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Thread: Photography Questions

  1. #1
    Guest

    Photography Questions

    This may seem rather simplistic, but what are the lighting guidelines dictating whether or not to use a flash?
    And are disposable cameras pretty much shit unless you follow strict distance and lighting?

    Examples:
    Outdoors, overcast sky so no sun during middle of day though.

    Indoor, natural light filterin in windows in backdrop, but overcast so slightly darker in room. yes or no? subject 6-7 ft away.

    There's others I have questions on but want to start here.

    Thanks in advance.

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  2. #2
    Strat,

    Flash is a good idea for subjects that are near to the camera in many instances. The disposable cameras use very small apertures to produce fairly deep depth of field to get past the lack of focusing mechanism. They do have high speed films loaded into them to help compensate. Even so, flash is useful with them as long as you are within range. Another short coming of disposable cameras is that their flashes are not terribly powerful and are uncontrolled. Every time they are fired, they give you everything they've got whether or not you need it. Fortunately, the films used typically have quite wide exposure latitude so the lab can usually pull a halfway decent print off the neg.

    Now to your examples. Lets think of doing portraits for the time being.

    First, outdoors with overcast. Flash can be useful however generally the illumination is pretty even and so this is often a good time to take pictures without flash. FLash might be used, however to boost the illumination on the subject, causing a bit of contrast between the subject and background. This can be an effective way to separate the subject from the background.

    Indoor with natural light coming in through a window. Flash is good here particularly if the window is behind the subject. Automatic cameras are frequently confused by bright light coming in behind the subject. (This might not be a window, either. It could be a table lamp or a mirror.) Flash will help to overcome ambient light and can help to yield correct color balance in the scene. It also helps by allowing a shorter exposure time which will prevent blurring due to camera movement.

    Window light on your subject can be a great lighting method if that lighting comes from the side or from slightly in front of the subject. Flash would reduce the contrast from the daylight illuminated portion of the scene to the unlighted side. this might or might not be desirable depending the the effect you're after.

    Here's another example where flash can be effective. (There are probably hundreds) On a bright, sunny day particularly if the sun is high. Generally, you'll see deep shadows in eye sockets, under noses and chins. These shadows can be strong enough to make it impossible to see the eyes. Flash will help reduce the density in the shadow areas, bringing detail into those places.

    On a slightly larger scale, if your subject is in the shade of a building or tree or whatever and there is daylight illuminating the background, flash will be usefull there for the same reason as in the last example.

    I hope that's helpful. I spent about 20 years doing photography and about 15 years teaching it. If I can give you more help I'd be happy to do it.

    I sent you a private message, Strat.

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