First steps in flash photography

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  • Everything in life can be tiring and tiresome if we don’t have the ability to look at it as if it’s the first time we’ve ever done it. – Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

    I have never in my life photographed with real flash before. Sure I have experimented with a build-in flash in my cameras and phones, or to be more accurate, actually been forced to use flash when I could not find a stable alternative to a tripod, but I have never actually attempted any kind of studio lightning in any of my photos.

    For my birthday I received a Nikon SB-700 flash as a present and I was very exciting to use it the first time.

    I always thought that the flash photography was easy (yeah, I know) – just attach the flash and shoot. So it came as a bit of a surprise for me when I saw that the flash manual was almost as thick as the manual for hubby’s D5200. The flash itself has menu and it can be used both on and off camera as master or slave light source. For those of you who used the flash it might sound stupid or obvious, but I honestly had no clue.

    I decided that I will not be beaten by a flash and started a small research before the first photoshoot. I read the manual, multiple web articles, I attached and detached all the accessories that came with the flash and I actually made sure to have different types of reflectors on hand for my first try (both flat and umbrella).

    My subject was a pretty Chinese Doll, which represents Summer in the series of 4 dolls, which I bought during my visit to Beijing.

    The first surprise was that you can actually achieve a very strong shade effect and an effect that you are shooting the subject in the darkness even if it is lit.

    My second learning was that the underexposing with the flash when directing it straight to the subject or 45 degrees up or to the side (depending on the position) with the reflector and overexposing with the flash when directing it in to the reflecting umbrella gave best results… or at least I liked them the most.

    The also flash seem to be doing great on it’s own when it comes to white balance control (big surprise for me) and it was very quick to respond and didn’t overheat.

    I was quite happy with the overall results, however what I was a bit upset due to the fact that I couldn’t get the flash to remotely connect to my D7000 camera… maybe I am doing something wrong.. so back to the manual for me.

    Have you used flash (both on and off camera) in your photos? What was your first experience? Let me know…

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