-Week Short Course: Getting Started in Commercial Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
  Hi Ken,
The shoe cover literally costs just pennies, so not a problem if you lose it.
Thanks, John


To love this comment, log in above
11/28/2009 1:39:01 PM

 
Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery
  Thanks, John...but you should have told me that earlier! :-)


To love this comment, log in above
11/29/2009 6:57:14 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
4-Week Short Course: Getting Started in Commercial Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
  Sorry Ken,
I only recently discovered these covers. I used to use those translucent juice bottles. Those worked well, but they didn't collapse.
John Siskin


To love this comment, log in above
11/29/2009 7:04:06 PM

 
Log in to respond or ask your own question.