Let me reiterate a simple flash method for camera-aware (i.e. “grip-and-grin”) people pictures at events (like receptions, parties, etc).
- Set your camera to “manual”.
- Attach your flash.
- Bounce your flash off the ceiling or wall just behind you if you can. If you cannot do this, use a reflector (like a Honl reflector) or worst case a Fong sphere. Think about where you bounce in terms of returned light direction.
- Use a wider angle lens (say 35mm). I love my 35mm prime on the 1Ds for this type of photo.
- Start at these settings: 400 ISO, 1/30th second, f/4
- With those settings, aim at an average part of the room (not dark, not light). Watch your light meter. It should read roughly -2 stops. If it reads more, like zero stops, go to a faster speed. If it reads less, go to a wider aperture (and if you cannot then a higher ISO or even a slow speed).
The result will be good.
Note that you may, in dark environments, have to go to slow speed and wide open aperture even at high ISO.Watch the light meter and aim for -2 stops ambient light when aimed at an average room area. In a dark night club I may occasionally be shooting at f/1.4, 1/15th second, 1600 ISO!