I’m sure you take pictures. I’m sure you know that flash is really helpful for taking pictures in areas that are not well-lit. I’m sure you also know that it is pretty common to come by pictures that are taken with flash that turned out to be over-exposed, people end up looking like they’re 0.5 seconds from getting hit by an on-coming car. 🙂 And if the subject was near a wall or some other object, you’re gonna see some shadows casted.
Are you keen on having taking pictures without having harsh flash ruining it? Then you should consider reducing the harshness of your flash, read on!
*Note : This article is NOT a product review.
Taming The Flash
There are many ways to reduce harsh flash, in this article I’ll be using a diffuser. The purpose of the diffuser is to spread the light and reduce its intensity, resulting in a more natural output.
Here’s the pop-up flash diffuser that I bought, mounted on my Fujifilm Finepix S7000 for illustration purpose on how it works.
It hooks onto the hot shoe (the place where you mount an external flash unit), placing the opaque material right in front of the flash unit. 🙂 Works great with digital-SLR and prosumer cameras with pop-up flash!
*The pictures used in the later parts of this article are taken with the Canon EOS 350D (also known as Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT).
Non-diffused Vs Diffused
Let’s have a look at how diffusing the light affects pictures. I’ll be using some still objects in a not-so-well-lit environment.
Here we go!
In this shot, the toy bear is placed about 8 inches away from the wall.
Observation : Notice how the shadows are softened. Look at the shadows on the wall and also the shadows just below the neck of the bear.
For the next example, I decided to use a more shiny subject.
Observation : The harsh lights made the subject over-exposed. The diffuser reduced the impact of the light, resulting in the subject not being over-exposed. Notice how you could see better details on the face and on the abdominal area after the diffuser was applied? 🙂
Now, let’s try a more colorful setup.
Observation : Without the diffuser, the most prominent difference would be the shadows while the next thing to note is that the harsh lights hit even the background and making it rather distracting. With the diffuser the shadows are soften while the background remained naturally.
It Makes A Difference
As you can see, the intensity of light that hits your area of composition makes a difference.
You could reduce light intensity in many ways. You could diffuse it with a translucent tape, bounce it off the ceiling or even some reflective surface – and that’s just a few examples among the 101 ways to manipulate flash, DIY or not!
How should you do it depends on what you’re using, what you’re snapping and what effect you intend to get.
Other interesting sites for reference :
Digital Photography School : Using Flash Diffusers and Reflectors