17.04.2013

Using Flash and LED to improve your photography

17.04.2013

Using Flash and LED to improve your photography

UK local hero Jacob James is a young and talented travel photographer who will be sharing with you a series of 8 weekly articles entitled An Introduction to Photography – in the last article of the series Jacob gives tips on how to use flash and LED to improve your photography.

When shooting indoors often the lighting will be poor and your images will have to be shot at high ISOs. Shooting at high ISOs will make your images grainy and reduce their overall quality. The only way to prevent this is by bringing in external light sources to add more light to the scene. External light sources can be pretty much anything but in this short article we are going to focus on two of the most popular types:

  • hotshoe flashguns
  • and LED panels such as the Manfrotto Maxima

1. Ditch your pop-up – Often the first venture into external lighting is with the use of the built in pop up flashes found on nearly all phones, compacts, CSCs and DSLRs. Most of the time this type of flash will light your subjects in an unflattering ‘deer in the headlights’ kind of look often combined with bad red eye. Ditching the on-board flash and switching to an external light source such as a speedlight will dramatically increase the quality of your images. You can even improve your phone images with a small LED light mounted to your KLYP case

LEDOUTSIDE (1 of 1)-2

2. Bounce it – Now you have got an external light source, the next step is learning how to use it to its full potential. The first way to dramatically improve the lighting in your image is to bounce your flash. If you are indoors and in a room with neutral coloured walls or fairly low ceilings you can fire your flash up into the wall or ceiling which will bounce the light back at your subject. By bouncing the light you produce a more flattering softer light which also has much more spread. This technique is used all the time by event and wedding photographers who are shooting images on the go.

LEDOUTSIDE (1 of 1)

3. Get it off camera – For maximum control of your external lighting source the best thing to do is to get it off your camera. Having the freedom to position your light wherever you want will allow you to add shape and depth to your images. The image below was taken at the recent Gadget Show Live just using one Manfrotto Maxima LED placed high on a tripod. To read more about lighting tips check out my article – Introduction to Lighting.

Please post your feedback, questions and views on this article or related topics and we will do our very best to answer them for you!

For more information visit Jacob’s blog at: http://jacobjamesphotography.co.uk or Twitter: @JacobJamesPhoto

Top