..or use high ISO. When you take pictures in a restaurant with dark high ceilings and walls – nothing much to bounce off – you get bad pictures – the flash pictures love to hate.
Even when you use a Gary Fong Lightsphere:
Better, but clearly not panacea, then: this light is not ideal. Harsh shadows, flat light, unflattering skin.
So under those circumstances, it is OK to use very high ISO. 1600 ISO at f/4 at 1/60th second, with a bit of bounce (even high, far walls and ceilings will bounce something back), gives me this:
Better, and perfectly OK for large prints, and it avoids that clearly “flashy” look.
You can also use a slow shutter speed (on Nikon cameras, engage “Slow Flash”; on Canon cameras this is normal in Av mode).
Doesn’t bouncing the flash off a coloured wall give a colour cast to the photo? Did you have correct the second photo in Lightroom?
The wall behind me was off-white, if I recall right – and since I always white balance afterward (I shoot RAW), a slight cast is therefore no problem at all. If is is extreme, it gets problematic.
In situations like this, what shooting mode would you suggest – P, AV, or M? My kids have a Christmas party this Saturday inside a banquet hall, and I will be taking pictures of them with Santa. I normally use my 50mm f/1.4 lens and shoot in M mode. I set my f stop at 2.8, and then adjust the shutter speed and ISO until I get the proper exposure. However, there will be many kids at the party, so I only have a couple of chances to take pictures of my kids with Santa, and I want to make sure I do it right. Your suggestion is greatly appreciated.
Definitely right: Manual, and large open aperture, and then set the shutter to read one or even two (but no more) stops below proper exposure. And bounce the flash.. and start at 400 ISO but you may need to go to 800. You have it right!
Also – you may need to use flash compensation if the flash is bright.
Depending on how high your “acceptable ISO” is, you can also just set your aperture to 2 to 2.8 and your shutter speed to a preset value- the minimum you think will be good enough to “freeze” action, say 1/30-1/60. From there, compensate using ISO.
Properly exposed photos with your kids & Santa blurry due to slow shutter speed can be trouble too. My two cents hehe.