Meeting Photo Challenges
Creative Image Processing
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Digital Photography Equipment
Pop-Up Flash; A Convenient “Taste Of Light”:
Improving Your Flash Pictures
Another issue is the harsh light that is created with direct on-camera flash. With more sophisticated portable flashes, there are several options to soften the light that I’ll discuss later. For the built-in flash, however, there is only one way to reduce the harsh, glaring quality of the light. And the good news is, it’s free. You can put a small piece of white paper or translucent fabric in front of the flash (#10), and that will soften the light to a certain degree. The African mask in (#11 and #12) shows the subtle effect of using a softening cloth or tissue. Notice the glare from the flash between the nose and the mouth in (#11), but in the comparison picture it has been mostly removed by using the paper over the flash. Admittedly, the difference is subtle, but even the smallest of differences in light, color, and contrast can improve your pictures.
You can use this same technique when shooting people as well. The difference will be subtle, but the quality of the light will definitely be improved.
You can see the same problem in (#14), a typical indoor snapshot taken with an on-camera flash. The shadow behind my wife is distracting and undesirable. If the built-in flash is situated on the camera body such that it is to the side of the lens axis, you will get a defined shadow behind the subject. The further the flash is from the axis, the wider the shadow will be. The Javanese dolls in (#15) show another example of an unwanted shadow on the wall. By placing a piece of black fabric behind them (I used black velvet in this case), the shadows disappeared (#16).
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