DE-LIGHT: GETTING TO KNOW YOUR FLASH
If there’s one aspect of photography guaranteed to confuse, bamboozle and shame even experienced snappers, it’s lighting.
Lighting in photography – and forgive us for stating the obvious – is important. Not only does it affect the aesthetics of an image – lighting someone’s face from below can make them look pretty evil; lighting someone from the side is a much warmer, more sympathetic way of doing things – but it also, obviously, affects things such as the shutter speed you use, your camera’s ISO and the appropriate aperture.
Simply put: the more light you have, the quicker the shutter speed you can use, and the steadier your shot. Or, the more light you have, the smaller the aperture you can use – so your shot will have fuller depth of field. Or, the more light you have the lower your ISO can be, so your images will be cleaner.
See what we mean? Understanding lighting is useful.
Many, but by no means all, OLYMPUS cameras have a pop-up flash built in. Despite what off-camera lighting snobs might tell you, these are crucial in-an-emergency units. The light they make is tricky to shape and bounce, but if you’re working in the dark and simply need more light to get any kind of exposure in the bag, your camera’s pop-up flash is one to use. Better to take a picture with less-than-perfect lighting, than a photo which requires such a long shutter speed that you can’t hold your camera still.
However: your camera has a hotshoe (that shiny metal bit you attach an external flashgun to) for a reason. Hotshoe flashes are more powerful than built-in flashes, and because their head – the bit with the flash bulb in – can be swivelled or angled up and down, the light they produce can be managed much more carefully.
For example: you can point a hotshoe flash at a white ceiling and the light produced by the flash will be reflected by the ceiling and scattered over your subjects, producing a nice, even burst of light. This is perfect for situations such as weddings, where you’ll often find your camera incapable of creating anything like a usable exposure without a helping hand from a decent flash.