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  • Writer's pictureRebekah

RCP Photography School: Flash

Hello to all who’ve joined me on day 6 of this 26 day challenge to learn about the basics of photography.

If you’re doing this course, you probably already know a little bit about me but if you don’t, please check out who I am.

We've covered aperture, bokeh, composition, depth of field and exposure. If you still have questions about these, don't be afraid to reach out and I will be more than happy to help.

Now, we look at...

F for Flash

Most of us have used flash, especially if it is an automatic function on your digital camera, or even your phone. But do you really know how to use it?

To use the flash efficiently, you need to know how to exposure the image correctly, which you need to play about with it if you aren't in a controlled light set-up.

So, grab an object or piece of food in your home, and get a pillow case or blanket to use as a backdrop and get your camera.

Firstly, if you have a built-in flash within your camera, why not practice with a shutter speed around 1/250 (if shooting in manual mode, which I really encourage you to learn about) and minimal light so that you can focus on the object with your lens.

Now, maybe you have a 'starter' camera with a built-in flash, or your hobby is photography and you have a speedlite or other artificial lighting.

Here is the gear that I use:

  • Canon 5D MkIII (2 of those)

  • Canon 650D

  • 35mm lens

  • 24-70mm lens

  • Rotolight (ring light)

  • Yongnuo speedlite

Having 'loads of gear' was always my goal in life, but I came to know that I must utilise the cameras, lenses and flash kits that I have. And that's what I've done.

I want to show you that you can do the same.

Here are a few examples of different lighting situations, but mainly using flash.

1) Without flash

Using natural light that is available in your home or outdoors is my favourite thing. I love how the sunlight brings in shadows and colour. I, also, love using window light for newborn sessions at my clients' homes - I recently shot a maternity session in a clients' home and they had large windows, and wow! The window light that was available was amazing! When there is enough light, generally using flash is not needed.

2) Built-in flash

Built-in flash is generally the go-to for a lot of people that aren't too sure about the full capacity of how a digital camera works. But, you can learn how to find the balance of built-in flash because it can produce harsh lighting. This can vary from camera to camera, so it's always good to practice before using it for things like Christmas or birthdays. Highlights and shadows can be adjusted post-processing (or when editing) BUT you want to try and achieve that balance in-camera.

3) Ring light (using the Rotolight)

This was on my wish list for years and as a birth photographer, I had read a lot about how to use it subtly. This sort of 'artificial lighting' is more for advanced photographers but to give you an idea of what to expect from different light sources, there is an example below. The Rotolight has the ability to change the warmth of the light and the brightness too. I just love it!

4) Speedlite

Lastly, the speedlite! These are so popular when it comes to attaching it onto the hot-shoe of your camera or using as off-camera flash - wedding photographers are known to use this quite a lot and there are so many options of speedlites. Speedlites can have a swivel head and you can bend it to different angles, for example the image below was taken using a speedlite pointing to the right against a white wall (this can be used like a reflector to bounce the light off).

I hope this variety of lighting situations, with examples, gives you a better idea of what of the main lighting sources are and how you can get creative with them, especially during lockdown.

Here is a link to the speedlite that I have - Yongnuo is a well-known brand and a cheaper option for beginners to advanced photographers. I, personally, have always used the brand and it has came highly recommended from photographers that I have worked with in the past!

What will you practice with in your home?

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