How useful is an external flash?

Started Aug 27, 2012 | Discussions thread
cplunk
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Re: How useful is an external flash?
In reply to chlamchowder, Aug 27, 2012

I've seen an awful lot of flash tutorials showing photos with and without flash to make me very convinced that they are absolutely very useful in many circumstances if used properly.

And that's the tricky part, learning how to use them properly.

I think much of the reason so many of us avoid flash, especially when beginning, is that it can be tricky, and properly using them usually involves some requirements that cannot be met with the on camera flash (bouncing the flash, namely). A lot of the photos that give flash a bad reputation are the on camera flash, probably in auto mode. But a lot of the best portraits you'll ever see use flash, and it's done such that it is hardly noticeable unless you stop and consider how they did that (available light inside a studio generally just isn't an option).

Once I got an accessory flash, mounted a suitable diffuser and bounced it off the ceiling, I found it very useful and only leave home without it if I have no bag whatsoever to drag along (and no extra lenses) and am expecting nothing to be dark. In many situations indoors, just pointing it straight up with the diffuse on it (I never take it off) make some photos that would likely be pretty awful otherwise turn out pretty well.

I've toyed around with off camera flash, and using multiple flashes at the same time, and, that gets challenging, and rarely works out just right for me, but I have very no real experience and haven't invested any real time in learning.

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