External Flash Photography
The basic flash that comes on your camera should rarely be used, it adds sharp shadows and flattens out your subject too much. With most DSLR cameras you can change the ISO so that it is more sensitive to the light and will catch more light, thus brightening up your subject.
However there are also times when your subject might move too much causing ghost-like subjects instead. So what do you do if you don’t want ghosts and you don’t want flat subjects? For these times it is handy to have an external flash. External flashes can cost anywhere between $30 and $800 for the most common ones, but they can enhance a pictures quality. Check out our introductory guide to flash photography to learn more.
Benefits of using an External Flash:
1. A cleaner look to the diffusers you use to soften your lighting
There are handheld diffusers that can be used with your built in flash but with an external flash you can buy diffusers that hook to the flash to make it easier and cleaner looking.
Color diffusers can also be used to change the color of your lighting.
2. Reflectors can change the angles and intensity of bounced light
Again there are hand held ones but the ones that attach to your flash make it much easier.
3. A flexibility to the ways you can angle and turn it
Most external flashes rotate so the light can be moved to come from a wider variety angles.
4. Red eye reduction in portraits
The light is no longer coming from close to the center of the camera so your chances for red eye are much less.
5. Better illumination of subjects who are farther away
An external flash is much more powerful than the built in one so it has a larger distance it can cover.
6. More control of your lighting
There are settings on your external flash that can allow you to change the brightness and you just have more overall control of your lighting.
7. Added creativity with your lighting
Your lighting options become endless as you try new positions, angles and brightness. Explore our introductory flash photography page to find out more.
8. More options with positioning, tripods, and remotes
Your flash is no longer just connected to your camera, it can be moved and positioned to your wants and needs.
9. Lighting looks more natural
Lights aren’t usually straight in front of us, so with an external flash you can make the lighting look like it is coming from above or from the side.
10. Varied possibilities to bounce light off walls or ceilings
Bounced light is fun to play with as you bounce it off ceilings or walls and depending on the colors of those or other things you bounce it off your subject will look different.