Flash Techniques

Food Food

Side lighting makes food look delicious.

When shooting food, aim light from the side or diagonally from the back. The external flash’s flexibility lets you create the charming afternoon ambience of a café terrace, even if you shoot at night!

Food

Shooting data: EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
• 1/80 sec. • f/4.5 • ISO 100 • WB: Auto

How To

Like window light, bounce flash creates a bright, spacious mood.

Bounce flash reflected off a wall simulates light coming through a window.
This captures the food’s vivid colors and soft textures in the most pleasing way.

Built-in flash
External flash

Layout and Flash Position Layout and Flash Position

Tip!

Increase exposure compensation to make food appear freshly cooked.

Photographing food served on white dishes can produce drab, unappetizing results. To avoid this, simply increase the exposure compensation. Your food will look fresh and delicious, and your photos will have instant appeal.

Two flash units reveal the appetizing colors and sheen of fine cuisine.

Freshly cooked food has a unique luster that adds to its appeal. To capture this look, try using two flash units: one for overall brightness and the other to produce soft reflections. Home-cooked dishes will look like gourmet meals!

Shooting data: EF-S 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 IS
• 1/80 sec. • f/5.6 • ISO 100 • WB: Auto

How To

Add a tantalizing accent with the camera’s built-in flash!

Use bounce flash from an external unit to produce the overall lighting, then use the camera’s built-in flash to add that mouthwatering glaze to marinades and other dishes. If there is no nearby wall, bounce external flash off a white cutting board. A paper towel can reflect light to further brighten the photo.

Built-in flash Built-in flash
External flash External flash

Tip!

Use external flash to photograph lovely table settings.

To capture the beauty of a table arrangement, position the external flash away from the camera and bounce it diagonally from the back. This lights up a wide area of the table, creating a bright atmosphere that highlights the arrangement. (It's hard to believe this was shot at night!)

Plants & Flowers Plants & Flowers

A little ingenuity is all it takes to create your own sunshine.

Verandas filled with lush plants look best under sunlight. An external flash can help create “sunlight” to brighten your garden!

Shooting data: EF-S 18–135mm f/3.5–5.6 IS
• 1/50 sec. • f/5.6 • ISO 100 • WB: Auto

How To

Capture the feeling of natural sunlight with bounce flash!

Add a feeling of bright sunlight by bouncing flash off a wall. This produces soft side light, providing essential depth and form to the photo while making colors more vivid.

Built-in flash
External flash

Layout and Flash Position Layout and Flash Position

Tip!

Use bounce flash to eliminate your own shadow.

Close-ups can be marred by your own shadow appearing in the photo, even when the subject is brightly lit. Minimize this by using an external unit to lighten any unwanted shadows.

Enhance the beauty of flowers with lighting.

Capturing the natural beauty of flowers can be difficult when shooting up close. You can easily solve this problem by positioning the flash off-camera.

Shooting data: EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
• 0.8 sec. • f/9 • ISO 100 • WB: Auto

How To

Diagonal back lighting gives flowers a fresh, vibrant look!

Position the external flash off-camera – either to the side or diagonally from the back – so that light shines through the petals. This convincingly recreates the natural brilliance of sunlight, even when shooting at night or on a rainy day.

Built-in flash
External flash

Tip!

Use a sprayer to add an accent of morning dew.

Lightly misting flowers with water creates a refreshing, natural appearance. You can also soften the scene by placing a glass plate covered with water drops in front of the lens. A touch of inspiration and a little experimentation is all it takes to shoot stunning flower photos.

Arts & Crafts Arts & Crafts

Create a digital scrapbook of kids’ creative moments.

Those precious creative gems that children make can disappear or become damaged over the years. A digital scrapbook containing photos of their very special artwork is a great way to preserve fond memories.

Shooting data: EF-S 18–135mm f/3.5–5.6 IS
• 1/60 sec. • f/4.5 • ISO 800 • WB: Manual

How To

Bounce flash adds dimension and clearly reveals details!

With bounce flash, you can add a sense of depth to photos and expose delicate textures and shapes. Make sure you find the right location to complement the originality and inspiration of the artwork!

Built-in flash
External flash

Layout and Flash Position Layout and Flash Position

Tip!

Use bounce flash to shoot framed pictures.

Framed pictures are difficult to photograph with built-in flash due to light reflecting off the glass. Bounce flash avoids this problem, vastly reducing distracting reflections.

Showcase your finest creations around the world.

Sharing photos of crafts on the Web or collecting them in albums is a satisfying experience anyone can enjoy. A little extra attention to lighting is all it takes to make crafts and artwork look their best.

Shooting data: EF-S 18–135mm f/3.5–5.6 IS
• 1/60 sec. • f/5.6 • ISO 800 • WB: Auto

How To

Proper lighting is key to realistic-looking model photos.

Position external flash off-camera and bounce off the ceiling. To simulate a sunset, place a sheet of red cellophane over the flash. Blue cellophane creates the rich, moody light that occurs just before sunrise or under a deep blue summer sky. With a little imagination, you’ll discover more ways to imbue photos with seasonal ambience.

Built-in flash
External flash

Layout and Flash Position Layout and Flash Position

Tip!

Combine external flash bounced off ceilings with built-in flash for large items.

Flash bounced off the ceiling creates soft light that covers a broad area, making it ideal for shooting large items or arrangements of many small items. When used off-camera with built-in flash, photos come to life with vivid colors and a natural sense of depth.

Portraits Portraits

Brighten facial expressions with external flash during the day!

External flash can be used during the day for a wide variety of situations, such as eliminating shadows on a subject and brightening cute faces. The flexibility of external flash also lets you control background blur to frame smiling subjects.

Shooting data: EF 50mm f/1.8 II • 1/250 sec.
• f/5.6 • ISO 800 • WB: Auto

How To

Flash eliminates unseemly shadows!

Using flash for daylight shots adds light to areas that would otherwise be lost in shadow. The extra light provided by external flash brightens faraway subjects. In addition, you can choose to keep the background in focus using a large f-number, or softly blur it using high-speed sync.

Built-in flash
External flash

Layout and Flash Position Layout and Flash Position

Tip!

Combine bounce flash with built-in flash when photographing people indoors.

Bouncing external flash off the ceiling bathes both people and surroundings in natural-looking light similar to window light. In addition, the camera’s built-in flash creates a bright catch light in eyes for a lively, energetic look.

Pets Pets

Capture flattering candid photos of your pets.

Built-in flash can’t quite capture the feel of your pet’s soft, downy fur. But with external flash, your pet photos come alive with a warmth you can almost feel.

Shooting data: EF-S 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 IS • 1/50 sec.
• f/3.5 • ISO 100 • WB: Auto

How To

Bounce flash makes pet photos look more natural!

Photograph pets with bounce flash to show off how cute and lovable they are. This technique brings out the softness in their fur and makes their faces look healthy and happy!

Built-in flash
External flash

Layout and Flash Position

Tip!

Use external flash for enchanting aquarium shots.

Photographing fish in an aquarium with built-in flash is difficult due to light reflecting off the glass. To avoid this, position the external flash either above the tank or on the side and make sure the lens is as close as possible to the aquarium.

Photograph pets and other animals at eye level.

If you photograph your pet from up high you are likely to miss their adorable expressions. Instead, photograph them eye-to-eye for delightfully expressive images.

Personal Items Personal Items

Side lighting accentuates metallic finishes and adds depth.

When shooting for blogs or online auctions, you’ll want products to look their best. Experiment with different lighting angles and see the difference a little extra effort makes.

Shooting data: EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM • 1/50 sec.
• f/4.5 • ISO 100 • WB: Auto

How To

EOS Utility makes product photography a snap!

Position the external flash to either side. Also, try shooting with EOS Utility (software bundled with EOS cameras); this lets you operate your EOS DSLR via a computer, giving you the opportunity to sit back and view results on a large screen as you shoot.

Built-in flash
External flash

Layout and Flash Position Layout and Flash Position

Tip!

Use reflected or transmitted light to reveal textures and add depth!

Highlights produced by reflected light add accents and bring out the texture and shape of metal and glass. In addition, you can emphasize transparency by reflecting light through glass or other items made with translucent materials. The flexibility of external flash gives you the freedom to add light from any angle.

Common household items make great lighting accessories.

When shooting with flash, try some of these common household items to heighten creative expression.

White cutting board and drawing paper

Bounce flash off other surfaces besides a wall or ceiling. Simply bounce off a piece of paper or even a white cutting board.

Colored cellophane

Direct the flash through colored cellophane to simulate the warm glow of a sunrise or sunset.

Paper towel or tracing paper

Putting translucent items in front of the flash is another way to soften and diffuse light. Just like bounce flash, the contrast of the scene is lowered and shadows are lightened.

Food tray

A tray also works to soften the photo, reflecting light from the flash up into shadows.

Aluminum foil

This makes an efficient bounce surface and reflects light more effectively than a wall or ceiling. Photos will have sharper contrast than those shot by bouncing flash off surfaces that are not as reflective.