swivel and tilt

10 Jan swivel and tilt

I’m not a trained photographer. I’ve learned a lot from Kris (a trained photographer) and by trial and error, and just practicing every. single. day. When I learn something new, it gives me energy and motivation to keep going.

So here’s one little trick I learned last week that is making a big difference in how I shoot indoors. I had never used a flash indoors because I hate how flat it makes everything look and the colors get all wonky. I rely instead on natural light, which means that I’m always watching the sun and plopping the kids down by a window to take some shots. Or, I just make it easier on myself and go outside.

Then Kris remembered he has this external flash that tilts and swivels, so you can bounce light off the ceiling or behind you rather than directly off your subject. It’s amazing.

…I know all you seasoned photographers are probably rolling your eyes and saying “duh, Gina….that’s like, the oldest trick in the book.” But to me, it’s as if the heavens parted and dropped the gift of natural light into my lap. Natural light that I can create anytime I want to. Like GOD.

Let me show you what I mean. Here’s an indoor shot of Miles taken in early evening with no flash….just natural light:

 Pretty dark, eh? Though still cute…
Now, here’s a shot taken with the external flash pointed almost directly at Miles:

I pointed the flash over the top of his head so that he wouldn’t have red-eye, but still, the direct flash is way too strong. He looks two dimensional and totally washed out.

So then, I pointed the flash toward the ceiling and tried again:

Much better, though still looks over-exposed, especially where the natural light hits him on the side of his face. So, I turned down the intensity of the flash (I’m not sure how I did this…Kris helped me.). I also tilted the flash further back so that it bounced behind me. The result is much more natural, I think:

It helps that Miles put his arms up, shielding some of the light from his face.

I still need to practice with this, but one area it will help immensely is in taking photos in the kids’ bedrooms, which receive less predictable light.

Just for fun, here’s a couple other shots I took this week (no flash):

My birthday flower from B, which is still miraculously alive after 12 days in a vase. 
The playground near our house. The swings looked lonely to me. 
  • Jackie
    Posted at 21:27h, 10 January

    I’m surprised you found a flash that worked with your camera coincidentally … that’s awesome! Remember with flash … the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. So, you can plan accordingly when shooting your subject. Also, if you need to give the bounced flash a little “boost,” rubber band an index card to the top of the flash head. It will help the light “bounce” farther!