No direct flash

You have heard me say it many times: do not use direct flash (like your popup flash), especially when that direct flash is right on top of your camera (like your popup flash).

But what if you have no choice? Can you do it if you have to? Of course you can. The better the camera, the better. The better your control of that flash, the better. The farther the flash from the camera. And the better-looking the subject, the better.

Here’s an example from my class on Monday at Sheridan College. An example of what I would normally not do: unmodified straight-on flash.

I would normally not do this. Shadows. Reflections. Catchlights in the centre of the eye instead of high, where they belong.

Now to be fair, I did have to slightly lower the reflections on her face, especially on the nose. But other than that slight adjusting, not much done, and so you see – if you must do it, you can. In fact for young women, straight light can work well – it makes skin look very smooth. So remember to take everything I say as a guideline. A serious guideline – but one you can break if you must.

One caution. TTL flash will often (depending on your flash, your camera and your lens) take into account where you focus, and will expose for that. So if you focus wrong, your picture will be exposed wrong. As in this example of what not to do:

See? I focused on the background, so the TTL system exposed for that background. Keep this in mind. (And with this in mind, can you work out why you should keep recomposing to a minimum also?)

It’s all very logical, really.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *