Flash or no flash for Indoors

psran

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Hi, I had purchased a Nikon D5100 with kit lens 18-55 VR last month but was very dissatisfied with its results for Indoors photos so after reading some advice on Forum I upgraded to Nikon 35 1.8D lens. Now my pics look a lot more brighter but sometimes I find my camera a bit slow for catching up with my children, result is Blurry pictures.

I tried using flash to get better Shutter speeds but the harsh lights completely wash out the colors, especially skin tones.

So now I am a bit confused whether to get an External Flash with diffuser or keep on using my Fast Prime and compromise a bit on Sharpness of my pics

P.S. :- I am very happy with the color tones I get with 35mm lens without flash
 

mwild

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Do you do much post-processing? Try a speedlite, and angle it so the light bounces off a wall making it indirect so it doesn't wash out your subject. :) Or just turn up the ISO a tad maybe?
 

cgipson1

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#1... yes.. use flash, but LEARN to use it!
#2... Dont use TTL... use it in manual mode! Strobist: Lighting 101
#3... Don't shoot wide open if you do use TTL... use a decent aperture and low ISO, or it will FRY your subject...

And I doubt that the color tones you get without flash are anywhere near accurate...

please post some images.. we can help you better that way!
 

bratkinson

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I consider indoor photography - and night photography outdoors - as doing 'battle' with the exposure triangle. I =WILL= overcome it! Learning how aperture (f-stop), shutter speed, and ISO speed all interact with each other is the key to all photography.

As you have already discovered, using a big aperture lens (f1.8) is a big leap for indoor work. But when that wide, the depth of field (plane of acceptable focus) becomes quite thin, especially when the subject is less than 20-30 feet away. Using a flash provides more light and therefore smaller aperture and/or faster shutter speed and/or lower ISO speed. Likewise, increasing ISO will allow faster shutter speeds to stop subject and camera movement but increases noise. And around and around it goes...change one, the others have to be changed to compensate. But at the same time, what you 'gain' from one adjustment, may end up as a 'loss' on one or both of the other two. Like I said...it's a battle.

You probably already discovered that the built-in popup flash is pretty useless further than 10 feet or so. As indicated above, getting a speedlight and bouncing it off the ceiling will both 'light up the room' quite effectively and avoid harsh shadows that come from direct 'in the eyes' flash.

It's one step at a time to overcome the 'battle'. Fast lens (low f-stop), learn what it can and can't do for you, then the next step...flash. Learn what it can and can't do, and how to control it and use it effectively, then on to the next step.
 

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Bounce flash only if wall or ceiling is white or you will get color cast that is difficult if not impossible to fix.
 
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psran

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I consider indoor photography - and night photography outdoors - as doing 'battle' with the exposure triangle. I =WILL= overcome it! Learning how aperture (f-stop), shutter speed, and ISO speed all interact with each other is the key to all photography.

As you have already discovered, using a big aperture lens (f1.8) is a big leap for indoor work. But when that wide, the depth of field (plane of acceptable focus) becomes quite thin, especially when the subject is less than 20-30 feet away. Using a flash provides more light and therefore smaller aperture and/or faster shutter speed and/or lower ISO speed. Likewise, increasing ISO will allow faster shutter speeds to stop subject and camera movement but increases noise. And around and around it goes...change one, the others have to be changed to compensate. But at the same time, what you 'gain' from one adjustment, may end up as a 'loss' on one or both of the other two. Like I said...it's a battle.

You probably already discovered that the built-in popup flash is pretty useless further than 10 feet or so. As indicated above, getting a speedlight and bouncing it off the ceiling will both 'light up the room' quite effectively and avoid harsh shadows that come from direct 'in the eyes' flash.

It's one step at a time to overcome the 'battle'. Fast lens (low f-stop), learn what it can and can't do for you, then the next step...flash. Learn what it can and can't do, and how to control it and use it effectively, then on to the next step.

You pretty much summarized the sequence of painful events I have been going through. I have tried playing with Exposure triangle but there's a limit to how much we can use it Indoors.

As is pretty clear from all the advice I am getting, I need an External Flash for sure. I have gone through the links provided by you guys but one thing I found very confusing. Why would anyone fire the flash behind his back in open room, how is it going to help the lighting?

Another problem is that the place where I live has ceilings with height of around 13 ft, would I still get good results with bouncing the flash lights?
 
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psran

psran

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#1... yes.. use flash, but LEARN to use it!
#2... Dont use TTL... use it in manual mode! Strobist: Lighting 101
#3... Don't shoot wide open if you do use TTL... use a decent aperture and low ISO, or it will FRY your subject...

And I doubt that the color tones you get without flash are anywhere near accurate...

please post some images.. we can help you better that way!

I have posted the 2 photos taken under same lighting with and without flash
 

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cgipson1

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#1... yes.. use flash, but LEARN to use it!
#2... Dont use TTL... use it in manual mode! Strobist: Lighting 101
#3... Don't shoot wide open if you do use TTL... use a decent aperture and low ISO, or it will FRY your subject...

And I doubt that the color tones you get without flash are anywhere near accurate...

please post some images.. we can help you better that way!

I have posted the 2 photos taken under same lighting with and without flash

The one with flash is much better...

diffuse the flash.. much easier with an off camera flash... very difficult with the pop-up.
 
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psran

psran

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The one with flash is much better...

diffuse the flash.. much easier with an off camera flash... very difficult with the pop-up.

Would bouncing the light off Ceilings or Walls be all that is required if I buy a speedlight.

And also could you plz explain me logic of firing the flash to the back of photographer, how does it help
 

cgipson1

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The one with flash is much better...

diffuse the flash.. much easier with an off camera flash... very difficult with the pop-up.

Would bouncing the light off Ceilings or Walls be all that is required if I buy a speedlight.

And also could you plz explain me logic of firing the flash to the back of photographer, how does it help

If you fire the flash against a wall behind you.. it bounces light all over the place... and will light up the room / subject pretty well with more frontal light. If you bounce off the ceiling, that works well too.. unless your bounce starts to close to the subject, then it can cause shadows under the eyebrows, chin, etc. Even bouncing off of a wall to your side can be good as long as it gets light on the subject correctly.

does that help?
 

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Would bouncing the light off Ceilings or Walls be all that is required if I buy a speedlight.

I hesitate to agree with that premise. It is not ALL that is required, but in the example you posted (a room with white walls) the effect is that the light becomes very diffuse, that is; light that seems to be evenly distributed from a large "source". As Charlie wrote; care must be taken with the angle of the light. If you are close to your subject, you can introduce undesirable shadows.

The trick is to recognize (or anticipate) the effect of bounced flash. If there are no walls that are fairly white in color, look for any other surface from which to bounce your light. Sometimes there is a wall or other surface you can use. You can add a diffuser to your speedlight, but you may see that the light still looks flat (no modeling of your subject) because the flash is still on your camera.

If you can get the flash off your camera (mounted on a light stand, for instance) then you can often point the flash directly at the subject and still get a good photograph. This will require your ability to fire the flash remotely (using a cord or wireless trigger). You can even ask someone to hold the flash for you and point it toward your subject.

Additionally, a speedlight has more power than your built-in flash thereby allowing you to bounce off the rear wall. I think most new flashes have the ability to revolve the flash head all around. You can even use unconventional flash reflectors, such as a large white board, or someone's white shirt, giving you a larger light "source".
 
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psran

psran

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If you fire the flash against a wall behind you.. it bounces light all over the place... and will light up the room / subject pretty well with more frontal light. If you bounce off the ceiling, that works well too.. unless your bounce starts to close to the subject, then it can cause shadows under the eyebrows, chin, etc. Even bouncing off of a wall to your side can be good as long as it gets light on the subject correctly.

does that help?

Whatever you explained is pretty clear but only point that I don't understand is " How does Flashing the light in an OPEN SPACE behind photographer help"
 
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psran

psran

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I hesitate to agree with that premise. It is not ALL that is required, but in the example you posted (a room with white walls) the effect is that the light becomes very diffuse, that is; light that seems to be evenly distributed from a large "source". As Charlie wrote; care must be taken with the angle of the light. If you are close to your subject, you can introduce undesirable shadows.

The trick is to recognize (or anticipate) the effect of bounced flash. If there are no walls that are fairly white in color, look for any other surface from which to bounce your light. Sometimes there is a wall or other surface you can use. You can add a diffuser to your speedlight, but you may see that the light still looks flat (no modeling of your subject) because the flash is still on your camera.

If you can get the flash off your camera (mounted on a light stand, for instance) then you can often point the flash directly at the subject and still get a good photograph. This will require your ability to fire the flash remotely (using a cord or wireless trigger). You can even ask someone to hold the flash for you and point it toward your subject.

Additionally, a speedlight has more power than your built-in flash thereby allowing you to bounce off the rear wall. I think most new flashes have the ability to revolve the flash head all around. You can even use unconventional flash reflectors, such as a large white board, or someone's white shirt, giving you a larger light "source".

Very well explained, thanks.

Could you please also guide me towards an inexpensive Speedlight for starters.

I know someone who is selling his Vivitar 283, Vivitar 285, are they okay for an amateur like me
 

Dao

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For Vivitar 283, it is most likely has trigger voltage over 200V, so make sure your DSLR is fine with that high trigger voltage. Some digital cameras take 12V or less.

As for Vivitar 285, it may also has high trigger voltage. But those newer one that are 285HV usually has a lower trigger voltage. Just between 283 and 285, I will take the 285 since it has a dial in the front that allow you adjust the flash power manually.
 

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