But I want to show you again – and emphasize it once more:
Flash needs to be bounced.
I shall illustrate with three snaps of a kind volunteer in last Sunday’s camera course that I taught in Oakville.
Snap one shows that aiming your flash straight at your victim ought to be a federal offense. (The young lady was warned and kindly agreed to be pictured this way, with a 580EX II flash straight into her face, using TTL, but knowing there would be better snaps to follow):
Not that she doesn’t look great, but the photographic qualities leave much to be desired.
- Shadows under her ears;
- And under her chin, a hard shadow;
- “Deer in the headlights” look;
- Skin looks reflective;
- Face is flat;
- Background is dark;
- The catch light is in the centre of the pupil.
So then I turn the flash up at a 45 degree upward angle right behind me. That way the light comes from 45 above in front, from her perspective, and this is typical beauty lighting:
This is still using TTL, so all I had to do was to turn the flash behind me, and bang. A portrait instead of a snapshot. All the problems solved in one go!
You could also turn the flash to the right or left, so she gets light from the side, above:
Now the face is more three-dimensional and sculpted.
I would normally use more straight-on lighting (pic 2) for women and more side lighting (pic 3) for men (because the latter tends to show “character”, which can be a euphemism for “age”).
Either way, though: avoid flash on camera aimed at your subject. This is why your pop-up flash is evil, and why my 1D and 1Ds bodies do not have one.
And with modern TTL flashes and cameras, you do not need to do anything other than “turn the flash head”.