I know, I'm supposed to be off the computer, but I'm so stinkin' excited about my "flashy" pictures I just had to pop in.
The background: I started to get interested in photography about a year ago, and initially all I heard was natural light, natural light, natural light. Flash was yucky, flash was gross, and all you had to do was spin your subject around in a circle until you found those big, beautiful catchlights. Well, scratch the record folks, that's not always possible.
Lately, I have felt very limited in photographing my kids, because in certain locations where I found that "beautiful light,' well... the background was yucky. Or maybe I found a really cool location, but the light there made for blah eyes. Frustrating! I felt like I could only go here at this time of day, or only there at that time of day. Do you ever feel that way?
Enter the flash that the hubs bought me 5 months ago and I have used twice. He bought me the Canon 580EX II, an awesome external flash (not the kind that pops up on your camera), but I was so overwhelmed by it that I pretty much tossed it back in my bag and assumed I'd just figure this natural light thing out.
When I saw the recent pictures from Ashley's childrens' portrait session, I knew, I just KNEW she had to use flash. It didn't look like it in the least, but I knew for the indoor shots...no way was the natural lighting that good. Turns out, she did use flash. So this morning she emailed me some tips. The bottom line: put your flash on manual at 1/4 power. Keep your ISO at 100 or 200, your aperture at f/4-5.6, and your shutter speed around 1/60. (Normally 1/60 is borderline too slow to handhold, but remember flash stops motion, so you can get away with a slower shutter speed).
Keep in mind, the shots below are not going to make the scrapbook. I just wanted to share my test run with you. I got confused and slightly messed up Ashley's instructions, so my flash was on 1/4 power, shutter speed 1/60, but my aperture was f/2.8. Close enough for now. Livia is facing with her back to a glass door. The way she is facing, there is no natural light anywhere.
Excuse the (unpleasant) expression:
See how her cheek on the RIGHT side of the picture is lit up? There's no window there. It's just the light bouncing off the refrigerator.
To compare (below):
If your batteries are low on your external flash, it takes a second to recycle. This is just a case of me taking a picture too fast before the flash charged back up.
A couple more examples, straight out of the camera - no editing. Do these look like "flash" pictures to you? They don't to me, not with those big catchlights.
I'm not crazy about Livia's expression below, but I wanted to share this picture because she was looking up at me, and you can really see the catchlights. Pretty amazing for a flash, don't you think?
Ashley recommended a link from Becoming Mom on using a speedlite. I found it to be very helpful. A flash (used correctly) will give you much more freedom and flexibility over your surroundings. If you're afraid of using a flash, I hope this info will help! :-)