The benefit of using off camera flash

Using off camera flash

• On-camera flash – not a good result! •
Using a flash on-camera can lead to some pretty bad lighting situations. Hot spots, flat features and harsh shadows are a few of the problems.
[Image from the video]

Flash problem!

On camera, or pop-up flash is a problem. It is very harsh. Often it causes burnt out spots on the face. The complexion looks awful. The skin tone is pallid. Your subject will have flat features. Even good diffusers do not improve the situation very much. The solution is to use an off camera flash. Get the light coming in from the side and the problems can then be overcome.

Off camera flash control

It is not very easy to understand the effect without seeing it. The flash on your camera is situated along the optical axis of the camera. So the light is blown directly into face of your subject. straight-on lighting onto a subject does not cause any shadows. Remember, on a subject of a similar colour the shadows define any shape. The skin of our faces tends to be one colour. Strong light directly onto the face will prevent all the features from being defined.

As the light moves to the side things change. The natural shape of the face creates shadows. The camera will pick these up. The result is good sculpting of the face. However, it also helps to turn your off camera flash into a soft light source. It will make the flash look less harsh too. It will soften the edges of the shadows to gentle graduations. That makes the face look more rounded. Harsh shadows with sharp lines make faces look angular and ugly.

The improvement when you use off camera flash

In this short video, Scott Kelby demonstrates these points. It is a simple idea. He shows all the benefits. This is really worth watching. If you are considering getting an off camera flash this will persuade you.

Uploaded by Scott Kelby

Off camera flash units you may be interested seeing

Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash. A branded flash – general use  External link - opens new tab/page

Nikon SB-600 Speedlight – High quality Nikon off camera flash  External link - opens new tab/page

Special pick…

A high quality off camera flash which performs like branded units. It’s much more affordable than those branded ones. It combines a range of flexible functions. At the same time it is robust, compact and light. It’s great value for your money. YN560 III 2.4Ghz Wireless Flash Speedlite Support RF-602/603 YN560-III For Canon Nikon Pentax Olympus  External link - opens new tab/page

All these units will fire as normal when mounted on the camera. They will require an off-camera flash cord or wireless radio triggers for off-camera flash units  External link - opens new tab/page to connect to the camera when shooting off-camera.

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Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is editor of Photokonnexion. He has professional experience in photography, writing, image libraries, and computing. He is an experienced, webmaster and a trained teacher. Damon runs regular training for digital photographers.
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