talk to me about flash...


TPF Noob!
Oct 24, 2007
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So really the goal is to have enough lighting to not use flash? If I only have a point and shoot and don't have enough lighting, is there any way to use a flash without sacrificing picture quality? Are there any point and shoots that you can use an external flash with? I'm so confused about flash because a lot of my pictures look too flashed! What about when I'm just shooting indoor snapshots of my daughter and the lighting isn't good, what do I do then? Please help me or lead me to a site/book (preferably site so it's free and easily accessible) that can give me the info I need! TIA

P.S. Sorry if this is a stupid question!
your camera doesn't have a flash intensity? I think mine does. You can make it stronger/weaker, etc..... Hope that helps.
Not a stupid question at all.

The goal isn't always to 'not use flash'...sometimes it's necessary and sometimes it's really great.

Unfortunately...the built-in flash on most cameras isn't very good. The problem is that it's much too close to the lens, which makes for flat lighting and red-eye etc. If you can somehow get a light source that is farther away from the camera, it usually makes for better lighting.

Some P&S cameras can use an external flash, if they have a hot-shoe...which only the higher end ones seem to have. You might be able to use an 'optical slave flash' that is triggered by the burst from your built-in flash...but this isn't ideal because you still have the light from your built-in and the camera may use a pre-flash, which may cause problems.

Many P&S cameras do have an option that allows you to turn down the power of the flash...this is often called FEC (flash exposure compensation) check your manual. You could just dial down the flash a little bit and see if that doesn't help.

The problem when shooting that there usually isn't much light. Sure, there is enough for us to see by...but not much in terms of photography. It would require longer shutter speeds to shoot in this light...and that's not good for moving subjects (kids etc). For this reason, it's probably best to use flash in this situation.

What camera/equipment do you have?
If theres no way to adjust settings on the camera then its just like the P&S film cameras that were set at 1/125 sec shutter and fixed aperture so pretty limited, however most of those were best shot with flash at around 8 feet distance to subject. If However you have aperture and shutter controls opening the aperture to say 2.8 will allow you to shoot from around 16-20 feet, closing down the aperture means you can go closer, possibly f16 at around 4 feet or so, basically this is it, I can tell you no more without knowing what you've got and on camera flash's are usually pretty garbage so don't expect wonderful flash shots.
The goal, by the way is to light a shot with whatever tools are available to you, this includes flash, learn how to use it and lose the sunken eye and shadowed face shots, photographers use flash, I'd prefer a well lit shot than a load of shadows, here in UK with our weather we use them all the time. H
What camera/equipment do you have?

For now all I have is a Canon Powershot S30. For Christmas I am getting a new camera and haven't decided on that yet. I'm trying to figure out a way to up my budget since right now it is only $230. My sister is also trying to see if her friend can get me a camera at cost so maybe I can invest in a dslr. I am a beginner but am becoming more and more excited about photography (especially portraits) as I learn.
If you are used to a Canon already, I would suggest that you stay with the Canon line becuase of the familiarity you have already.

The only camera I would not suggest is the Rebel XT. I played with one for about 3 hours today, and its a very cheap flimsy plasticy feeling camera and I was not too impressed with the quality of the camera overall. It did put out acceptable pics, though... but again, nothing overly impressive.

As far as flashes are concerned, you will never know how rediculously bad and limited built-in flashes make you as a photographer until you try it yourself. Built-in flashes are usually very weak compared to add-on flashes, take power from the camera for pictures (reducing the pic count) and the quality of the light is very limiting.

An external flash can also tremendously aid in the experience if you are able to trigger it off camera. Thats when the real magic starts and your pictures develop an entirely new feel and quality. There is just simply no comparison.

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