Taking a flash photo inside? Reflect the flash up at the ceiling + other tips

billy logan

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The light of a flash is "too reflect-y" on your beautiful guitar sometimes. Try taking a white index card, or any scrap of paper, and hold it at at 45-degree angle right in front of the flash. Bounce the flash off the ceiling.

Most digital cameras and smartphones can automatically adjust to the "less bright, but more diffuse" light.

You might get a better photo. That's all. Just experiment. And maybe don't hold the index card right in front of the lens.

Oh. If the ceiling is really really high, this won't work. But regular house ceilings, probably ok.
 

Deeve

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I put my finger partly over the flash.
YMMV
 

Killing Floor

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Not telling you how to live your life. But try this:
upload_2021-12-2_17-48-52.png
 

archetype

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Right! Old school techniques like this can work well. Do Web searches and you'll find that film photographers have been doing this for decades and have tips and techiques.

archetype's Tip #17 For Cameras and Not Phones: Tape some bubble wrap over the flash if you're using a camera with a strobe flash. It diffuses the light in many directions. Small bubbles work way better than large bubbles.
 

Buckaroo65

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I remember being in San Francisco with my grandma, and she was going to take a picture of the GG Bridge...
"Granma, you can't take that picture at night, nothing will show up!"
"well why the hell not, I got a Flashbub!"
 

billy logan

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Ok. A question 4 all the physicists out there -

Please pretend for the moment that, in post #5, buckaroo5's Granma's camera flash was detachable, but wirelessly linked to her camera, and buckaroo5 helpfully carried, or rowed ;-), the flash, but not the camera, up to very close to the foundation of the bridge. Like only 15 feet away.

Would the little area of the base of the bridge's foundation that the flash illuminated make a good exposure on Granma's camera, even if Granma and her camera had stayed back at their original "way too far away" distance?

I think I read that this was the case. Against my expectation.

Admittedly in this fictional scenario 95% of the photo would probably be pitch black. But something about all of the flash's light successfully illuminating a tiny fraction of the frame.

Seems to break the law, the Inverse Square Law. Short flash-to-subject distance, very long subject-to-camera distance.

If you try this "rowing up close with the flash" experiment IRL, plz check the tide schedule so as you don't get swept out into the cold and vast Pacific Ocean.
 

unixfish

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Ok. A question 4 all the physicists out there -

Please pretend for the moment that, in post #5, buckaroo5's Granma's camera flash was detachable, but wirelessly linked to her camera, and buckaroo5 helpfully carried, or rowed ;-), the flash, but not the camera, up to very close to the foundation of the bridge. Like only 15 feet away.

Would the little area of the base of the bridge's foundation that the flash illuminated make a good exposure on Granma's camera, even if Granma and her camera had stayed back at their original "way too far away" distance?

I think I read that this was the case. Against my expectation.

Admittedly in this fictional scenario 95% of the photo would probably be pitch black. But something about all of the flash's light successfully illuminating a tiny fraction of the frame.

Seems to break the law, the Inverse Square Law. Short flash-to-subject distance, very long subject-to-camera distance.

If you try this "rowing up close with the flash" experiment IRL, plz check the tide schedule so as you don't get swept out into the cold and vast Pacific Ocean.

No. The flash works because you fill the area within 15 feet with light. If you are a quarter mile away with the wireless, the light will be diffused by openness of the space between you. You might get a slightly lighter, small speck of focus where the flash went off.

An analogy would be a small glass of water can feed hour houseplant. That same glass of water will do nothing for your front lawn, much less anything bigger. You need a lot more water to have any effect. That small glass may only water a 3 inch circle.

Or - a "normal volume" speaking voice right next to you is easy to hear. But the neighbor across the street won't hear you, even if you are both outside. You need to yell, or at least speak up, to cover the distance.
 

nojazzhere

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Ok. A question 4 all the physicists out there -

Please pretend for the moment that, in post #5, buckaroo5's Granma's camera flash was detachable, but wirelessly linked to her camera, and buckaroo5 helpfully carried, or rowed ;-), the flash, but not the camera, up to very close to the foundation of the bridge. Like only 15 feet away.

Would the little area of the base of the bridge's foundation that the flash illuminated make a good exposure on Granma's camera, even if Granma and her camera had stayed back at their original "way too far away" distance?

I think I read that this was the case. Against my expectation.

Admittedly in this fictional scenario 95% of the photo would probably be pitch black. But something about all of the flash's light successfully illuminating a tiny fraction of the frame.

Seems to break the law, the Inverse Square Law. Short flash-to-subject distance, very long subject-to-camera distance.

If you try this "rowing up close with the flash" experiment IRL, plz check the tide schedule so as you don't get swept out into the cold and vast Pacific Ocean.
You would also have to worry about the flash "sync". The best way for her to have gotten a decent picture would have been to use a long exposure (very slow shutter speed) with a small aperture. (high "f" stop for sharper focus) This is why experienced photographers can get amazingly detailed photos, and amateurs get tiny little "snaps". ;)
 

howardlo

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Just tilting the flash unit head toward the ceiling is far easier than using an index card (and works far better).
 

Willie Johnson

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Night picture setting on a lot of phones is great for low light settings that aren't strictly night. Try it, and the use the flash if it doesn't look right--one of the true joys of digital photography is that trying a bunch of different exposure options doesn't cost you anything, unlike film photography.
 

nojazzhere

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Night picture setting on a lot of phones is great for low light settings that aren't strictly night. Try it, and the use the flash if it doesn't look right--one of the true joys of digital photography is that trying a bunch of different exposure options doesn't cost you anything, unlike film photography.
One old saying of veteran photographers was , "Film is cheap".......that's why they would "bracket" exposures, meaning take the picture at several different exposures, (usually altering aperture or "f"-stop) and then choosing the best one in the darkroom. This is also why you often seen a pro with his auto-winder firing off dozens of exposures. Once the "moment" has passed, you may never get another chance......better to have too many shots rather than missing "THE ONE". ;)
 

Willie Johnson

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One old saying of veteran photographers was , "Film is cheap".......that's why they would "bracket" exposures, meaning take the picture at several different exposures, (usually altering aperture or "f"-stop) and then choosing the best one in the darkroom. This is also why you often seen a pro with his auto-winder firing off dozens of exposures. Once the "moment" has passed, you may never get another chance......better to have too many shots rather than missing "THE ONE". ;)
Isn't the old saying something along the lines of, "the difference between an amateur photographer and a pro is 50 rolls of film"?
 

VintageSG

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Swivel head flash units with a fill flash were a great invention.

If you find the correct brand of toilet paper; two ply, not too thick, a single ply over a main flash head creates a good diffuser. The coloured versions can help soften the colour temperature too.
 




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