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.