On-Camera Flash


Digital Photography 101


Lesson Info

On-Camera Flash

I was thinking last night too, about all the things that we did yesterday and all the different lighting that we're playing around with and how great you are were as faras an audience and also models and taking pictures so it was really it was a lot of fun, so today we're covering some interesting things regarding photography and it's something that, well, everyone has on their camera and it's called a built in flash and that's that little flash that pops up on the top of your camera and talk a little bit about that and also I'm going to get into a little bit about lenses for digital slr tze not super deep into that, but just so you have a basic, broad understanding of what the lenses do and how they can really help you create different types of photographs, and then I'm going to talk a lot about composition on the next segment, and then studio lights were going to put together studio lights later today and it's really going to be fun, so get ready. So today we're uncovering the built ...

in flash and ones is so I'm just curious how many will take kind of a quick poll already this morning, how many of you out there are using the pop it flash on your camera? I want to say papa flash it's like, uh, you know, this little flash it just pops up on top of your camera now sometimes you might get some good results with it and maybe not, but I'm curious to see how many of you are are using this much when you're taking photographs and how about you chris alex hans yeah yeah you're using it okay, well, you know what it's easy and it's there so it's something that you know you can instantly do now, um I'll talk a little bit about well, oftentimes when people are too photographs, eh in the professional world of photography they don't really advocate the pop up flash on the camera, but you know what? It's there and there are ways to use it that you can really I don't know modify and be creative with and create some great photos. All right, so flash lights, composition all those things may sound a little bit intimidating, but they really don't have to be and I'm going to just kind of go through each thing and sort of take it apart and give you some examples and we'll play around and and I think you'll find that it's fun and you won't feel as intimidated is maybe you were before we're a little frustrated s o the first thing I wanted to talk about is that actual flash located how to pop up the flash on your camera now I have a picture here of a digital slr camera, and on it, I've just got a little arrow pointing to the button that you actually pressed to pop up that flash on your camera if you have a dslr. Now, I say this because oftentimes I'm out about with my students or friends and family, they have a digital slr camera, and they they're not quite sure how do I get the flash to pop up or not pop up when I wanted teo? I mean, it sounds simple, right? You could just like, if it pops up, you could just pop it back down, but not necessarily so I'm going to give you some information on how to have better control of it and where exactly that is on this camera, and you can look for it's kind of intuitive. You look for that little flash icon that's going on somewhere in the back of your camera, you've got a compact camera, it's, probably on the back, and even if you have a smartphone, you've got some options there where you can choose flash, no flash. Um, and on, say, the back of most of the compact cameras that you might have, you've got all sorts of flash options, so I'm just going toe sort of go through from left to right. If you ever see that little flash icon pop up, maybe you see it on the back of your lcd screen or perhaps on the top of your camera, that means with a little a that means that the camera's reflective light meter on the inside of the camera whenever you pointed it something it's reading all the light in the scene and it's going to make its best guesstimate for the exposure in that scene provided you've probably got in some kind of automatic or semi automatic setting. Now the flash will automatically pop up if the cameras reflective light meter thinks it's too dark so that's why that annoying thing happens if you're ever like in a museum or in a play or just somewhere where they tell you, do not flash your camera and you say, ok, I'm not going to flash it and you press the shutter button and it pops up that's because it's in that automatic flash mode it's it's handy, but you don't have that much control over it, so I often tell people to go back to this to switch to the next mode and I'm gonna give you some examples of forced flash, and that means the camera will flash no matter what, no matter what you're doing if it's super bright out dark out, whatever it will flash and I'll give you some examples about ways you can use that to your advantage. Of course, you've got the no flash with the line through, which is good if you can get to that option sometimes sometimes those icons on the back, the camera are really hard to see, especially if it's bright outside so it's hard to maneuver around in and check that. But it is it is something you need to know. Be aware of if you want to make sure the flashes off, and then that little eyeball that's for red eye. Now we've all encountered those red eye pictures. I mean, how many pictures have you taken at parties and things like that? Where the lights kind of low and you've got the flash on top of your camera and you take the picture and you get it back? You're like everyone looks like a zombie, which might be good for this time of your always being halloween. But that's not really. The intention you had for your photograph is to have people have these red eyes, and the reason it happens is whenever we're in a low light situation, the pupils in our eyes get bigger rightto let in more light so we can see and because they're bigger, there's more access for that flash that's located directly above the lens on these little compact cameras. It's the angle of that light what it's doing is it's bouncing into your eye and hits the retina, which is red and bounces back into your camera so that's why the red eye occurs and you'll see this if you ever take pictures of your pets and things to and sometimes their their eyes even look green but red and humans so that's how it happens, but when you have the red eye, icahn selected what happens with most cameras of celts? Send out a pre flash that is really bright and it shuts down your pupil so it's constricts it and then the second flash takes the picture. So that's, why you want to make sure if you're ever using this red eye reduction that you tell people, hey, I've got a couple flashes going on here keep smiling because what will happen is the first flash will go out to shut down their pupil and they'll go ok pictures over and start walking away and that's when the when the picture was actually taken on the second flashy have a picture of the side of someone's face so that's what that and then the night scene that's a setting you can use to really show off all the ambient light in the background and they try to keep this fairly intuitive, so when you look at them, you can immediately remember? Oh, yeah, that's that's what that's, what that's for I'm going to show you a couple examples now, it's, good to talk about it, but now you really need to see what's happening. So this is a silhouette of me. I'm in venice, italy, and I'm kind of just walking around. I've got a friend of mine taking pictures, and here I am standing beneath the archway cameras pointed at me, it's in just automatic everything, and you can tell that, well, the backgrounds kind of exposed well, you can sort of see what's going on, but I'm a silhouette. Most cameras, they're not going to be able to detect if someone standing there or not, they just all they see is that bright light in the scene and that's what it exposes for so this would be what you'd want to dio is perhaps turn on your forced flash and it's called maybe something else on other cameras, every camera's different, but just look for that loan lightning bolt icon, and that means that it's going to flash no matter what. So then you can kind of override. You can control your camera and tell it what to do is opposed to the camera, making all those decisions for you, so if you're ever in a situation where you need to take pictures quickly all you've got is your little papa flash you know that you can at least put it tio that forced flash setting and then expose for the face correctly and then you'll get the background too this happens all the time when I'm teaching on the cruise ships people will be standing out on the veranda you know, we're out on the edge of the ship this beautiful scenery is behind them, but they're facing into the room or in towards the ship so they look kind of dark, but if you turn on that flash just like you see here, you can illuminate them and also exposed for the background so just a kind of quick little tip tease if you're ever you know, out about and just want to capture shot and it's not working for you just override that flash here's another example that was in a silhouette in a doorway maybe you just have some shadow on the face. This is jack at the beach and just as an example, I turned on the force flash and at least was able to illuminate his face a little bit so we could see what was going on so think about that when you're you're taking pictures and here's another reason you may want to use flash in the middle of the day this is my friend pat we're walking around somewhere in italy, having a gelato and it's in the middle of the day, maybe layer I don't to three in the afternoon, so we've got a lot of light that's happening in these alleyways, but it's kind of shaded light, and what happens sometimes in shaded light is you may be brightened up, but you've got shadows under your eyes or maybe just things don't look as great as they could, so if you turn on that force flash I called the beautifying flash. Sometimes it will help diminish any imperfections that maybe the not so great light is accentuating. So my friend pat is a pretty gal, and she looks more like herself here on the right, as opposed to the picture on the left and thank you, pat, for let me use this photograph, my willing subjects, my friends will come in and give me some examples for pictures. Another thing I wanted to talk to you about is something called flash distance. Now. Yesterday, I talked about if you had your camera say at a ball game and you were pointing it out, you know, you're sitting in the seats and you've got people sitting in front of you and you're trying to capture the picture way down on the field. And you whipped out your camera, and you probably have it in all the automatic mode because you know who has time to look at all the little bells and whistles? You just wanted a snapshot, right? And you turn it on and the flash goes off and you light up the head of the guy sitting in front of you because that's, you know about as far as the flashes going to reach most digital cameras when they're set on going over some settings you can use to extend that range, but most of them only reach maybe ten feet, twelve feet. Sometimes if you've got a big, you know, external flash on your camera, something that you put on there there's an attachment that might reach a little bit further, but you need to be aware of how far that flashes going to reach and if you're too close to the camera, if you're photographing someone that say three feet away, of course they're going to look really brightened flashed out right the farther away they get the softer the lights going to be on them. But just kind of think about that when you are working with flash, especially the flash on your camera, so I want to give you a little a little tip so let's say you're out about and you're taking pictures with your flash and you're thinking, gosh, you know, I just I wish the flash would reach just a little bit farther just a little bit. Well, what you can do is set your cameras I s raise a little bit that's a little kind of tip for on the fly if you need to extend your flash range let's, say, if you're shooting with your cameron, you've got it set. Teo, I also one hundred or two hundred, which is a good basic I s o to have your camera set out, and I'm going to talk about that to just kind of reiterate from yesterday, I s o is your cameras sensors sensitivity to the light so that's something you can do if you are not using your flash at all is to raise your eyes so a little bit tio in essence, you're kind of letting more light into the scene because it's the sensors sensitivity to the light but this is kind of a little tip you khun dio when you want to extend the flash. So here's an example, let's say you've got a camera and it's on just a basic aperture setting, which is at five six and you've got a general ice o of two hundred, I'm just going to use that as our standard if you are, say, three meters or ten feet away the flash will reach whatever you're flashing that's like the maximum three feet is the minimum range and ten feet would be the maximum range on a lot of flashes, especially in the smaller cameras. But let's say I'm keeping the same settings of five six and now I raised the iess o two, eight hundred. Look what happens. I double the distance that that light is going to travel so that's something that you can do if you're ever in a situation like in a room and you want flash something, you know that's a little bit farther away. Just raise your eyes a little bit. It will instantly extend that range tips and tricks. Ok, something else. I wanted to talk to you about two. About using the flash on your camera. Now, not all cameras have this, but a lot of them do now, especially all the dea solares have them and many of the compact cameras have it too. And that's something called flash exposure compensation. So what is that? Uh, what is this icon? Okay, it's got a flash thing in it and it's got a plus sign an a minus sign. All that means is you can then control how hard or soft how bright basically the light is going to be when it comes out of the flash so I just showed you one way to handle it where you can work with the distance and kind of play with that but now you can actually control how bright the light is when it comes out of a flash so if you have taken those party shots you know if people were there may be at this table and you've got beautiful lights in the room and it looks fabulous and it's a nice ambience and you take a flash shot and all you see is like a bright face in the dark background it's because the flash was so bright so here's a way that you can kind of control that let me show you an example here's jack and we're we're outside at a park and I just took a shot and didn't use any flash or anything else and I wanted a little backlight on him like a light coming from behind sort of pop him out of the background you know it's got a nice rym light around his hair the problem is it's really bright back there in the background and he looks too dark so I need some way to illuminate him so yesterday we worked with bouncing the flash a little, bouncing the light a little bit if I had a reflector don't have one right now actually I do so I could in this instance maybe use a reflector and found slight back into jack space that's one thing I could do right now, this is a diffuser, but if I'm on, if I'm on the go and I didn't happen to bring, um one with me, right, this one, they're all kinds of ways you can bounce light or put light into someone's face so I could have this little reflector here and the lights coming from behind jack, right? And I would hit my reflector and bounce back into his face that's one way, I could have let it, but we were just, you know, running around that day, I didn't happen to have a big reflector with me. So what do you d'oh? Well, I turn on the flash and actually no one in the next one going to show you is what I did. I didn't turn on the flash, I use something called exposure compensation, and this is what we were we talked about yesterday where you just hit that little exposure compensation, which is the plus sign or the minus sign on your camera and all that does this kind of brighton or or dark in the scene all together, it just kind of brightens everything or darkens everything, and I thought, you know, okay, I'm still not really loving this shot, because now everything just kind of looks a little overexposed. And he still looks kind of a little too dark in the front. Look at the side of the space, those highlights, or completely blown out meaning there's no detail within that that bright area this face. So this is why I have this little icon here in the lower left. This is what we talked about yesterday, exposure compensation that you can play with the lightner dark in the scene with your camera, it's it's different from the next one, which is flash exposure compensation. So I use flash exposure compensation, and all it did was it flashed him, but it didn't flash him as brightly and it's kind of balancing the light behind him and the light on him so it's, just another way that you consort of control, that flash that's coming out of your room camera. And you can do this on compact cameras dslr ours, it's, kind of a neat little trick to use so that little pop of flash there's more to it than you might think. And there are all kinds of things you can do to control the light. Anybody have any questions about that? So far, there were a couple questions about minimizing red eye reduction or minimizing red eye effect when using a pop up flash, you have any thoughts on that? Well yeah definitely you want to try using the red eye reduction and you know it has to do with the fact that people's pupils have enlarged to try and let in a lot of light so there's some options you can either turn up the house lights which will make people's people's construct but he wants to do that at a fun party right? You wantto keep the light happening and low leave those candles on so you could also try turning the person or move yourself a little bit because it's really that it's that angle of of the light coming from this flash is so close to this lens it goes right and into someone's eye but if you maybe just move your camera over a little bit to the left a little bit to the right, maybe it won't hit there I that particular ways you can kind of play with it that way you know when when you're photographing this is kind of part of working with this two and you're at a party it's a real life situation it's not necessarily a photo shoot where everyone has you know the knowledge that they're there to have their picture taken their their toe converse and have a drinker eats and play and talk and do whatever they do so you may have to take a few different shots and just think about a couple different angles to take them from along with that red eye reduction feature is kind of nice, and sometimes even when you do all of that, you still have the red eye that's happening, so you can also take that into an image editing software program like the one I'm going to show you tomorrow, which is adobe photoshopped elements. But there are many others that do it too, and also a lot of mobile app, but you can use that will get rid of red eye, even if everything that you did still didn't eliminate it, because even that red eye reduction icon is the emphasis is on the reduction, it's not necessarily completely getting rid of it, but you never know. Every situation is a little bit different, and I, you know, I experienced that something kind of strange the summer you never know, maybe someone had damaged their eye and there's something in it that always gleams whenever they have a flash shot taken of them. I have a friend who had that he was hit with a tennis ball and howard in the eye. He looks fine, but every time there's a flash photo taken of him just because it's something happened with his eye, his eyes like whoa that's going to go that we're gonna wish I have weird the fact I don't know that answer, thank you great eso why we just wanted to show you where this option may be located in different places and different cameras, but if let's say you had a dslr it's most likely on the top and that's what this illustration is of a dslr and you can find it just by looking for that little icon I'm gonna go back. You can see that that I can't again that's the flash exposure compensation, so just it kind of tells you right there flash and then plus or minus so I can go brighter or darker that's where it's located, and when you're looking through your view finder, this is the little little thing you'll see at the bottom of your cameras if you find her when you're looking through the optical viewfinder on, you'll notice that it's there, so you'll know that you've got it turned on, or you may want to turn it off, but that's something you always want to do when you're looking through your camera through the optical viewfinder, you want to make sure that what you're seeing down below is where it really what you want to have happen in that particular photograph. Sometimes we don't pay attention because there's just too many icons and things going on in the back of that lcd. The screens everything and I don't want to pay attention to that you just click but just kind of take a little brief little look as to what's going on in the bottom of your optical viewfinder when you're looking through it and this is how it would look as you are either increasing or decreasing that exposure. So what I did for that picture of jack when we were sitting outside in the park is I decrease the flash a little bit because I didn't want him to look too bright and flashed out. I kind of wanted to balance that and I did I took a couple different shots and experimented with, you know, raising it deep, increasing and decreasing it just to see how it was going to look and I was think I was standing probably about, oh, six, seven feet away from him, so that still was within that flash range. Sometimes you just have to, like, you know, take a few shots, increase the exposure a little bit decreases so once you you press the little button on your camera that gives you that flash exposure compensation, this will come up and you can just whatever dial on your camera that you usually use its usually one on the back or maybe one of the front to kind of cycle up and down this little graph here I just want you to know what that looks like because I can talk about it but again to do it is something different but now you know at least what to expect so let's talk a little bit about modifying flash I say modify I'm just like we were doing yesterday we were modifying natural light modifying natural light by bouncing it we were modifying natural light by diffusing it's before we have the diffusion panel we were putting this between harsh light kind of changing the quality of that light so we can do the same thing with flash now you might have seen maybe you've gone to a wedding or arm it's the birthday party and someone is there with, you know, big flash on top of their camera and they've got all kinds of bells and whistles hanging off of it and some modifier on it modifying the light that's great, you know you could do that with those big external speed lights, but you can also do some things instantly with a little compact flash. So I've got with a little compact camera, so I've got that camera but let's say you just have one like this this is a basic little compact camera and notice when I when I'm gonna set this, you can see it when I turned it on the flash just instantly popped up and on this camera right here this is a sony any x and this is a cannon sx two sixty both great cameras this is a little bit more to it on dh this flash kind of pops up a little bit, but for both of those let's say I'm in a restaurant or I'm in someone's home and I want to take a great picture of them and oftentimes this is what happens you put him up kind of close to the wall and you take their flash picture. This is the beautiful danielle here a creative life thank you, daniel, for being my model for this so you have a friend or family member and they're standing up against the wall and you flash the picture and she's a pretty woman, but this could be a little bit better because what's happening in this shot right now that you see things from shadow behind her yeah, that's what flash will do, especially if you've got someone near a wall or near something solid so you'll see a shadow behind them? So the first thing you want to do if you're photographing someone with the flash on one of these cameras is make sure they're not right up against the wall and that's oftentimes when people will do if they're just gonna pose for a shot, they'll go and just stand next the wall but don't do that have him back away from wall at least if you have the room say three feet or even more because the farther they are away from that wall, the less chance you'll have of any shadow happening behind them um but I haven't modified anything yet I'm just using this bear flash so here's what I did to get this next shot it could be the set up for it, so all I did is I took a piece of kleenex, okay? So kind of you know, something that semi transparent you can kind of play around with the transparency by folding it or not I do this often times too if I'm out like it a restaurant or a party and I want to take a nice shot of someone and I don't want to just flash blast him out and so I'll put this in front of it and take the shot and all this does is softens that light and actually it could kind of bounce it around but it softens it coming through the flash that's all it is is this a piece of tissue paper? You know it's really high tech, isn't it? And I was able to capture this shot of daniel, which is a little bit softer and you notice a shadow behind her is not his harsh and actually even warmed things up a little bit, so I'll go back to the first one so things look a little hard and now things are looking a little softer and the colors even changed a little bit too and that's something you can kind of play around with yesterday we talked about using your white balance options and playing around with that, but sometimes when you're shooting pictures of people having a little warmth to their skin tone is a good thing, so that's just kind of like the little who knew that you could do you know something that basic and here's another little tip I like to I like tio well, you'd never know it when you see me at the airport, but I do like to travel light although I pack a lot of shoes but what's happened some time let's say you're in a restaurant and or wherever you're at a party and you also want to modify the light. This is something else I use is just a little compact with a mirror on it to powder my nose and that's something else you can use and all I'm doing here is I would place the mirror kind of a little bit in front of this flash and take the shot now I don't have a sample shot to show you right now, but I'm showing you how to do it and that's something you could do to like bounce that light around so you're not really going to have harsh light falling right upon your subject, so bouncing just like what we were doing yesterday with the natural light with the reflector or defusing it with a kleenex. You know, it doesn't always have to be high tech, just whatever works. You know, I have friends that work as dps directors of cinematography, so what they do on movie sets is they handle lighting, that's all they do and someone's camera, too. But though they'll handle what's happening with the light in the scene, and I was on a big time movie set, and I remember he took a mirror just like this and found some light that was coming from one of the lights and just bounced it being right on to whatever it is that they needed to have lit up. So, yes, you can use professional reflectors and all these things, but sometimes just what you have, the whole essence of it is you're reflecting or defusing the light. So think about what reflects and what, what diffuses, what's, what's, you know, going to come in between whatever the life sources, you're so.

Class Description

Are you ready to start taking amazing digital images? Join award-winning photographer Erin Manning for a three-day introduction to the fundamentals of digital photography — frustration-free.

Whether you take pictures with your phone, a point-and-shoot digital camera, or a DSLR, Erin will give you the tools you need to capture beautiful digital images. You’ll learn about light and exposure, including how to work with and modify your on-camera flash. You’ll learn about common errors beginning photographers make and develop strategies for troubleshooting. Erin will also guide you through the basics of digital image editing and sharing your images online.

By the end of Digital Photography 101, you’ll have the creative and practical skills to create, edit, and share stunning digital images.



Good basic or "refresher" course.