Kelso Camera Club Talk – Camera Flash
Last night I gave a talk to the members of Kelso Camera Club, and the use of camera flash to improve photographs. Although I talked about how to improve “on” camera flash, I mainly focussed (no pun intended) on, off camera flash.
I explained how the small built in flash on the camera is (in my opinion) “horrible”, creating harsh non-directional light and how a few simple steps can help to improve this light. I recommend the using Gary Fong Puffer.
Next I moved on to on camera flash guns, showing how they can generally be rotated to give a directional source of light, bouncing off a wall or ceiling to give soft light. I also showed how a simple bit of paper could be used as an inexpensive bouce card. You can download the one i used and recommend HERE…Wacky Hacks Bounce Card.
Moving on, we got to the main section of the talk… off camera flash. I started by talking about how to get your flash gun “off camera”, through the use of a cable, infra red or wireless radio triggers. My preference is radio triggers, as these can be bought cheaply and don’t require a line of sight, meaning they can be hidden behind objects. There are a variety of flash guns that can be bought for both on (hot shoe) and off camera use, the one I recommend is the Yongnuo 560-II. It’s a cheap flash at around £50, has a good range of features (but does not have TTL, which you don’t really need anyway for working off camera). Scott Kelby has also reviewed the Yongnuo and said that “one bright flash of light, is much the same as another bright flash of light”, meaning it is hard to tell the difference between the £50 flash and a £400 flash. What does make a difference to the light is what you put in front of that bright flash of light, such as one of the accessories listed below. Once your flash is off camera, there are almost unlimited accessories you can buy and at to it. A few of my favourite add-ons are a folding light stand, Westcott double fold umbrella, 24″ soft-box, and a range of coloured gels and grids.
I hope I showed everyone, how off camera flash does not need to be expensive, and for the beginner items bought cheaply from eBay are a great start.
I was very pleased when at the end of the night one member asked me to write down the name of my recommended flash gun, as she wanted to buy it. I have since learnt that she did purchase the flash gun and a cable to get it off camera. I’m sure she will notice a difference in the quality of light in her photographs.
The photograph to the above left was taken with off camera flash in virtually zero ambient light.
If you are interested in joining Kelso Camera Club, please see www.kelsocameraclub.co.uk for further information.