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  1. #1
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    On-Camera Flash < Emergency Usage

    If you folks find yourself in the middle of a shoot, and you know for a fact that you need some flash, however, you do NOT have a speedlight, or other nice form of flash unit, is it possible, with modification, to use the on-camera flash and at least achieve some descent results?

    I know that most of you here would never run into this problem because you all own nice flash setups, but just imagine for this one event only, that you don't have one. You left it at home, or you don't own one at all, or however you find yourself there, but again, point being, you don't have one.

    So if the shot, or series of shots you're attempting to take absolutely require some flash, what would be your workaround, if any? I've read here before about placing tissue paper over the flash, etc... so is that about as good as it gets, or are there some other options?

    Would really like to hear some opinions on this one, as I'm probably about to run into this problem tommorrow. Thanks in advance



  2. #2
    I am Big, I am Mike Site Moderator
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    My first choice would be to find some other form of lighting....whatever it may be. Put your subject beside a TV screen....or a bright vending machine etc. There are always usable light sources if you are creative.

    Another option would be to just go without flash. Use a wide aperture lens and crank the up the ISO if needed.

    Or just go ahead and use the on-camera flash, but maybe try to avoid shots that make it look like your subject is in a cave (using a wide aperture and cranking up the ISO can help with this).

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    Depending on your camera, you may have a rear sync flash option (usually found deep in the menus). If my understanding of flash is right, you would absorb as much ambiant light as possible and THEN the flash would go off to put in whats missing.

    You could also use some tissue paper in front of the flash as a diffuser
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  4. #4
    KmH
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    Necessity is the mother of invention.

    This is where a solid understanding of photography comes in handy.

    Mike covered a bunch of good ideas. You could also start looking around for suitable reflectors.

    For popup flash anything you can use to bounce the light would help: white 3x5 card, small mirror, the inside of a torn open pop can, the palm of your hand, flash through your splayed open fingers.

    Preparation is paramount for any 'shoot' including for personal purposes.

    Anything less is just shooting yourself in the foot.
    Last edited by KmH; 06-17-2009 at 03:46 PM.
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  5. #5
    I spend too much of my life on TPF!
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigtwinky View Post
    Depending on your camera, you may have a rear sync flash option (usually found deep in the menus). If my understanding of flash is right, you would absorb as much ambiant light as possible and THEN the flash would go off to put in whats missing.

    You could also use some tissue paper in front of the flash as a diffuser
    Isn't that called "Second Curtain" on Canon models anyway. I set my camera up so when I use flash it automatically goes to 1/250 Shutter speed, and I can say that it doesn't help at all compared to First curtain.

    I don't have a speedlite either, but I'll use the flash when I have to but I prefer not to. There is always post processing. I can usually take the cave look out but then there is that strong shadow that is difficult to get rid of.
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  6. #6
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    Thanks BigMike, BigTwinky, Crosby... wonderful ideas.

    To KmH... I by no means intend any offense by saying this, but, you come across as very harsh, and quite frankly, your comment was just not helpful at all, but rather, I felt insulted. I see you do this quite often to others, and it's not the first time you've done it to me.

    I'm sorry that I'm not a full-time, professional photographer who proudly posseses all knowledge and equipment necessary in order to be considered on top of my game, but I'm trying, as we all are. Surely, there was a day when you too, were just starting out. Surely you took photo's of friends and family, then branched out from there, and surely you've shot subjects with less equipment than you actually needed. I have a great understanding of photography, thanks to these forums, and others like it, so I'm not a beginner... no pro, but no beginner.

    I typically do not allow things of this nature to bother me on internet forums, but it's gotten noticeably bad around here lately, and it used to didn't be like this. I've been hesitant to post anything these past couple of days, and was again, hesitant to post this today, because I knew that chances were, I'de get a response just like yours. This is the beginner's forum, and I feel as if I should be able to ask a question, and recieve answers, and advice, but not insults or negative comments.

    I'm certainly not attempting to turn this into one of this weeks flame threads... I do NOT participate in such as that, never have, never will, but really, I'de like for things to go back to the way they were when I first joined here. You could ask a question, and get an answer, no negativity, no attitude.

    Anyway, would love to hear more ideas, though it's probably pretty much covered.
    Last edited by paulpippin29; 06-17-2009 at 04:03 PM.

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  8. #8
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    I have used plastic bags and tissue papers to cover my on-camera flash and got pretty nice results. Experiment with different materials and colors, and you'll be amazed how great some pictures would turn out haha.

  9. #9
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    Take a clean white handkerchief with you.. (not the big fluffy kind).... they make great diffusers if you need flash in close..,

    There are thousands of photos taken every day using pop-ups.... it's always better than losing the shot..
    ...Chill, it's just a photograph ......

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  10. #10
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    Thanks for the ideas folks... several good ones here.

  11. #11
    KmH
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bitter Jeweler View Post


    +1.

    paulpippen29, easy solution, add me to your 'Ignore' list, or don't read my posts.
    Last edited by KmH; 06-18-2009 at 07:45 AM.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crosby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bigtwinky View Post
    Depending on your camera, you may have a rear sync flash option (usually found deep in the menus). If my understanding of flash is right, you would absorb as much ambiant light as possible and THEN the flash would go off to put in whats missing.

    You could also use some tissue paper in front of the flash as a diffuser
    Isn't that called "Second Curtain" on Canon models anyway. I set my camera up so when I use flash it automatically goes to 1/250 Shutter speed, and I can say that it doesn't help at all compared to First curtain.

    I don't have a speedlite either, but I'll use the flash when I have to but I prefer not to. There is always post processing. I can usually take the cave look out but then there is that strong shadow that is difficult to get rid of.
    On the canon yes is called 2nd Curtain. I think you are mis-understanding the concept of 2nd curtain though. If you are shooting 1/250, yes you probably expose the subject properly, but the background is waaay underexposed, possibly to the point of no detail. If you "drag" the shutter and use 2nd curtain, the flash at the end of the expose will freeze your subject and expose it properly, all while exposing the background for ambient lighting.

    So given your example, you may expose your subject properly at 1/250, aperature whatever. The flash went off at the end of 1/250, just your eye doesnt see it. Now if you exposed for ambient lighting at say 1/30 of a second, the flash fires after that, and you get a nicely exposed foreground/background. Of course if you intend to lose the background, thats a whole different story
    B. Kennedy

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by KmH View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bitter Jeweler View Post


    +1.

    paulpippen29, easy solution, add me to your 'Ignore' list, or don't read my posts.
    just for the record KmH, I didnt think anything you said was meant in a negative or said in a harsh way, but rather in a helpful way, pointing out the obvious.
    B. Kennedy

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    If I was absolutely forced to use the onboard flash, I would first crank the iso some (D90 so I can get away with that a little bit). Probably shoot about ISO 1600. Then I'd find me an index card and cut it/fold it and make a diffuser for my pop up flash. Then I would dial the flash compensation down quite a bit so the effect of the flash was minimal and only what absolutely had to be done, then I would spend extra time in post processing to make the photos look better.

    Lastly, I'd be super mad at whoever made me lose/sell/forget my SB-600.
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