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Thread: issues with using flash

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    Member arj's Avatar
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    issues with using flash

    Hi everyone,

    I'm still pretty new here but I thought I'd post some thoughts on my use of flash or, to be accurate, my non-use of flash ... to get some advice if I'm doing the right thing or picking up bad habits.

    I have noticed that I really don't like the effect of the in-built flash on my 550D, and that I have developed an anti-flash mentality. I mainly take portrait-style pics of family and I find that the flash blanches out colours, seems to change skin tones and I dont like the flash reflection I can see in people's eyes.

    I have noticed that save for situations where I have no option (eg. bright background, shadowy face and therefore need for fill-in flash), I actively don't use it.
    And I find my instinctive workaround is to use Aperture Priority and go for larger or the largest aperture I can so that I get enough light and don't need flash.

    Is this a bad habit to get into?
    Should I be more open-minded about the benefits of flash?
    Is this telling me I need a better flash for the sort of photos I take?

    Any advice is appreciated!
    Cheers,
    Arj

    Canon 550D with EF-S 18-55mm (Kit lens) and EF 50mm F1.8 II

    *Keen for any and all constructive criticism*

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    I think inboard flash is tricky to ever make work unless used just as fill and just to fill.

    Off camera flash is very different and much more useful whether or not you need it from an exposure pov or not
    Darren
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  3. #3
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    arj's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot Darren ... any recommendations on what sort of off-camera flash I should look at?

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    I'm not a canon person but get a canon one I'd say, doesn't matter which one,
    Last edited by MarkChap; 27-01-2011 at 10:34pm.

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    In Training MarkChap's Avatar
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    G'day arj, let me start by saying this - The single worst invention ever is the on board flash, period, end of story, no discussion. (except when able to be used as a master to control off camera flash)

    So in answer to your question - "Is this a bad habit to get into?" - NO

    Now lets move to some constructive help.
    You have a couple of options for off camera flash, the easiest to achieve and to use is a Canon 580 or 430 EXII speedlite, an OC-E3 Off Camera Cord and a simple L bracket which is pretty easy to come by, doesn't get you flash a long way off camera but will provide a marked improvement from the on-board thingy (lets not even call it a flash )

    Your next options are radio triggers to get the flash further off camera, however this will require moving to manual flash operation, no E-TTL
    Next step up is 1 580 EXII as a master on camera and either a 430EXII or a second 580 EXII as off camera slaves.

    All sounds very daunting to start with, it is not really, once you start to get your head around it all.
    Smoke Alarms Save Lives, Install One Today
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    Cheers, Mark


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    I used the built in camera flash the other weekend. All I can say is ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Not good.

    Recently I bought an off camera flash - a cheap Yongnuo - and it opened up my eyes. I use it both on camera where I can tilt and rotate it - bouncing it off the ceilings or the wall behind me - and off camera with a transmitter. Even a little flash during daylight shoots can work wonders.

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    Using a flash really means an external flash. The Canon 5D and the 1 series Canons do not even come with on-board flash. Apart from the fact that the bigger L series lenses cast a shadow when used with an on-board flash, I suppose Canon assumes that a pro who may use these cameras would not ever want to use an onboard flash.

    Using a flash effectively is a bit of an art, but don't be put off. It aint rocket science either. I shoot weddings fairly regularly, and on the two cameras I use there is a flash permanently mounted. Not that I use a flash on every shot. The trick is to make every shot look as if a flash was not used, avoiding that direct flash look like the plague.

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    I prefer to use off camera speedlights because it does allow more control.
    I use Nikon gear and find thier Creative Lighting System great to work with, so many choices ( I'm sure other systems work similarly).
    I generally use the the camera in Command mode with the popup 'flash deactivated' so even when popped up it still triggers the speedlights but doesnt flash.
    So the popup isnt a problem used this way, a speedlight mounted on camera can work well using bounce etc. If red eye is still a problem face the speedlight up and to the rear (over your head).
    Using speedlight off camera using hot shoe cables is another way - either hand held or on a stand.
    If the budjet is tight, low cost chinese speedlights appear to be popular and some reports are that they work well.
    As another member often says "its all about the light".
    Good luck......

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