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Let There Be Light – About Flash

15Apr
  • Let There Be Light – About Flash

Although I state in one of my previous posts that an external flash is a must-have for photographer, as funny as it may sound I did not pick one up until recently. Before acquiring my flash, I had to rely on natural light and high ISO to illuminate the subject and the environment. Sometimes it works just fine, but there were multiple instances where the lighting is so bad that a dedicated light source is required. There are several ways to illuminate the subjects, and, as a photographer, you may use the built-in flash, an external flash, or studio lighting gears to help you get enough light in the frame.

Today, almost every camera comes with built-in flash. This type of camera flash is small enough to be placed on top of the camera body, and its weight can barely be felt by photographers. When shooting photos, they provide some light to illuminate all objects in close proximity to the camera, and many non-photographers use it. The photographers, on the other hand, tend to stay away from it because the built-in flash is fixed in one direction, forcing photographers to shoot with light directly on the subject’s face. This results in very unnatural and harsh light on the subject.

Most photographers prefer external flash for its power and ability to adjust the angle and direction of which the light is directed. In most cases, photographers would direct the flash at a wall or the ceiling, and illuminate the subject and the immediate surrounding by allowing the light to bounce off the wall or ceiling. This technique creates a more natural and subtle lighting in the frame, allowing the subject to stand out from the background while not too terribly illuminated. Be aware that light bounced off the wall will carry the color of the wall. If you are shooting in next to a blue wall, the light bounced off the wall is blue and the subject’s face may have a slight blue coloration. In this situation, you may use a reflector to bounce the light.

You also have the option to go with studio lighting gears such as studio umbrella or lighting box. However, while they are not as expensive as a good external flash, they are cumbersome to carry around and may require a constant power source. They are designed for shooting at fixed location, providing significant amount of light from different direction to illuminate the subject and does not offer much in mobility.  Therefore, unless you are a professional photographer and make your living with your camera, these gears are not meant for you.

Do you own any of these gears? Is there anything I did not cover? Please share your thought by leaving comments below.

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