Why You Need a Dedicated Flash

By Jack Berglund
With the aid of my trusty model and some fruit, I will demonstrate why you need to stop using your built in flash and get a dedicated unit.

Built in camera flash:

A magnificent recreation of the deer in headlights effect. Unless this is the look you’re going for, this is not good.

Dedicated flash pointed at a white ceiling:

Bouncing of the ceiling has two advantages. The light is not coming directly from the camera which helps avoid the deer in headlights look and the light is much more diffuse leading to softer shadows. Both of these are things are good.

The on camera flash (as far as I know without exceptions) can only point forwards. If it could point in some other direction, it doesn’t have the power needed once the light has bounced of a wall.

Getting a dedicated flash opens up a world of possibilities, particularly indoors when photographing anything moving (pets, children, people). In future posts I’ll cover what you should look for when buying a flash and some simple pointers to get the best results when using your it.

  1. While I agree that a dedicated flash is the best solution, there is a cheap alternative now– Adorama sells a “light scoop”. I wasn’t sure it would actually work at first, but for $30 I figured why not. It does a suprisingly good job inside, and with some creative engineering (and a significant + to the flash comp setting) you can even “double bounce” it outside for fill. I’d recommend it as a cheap middle step for a beginner on a budget any day.

    • greysqrl
    • July 1st, 2010

    Yep, dedicated flash is on my ‘to buy’ list. Macro lens next though. 🙂

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