3 Video Tutorials – How to Use On-Camera Flash

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This week I have found some great videos to help you to understand how to use on-camera flash to your advantage. Flash can be confusing to understand and using on-camera flash incorrectly can make unflattering light, or worse yet ruin your photos completely. Have a watch of these tutorials on flash and see if you can pick up some helpful tips:

Video #1 Ed Vorosky – On-camera fill flash basics

Ed Vorosky covers some of the basics you will need to get a grasp on using flash on-camera. He goes over some of the settings to look for on your flash, different lighting situations, and which camera shooting mode to use. There’s a helpful demonstration of using Flash Exposure Compensation and how it affects your photo as well.

Video #2 Tony Northrup – Bounce Flash Basics

In this second video tutorial Tony Northrup goes into a little more detail using on-camera flash indoors and bouncing it for various different looks. He shows the results using just ambient light, flash straight on, and bounced off both the ceiling and side walls. You can see how just a small adjustment with your flash can completely change the look of your image or portrait.

Video #3 Mark Wallace – On-camera flash basics

In this last video Mark Wallace covers some of the basic flash settings for both Canon and Nikon flashes, then he goes outside to demonstrate how to control the exposure on the background (ambient) using both systems. Then he goes back indoors and shows several options for using the flash on-camera in that environment including bounce flash techniques.

Do you have any anxiety around using flash? Or are you a pro? Share any questions and comments you have below.

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Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through articles on her site Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Morocco and India. To help you at whatever level you're at she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!

  • Alami Alami

    Thanks for the videos, very useful i d like to know what the best Flash setting for indoors photos?For example a situation like in the second video Tony Northrup! Thank you

  • katansi

    I would rather have tutorials on how to use the flash that comes with the camera of which good ones are actually really hard to find. So many of these tutorials assume you can plop down a lot of money after investing in the camera itself which is at least not true for me. I’d like to see more tutorials that don’t have the understood beginning of having an extra grand laying around to play with.

  • Keith Starkey

    First,
    Thanks Darlene!

    Second,
    katansi, you DON’T want to use your pop-up flash if you can help it. With rare exception (and I do mean rare) will it serve flash purposes of any kind. It’s simply harsh, uncontrolled, unrefined light that is good for very few shots. If you do use it, put a piece of white paper, or something similar, in front of the flash to soften and diffuse the light. That will help greatly.

    Yes, flash heads can be expensive, but that’s usually the name brands. Head over to Yonguo’s flash website and familiarize yourself with their flashes—we’re taking maybe a hundred-plus dollars for a very good and well respected flash head. If you search the Net for their flashes, they will usually be listed as “YN560” or “YN568” (more “YN” than the full name…I guess because no one knows how to pronounce “Yongnuo”!)

    Now, in that these are not top-of-the line flashes (well, at least compared, say, to a Nikon SB900), there are some draw backs, but they are usually pretty minor: one flash may have such-and-such feature but not high-speed sync…things like that; the power of theses flashes may not be as strong as an SB900. But over all they’re very good, and you’re sure to find something that will fit your needs, easily so before you will need to consider the top-of-the line flash heads.

    Third,

    There is no best flash setting for indoor photos. Every shoot is different; every environment (dark, light, colored walls, etc.), every bit of ambient light source is different (some tungsten, some daylight, etc.), and other issues that arise. Read up on what is going on with the flash and you’ll start getting those “Aaahhhh! I get it” moments.

  • Keith Starkey

    I forgot to mention, too, that the king of on-camera bounce flash, as far as I am concerned, is Neil Van Niekerk. This guy rocks bounced flash like no one’s business. Beautiful stuff he does.

    His site is Neilvn.com. From this site you can get to his “Tangents” articles (http://neilvn.com/tangents/), many about flash photography (http://neilvn.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/), and this is only the start!

    You’ll learn a lot from him, for sure, about creating beautiful flash.

  • Jason N photography

    Keep an eye on eBay. I found mine that way for about half price.

  • katansi

    My budget is between $0-10 generally for any piece of camera equipment. Half price on $100-600 for a speedlight may as well be a million honestly. I’d rather have comprehensive tutorials on using the body because I really cannot buy anything. Even diy lighting things are often out of that 0-10 range. So much of the things I see assume everyone with this hobby must be fairly well off based on one purchase. I just wish there was more expectation of diversity in the audience here.

  • Jason N photography

    That’s a bummer :(. I can empathize with you. My camera is about 10 years old. Olympus E volt 500. I bought it off eBay for $185. I have found that you can use your off camera flash for basic flash fill outdoors. It will only work in closer range. To soften the light keep tissue paper and tape with you. I don’t have a flash filter on mine and simply covering the flash with Kleenex or tissue paper does a nice job.

  • katansi

    Yeah mine is like 6 years old now and was a gift. I never would have gotten it myself. Thanks for the tissue paper recommendation I’m definitely going to try that. It also makes me wonder now about the rainbow pack of tissue paper I’ve seen and what that would do.

  • Jason N photography

    Very interesting. I know different light reflectors can do things like add a slight tan to skin. See if you can find something gold and see what that does!

  • katansi

    If you read under my comment you’ll see what my budget is. $100 is extremely out of my budget. I realize that using the pop up flash is to be avoided at all costs except not everyone can, hence I would like to see tutorials that don’t assume the person learning from them is fairly well off. I’m just disappointed at the lack of accounting for diversity in backgrounds in the arts and this is just another reminder about the fairly exclusionary nature of photography, even in first world nations.

  • Michael Owens

    Yongnuo are available via Amazon for around £40-£50. A small amount considering their decent quality for most users!

    Or used for about £30-£40. Take a look.

    YongNuo YN-560 III Flashgun https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BXA7N6A/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_bLDWub0NW7V76
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BXA7N6A/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_bLDWub0NW7V76

  • Tim Lowe

    Mark Wallace remains the explainer & chief.

  • John

    I am having problems getting correctly exposed images on a Nikon d7100 with an SB 600 flash. They all seem to be underexposed. I have the flash in TTL mode and the camera in Manual in the example below (I’ve used other modes and gotten the same result). Since the flash is in TTL, I expect it to determine correct exposure for the subject.

    Should I have to adjust Flash Exposure Compensation to get correct skin exposure?

    I watched the videos, and did not pickup that adjusting FEC should be routinely necessary.

    I’d like to go to a party, and photograph the family. Do I need to take several shots of each subject to get the FEC correct?

    Thanks for the help,

    John

  • John

    Here is a sample of my son…

  • What lens are you using? Are you bouncing the flash or using an modifiers? Is it on-camera or off? Is the FEC set to zero?

  • no image here

  • Katansi – sorry to hear that it’s not helpful. The reason there aren’t any tutorials on using the pop up flash is that most photographers don’t use it at all, my camera doesn’t even have one. There are ways to work with flash on a budget:

    – borrow one
    – join a camera club and make friends with someone who has one and share
    – rent one
    – get a used one

    What is your budget? Can you swing $35?

    – used Vivitar $19 http://www.amazon.com/Vivitar-283-Electronic-Flash/dp/B00004RIPE/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1423255212&sr=1-5&keywords=vivitar+285

    – sync cord $15 http://www.amazon.com/NEEWER%C2%AE-Camera-Speedlite-Cameras-Suitable/dp/B00FGJ1T3C/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1423255233&sr=1-5&keywords=off-camera+sync+cord

    Just do NOT put that flash on TOP of your camera it will fry your camera. But connect with the sync cord should be fine (but read the manuals first to make sure). So there are ways to do things for much less.

  • See my other comment above on how to do it for free or very little. If you can swing $30-40 you can do this. If not go the borrow route and make some friends in camera clubs.

  • Brotha J

    Here’s a REALLY cheap DIYdifusser for your on camerflash.

    http://www.diyphotography.net/the-party-bouncer-is-back-in-business-card/

  • Brotha J

    Another one!
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-Diy-Camera-Flash-Diffuser/

    Friendly reminder: Google is a powerful tool.

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