Thursday, June 25, 2009
Use flash effectively to enhance the light
Photoflex Reflector Translucent
If you get serious about this, you can then buy a folding reflector or diffuser. Use the reflector in the same way described for the foam board. The diffuser requires a little different technique. You must position it in between your flash and subject. Keep the flash far enough back to fill up the diffuser with light without spilling over. If you’re too close to the diffuser, the light won’t spread out much, so the effect will be greatly reduced.
Use Flash for Sharper Close-Ups
Close-up and macro photography always challenge our abilities to get a sharp photo. First, up-close depth of field is very narrow, often severely limiting sharpness. Second, at close distances, the effect of camera movement or shake during exposure is exaggerated, so sharp photos become more difficult. Third, if you use a small aperture or ƒ-stop for more depth of field, you’ll be saddled with a slower shutter speed, making camera movement worse. Finally, gear such as macro lenses and extension tubes will reduce light, so even slower shutter speeds are required.
Flash can help. Flash gives such a brief burst of light that it’s usually like using shutter speeds of 1⁄10,000 sec. and even faster. This effectively limits the effects of camera movement. In addition, when flash is used up close, there’s a lot of light to work with, allowing you to use small ƒ-stops such as ƒ/16 or ƒ/22, resulting in more depth of field.
A key to getting better flash photos up close is to get the flash off the camera as described above. When your subject is close to your camera, even a slight change in flash position can give you noticeably different results. You can even try putting the flash somewhat behind the subject for dramatic effects. You can aim the flash right at the subject; you can aim it so the flash hits both the subject and the background; or you can aim the flash so it just hits the subject and not the background.
The key to learning all of these techniques is to try them. Test them out with a willing subject, even if that’s just a statue that can’t complain. Check your results in your LCD and experiment. Don’t worry if every shot isn’t a winner. As you explore using flash, however, you’ll find flash becomes a potent tool for making more winners!
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