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How to take Better Flash Pictures
Tip Provided by Dave
This may better illustrate how your indoor flash pictures may be enhanced. The first shot was with only the camera's bulit-in flash, a little harsh and a definite trailing shadow behind the subject. The second was just the camera's built-in flash, but muted with a Kleenix tissue over it (better, but not quite enough overall illumination this time). The third was with the camera's built-in flash (and muted as before), but also with a more powerful slave flash bounced off of the ceiling. The trailing shadow is all but gone and the harsh reflections are softened (by muting the front flash), but also the overall illumination has improved by the bounce light reflected from above. While each shot is "OK", number 3 is more professional looking. Wouldn't you agree? If you don't that's OK too :-)
Built-in Flash Only
Built-in Flash - Muted
Built in Flash muted but slave bounce flash added
Here's the setup that I was using.
A "slave" flash is just a normal flash unit with a "slave trigger" attached to it's hotshoe (or you can also buy flash units that are intended just for "slave" usage. In my setup, the beehive looking lens on the trigger unit senses when your camera's built-in flash has fired and it fires the second auxiliary flash at the same time. This second flash can be directed anyway you wish (which makes it a very versatile light source), plus it requires no wire connection to your present camera (most digitals don't have an auxiliary flash output connector anyway, so a slave is the perfect answer).
The Kleenex over the camera's built-in flash can be one, two, three layers ... whatever it takes to give you what you want (by experimentation). It attenuates the light from the flash as well as diffusing it. It can be held in place by a rubber band (or tape). Any diffusing material will work ... a piece of frosted white plastic, a handkerchief, a piece of scrap cloth, etc. You might also put a colored (transparent or diffused) piece of plastic over the flash if you'd like to "colorize" the subject. Let your imagination be your guide and don't be afraid to experiment. If you don't like the results, and you're using a digital, just erase the shots that don't work for you and nothing is lost. That's what's so nice about digital cameras as you've no doubt already discovered. Try lots of different ideas and you'll have fun learning along the way.
Availability - From Porter's Camera
Hotshoe trigger unit, #13-0399, $16.
Flashmate small, complete slave flash, #12-7064, $13.50
Mini Slave Flash, complete flash, #12-0311, $17.75
Cobra, larger, complete slave or hotshoe flash $29.95
Hope that this helps. Dave
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