Flash assist

Sometimes when shooting an event, I cannot easily bounce my flash. In that case, I will first try to use mainly available light –  meaning, turn up the ISO. That gets me shots that are borderline acceptable, like this from Saturday’s event shoot:

So here’s the message: even when I am not using the flash as the main, overpowering, major light, I still use it in these cases.

Turning the flash on and bouncing it behind me, while I lose most of that light in this room, still gives me a better picture:

This gives me what I would call a “flash assist” image:

  • Better light, brighter whites
  • More control over direction of the light
  • Fewer shadows where I do not want them, and softer shadows overall
  • Better control over colour balance
  • “Bright pixels are sharp pixels”.

So why did I take the first picture above?

Simply because my 580EX II flash failed. It fired intermittently Saturday, This is why pros always carry spares: I grabbed my other, second, 580 EX II and put that on my camera instead. The first 580 will have to be retired – a blow, because it’ll cost me more than I earned in the shoot to replace it – but them’s the breaks.



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