There are some occasions when you don’t have a choice other than to use a flash as your lighting source for photography indoors.
Many photographers try to avoid using flash as much as possible since a it usually produces an unflattering image due to red eye, harsh shadows, hotspots on the skin, and off-color photos etc.
They feel that using flash is like shining a flashlight in somebody’s face and then trying to get a good photo.
In this article, we’ll share with you some indoor flash photography lighting tips to help you capture better photos when using it.
Photo by Archie Campbell
Turn Off the Camera’s Flash Unit
The best way to prevent unflattering looks of a flash is to turn off your camera’s on-board flash unit and instead use an external flash lighting source.
If you do this you won’t be lighting your subject with direct, harsh light, which is what an on-camera flash produces, since it is built directly into the camera and pointed straight at your subject.
An external flash will allow you to bounce the flash light off of the ceiling, a wall, or some other object, which results in a more flattering appearance for the subject.
The Best Ways to Use an External Flash Unit
With an external flash unit, you can turn the head of the flash away from the subject and towards a close-by wall or toward the ceiling.
The flash will bounce off of the wall and the power of it will be diffused, making the light softer and a lot less harsh.
When doing this, the light won’t be coming from a small inch-wide area of the flash unit (which occurs when you point it directly at your subject) and instead will now be shining on your subject from a much larger and wider area since it is bouncing off of a wall.
You can do this same flash photography lighting trick by pointing the head of the flash unit to the ceiling and then bouncing the light down onto your subject. Since most ceilings are bright or even white, it’s quite an effective method. It also creates a very pleasant, soft, even lighting look for your subject.
However, if the ceiling is quite high it may not work or you may notice shadows under the subject’s eyes and chins. It’s a good idea to experiment first if you are in a room with a high ceiling.
Of course, if the ceiling is too high, then you can try using a wall to bounce the light of the flash. In fact, some people prefer to use a wall over a ceiling because there’s less chance of shadows being created from sources overhead.
With a wall, the light is coming more from the front of your subject and this should eliminate any overhead shadows. The light’s intensity can be controlled by moving further away or closer to the wall.
You can try this indoor photography flash method out by aiming the head of the flash unit to a wall that is behind or to the side of you.
A good distance to try would be about three of four feet away from it. Since your flash will be losing some of its power due to bouncing it you can compensate for it by boosting the power of it if possible.
This method should result in images without shadows, a dark background, and a colored skin tone.
We hope you enjoyed these simple indoor flash photography tips. Now that you’re finished reading, leave a comment below telling us which tip was your favorite and share any experiences you’ve had taking these types of photos.
Then, check out our related posts to learn even more ways to improve your photography.