Repeat after me, it’s all about the light

This cannot be repeated enough, photography (i.e. writing with light) is truly all about capturing a moment in just the right light. Blasting away with on-camera flash will not lead to a happy place. The New Times’ David Pogue has some great words of wisdom today http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/technology/personaltech/16pogue-email.html?_r=1&8cir&emc=cira1 about how to get better results with flash photography. Another trick to creating beautifully lit photos with on-camera flash is by using third-party light shapers like the Ray flash http://www.ray-flash.com/ or reflectors like the Light Scoop http://www.lightscoop.com/.

Things to remember:

*Avoid tiny, overpowering light sources located close to the lens axis (i.e. on-camera flash). On camera flash work best when it’s not the main light source but instead is filling shadows created by another main light source (the sun, a streetlight, room ambient light). 

*if on-camera flash is the main light source make sure it’s first reflected off of a wall or ceiling. This will soften the quality of the light.

*Consider using no flash at all (tape it down if you have to). As sensor sizes increase and camera software improves, amazing photos can be made in surprisingly little ambient light. If you’re using a 5-6 year old digital camera you’ll get a lot of noise in high ISO settings like 800-1600. But newer ones, especially high-end SLRs,  can see in the dark like a Navy sniper…well, almost. Turn off the flash, turn up the ISO.

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~ by keithphilpott on April 16, 2009.

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