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From the author of Key #8—Bounce Your Flash

Key #8—Bounce Your Flash

I admit it—I’m very fond of shooting with existing light. However, sometimes there just isn’t enough existing light to take the photo you want, no matter how high the ISO or how fast the lens. For that reason, consider adding an electronic flash to your digital camera if it’s designed to use a hot-shoe flash (all digital SLRs can use hot-shoe flashes, but that’s a rare feature among other types of digital cameras).

Make sure the flash you buy is:

  • Designed to work with your specific brand and model of digital camera. This type of flash is known as a ‘dedicated’ flash. You can damage your camera if you attach an old hot-shoe flash made for film cameras because of excessive trigger voltage, and a dedicated flash made for film cameras won’t work automatically on digital cameras. These units are made by your camera vendor and by third-party vendors. Overstock.com is one of many places to find a good variety of third-party dedicated flash units.
  • Equipped with a tilt or tilt-swivel head. This type of head enables you to bounce the flash off a card mounted on the flash head or off the ceiling of typical rooms.
  • Uses four AA rechargeable or Alkaline/Lithium throwaway batteries. Use rechargeables for economy, but throwaway batteries for times that your primary batteries aren’t charged.

Figure 13 illustrates how bouncing the flash off the ceiling enables soft, even lighting of subjects at different distances from the camera (compare it to Figure 2).

Figure 13 Bouncing the flash off the ceiling provides even lighting for a group around the table.

If you can’t work a bounce-capable flash into your photo budget, take a look at the Lightscoop add-on device.

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