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03-12-2009, 03:20 AM   #1
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How to shoot with flash?

Hiya, I've always wondered how should I shoot photos with the built-in flash on my Pentax K100D Super. I've heard I should be using Manual mode.. But, with what settings? The photos I've made don't really please me, sometimes the photos are too bright, then too dark and so on.

03-12-2009, 03:50 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by tony13 Quote
Hiya, I've always wondered how should I shoot photos with the built-in flash on my Pentax K100D Super. I've heard I should be using Manual mode.. But, with what settings? The photos I've made don't really please me, sometimes the photos are too bright, then too dark and so on.

Hello and welcome.

My answer maybe can seams a little hard but pick up a photo-book and study about light and flash.

It's the only way you will understand it.

If you are really intressted in learn take good photos it's worth the time

Try in in auto-mode too...and check out the slow synk mode. It will improve your photos too.

03-12-2009, 08:06 AM   #3

I know its not the answer you are expecting, but the best thing you could do is trying to avoid the built in flash.

Well if you still want to try shooting with built in flash, expose the available light ant only then fire the flash. Do not use your flash as a primary source of light.
03-12-2009, 03:27 PM   #4
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Manual mode will indeed allow you to get the most control over the results, but as the name implies, it means you will have to really know what you are doing. So I second the recommendation for reading up on exposure and flash. Once you understand the basic concepts, it should be reasonably clear hwo to use the camera and flash to achieve the results youa re after, but if not, at least you'll have some more specific questions to ask.

03-13-2009, 07:36 PM   #5
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I have to say that I dislike the built in flash it tends to produce really stark shadows and washed out faces. The only time I use it is when I have a lot of back lighting. Otherwise, I use an AF360 or a faster lens (depends on the situation as to which I use).
03-14-2009, 05:40 PM   #6
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As always, there are tricks and there are tricks. I carry around a few teeny tiny thin white baby socks. If I need the popup flash and want soft light, on goes a sock! A mirror or reflective windshield sunguard (three bucks at WalMart) held off the the side, can really help. I also use an AF360 flash (with diffuser) in wireless mode, on tripod or held at arm's length, triggered by the popup flash.

Yes, read the camera and flash manuals. Read about photographic (and artistic) lighting. Browse the photo books at your local library - look for those that show how specific shots were lit. And practice practice practice.

Amateurs debate cameras. Workers choose lenses. Artists study light.
03-16-2009, 04:39 AM   #7
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Most of the below "essay" deal with an external flash such as the Pentax 540, but the concepts can still be applied to the built-in flash...

Basically, with flash, the FLASH exposure is solely determined by flash power (actually duration, how long the bulb is actually firing for), aperture and ISO. Ambient exposure is determined by ISO, shutter speed, and aperture (just like without any flash), so the trick is balancing the two. If I'm indoors in a smallish room (such as in someone's house), I usually just forget about ambient since the flash is powerful enough to light up the entire room (hence the 1/180s below, if the flash didn't fire, I'd have a more or less black picture) Now although you're shooting MANUAL Mode, that's only for the ambient exposure (the exposure needle in the viewfinder will blink warning you about underexposure, but ignore that). The camera's P-TTL metering will determine the needed flash output for a proper exposure.

Here's something I wrote on another forum -
"Easy" recipe for great P-TTL flash shots -
1)Point flash at ceiling
2)Put camera in MANUAL mode on the mode dial
3)Set FEC to +1 on the flash head

4)Shoot RAW (this allows you to recover some highlights that might get blown as a result of #3 above)

5)Set ISO to 200 (to start)
6)Set shutter speed to 1/180s
7)Set f-stop to whatever DOF you want

Now if the flash runs out of "power" because of high ceilings, you can raise the ISO or open up the f-stop to compensate. Or you can slow down the shutter to bring more ambient light into the exposure (in addition to adjusting ISO/f-stop) If the ceiling is REALLY high (like in a church), you may need a reflector to throw some of the light forward (I use the Joe Demb Flip-it).

Quick and dirty outdoor fill flash tutorial -
Basically, if your subject is in shade and the background is bright (ie under a tree) or majorly backlit, fill flash is your friend. Think of those times when you got a properly exposed background, but the subject was almost pitch black.

Put camera into Av mode, metering will set the shutter speed to expose the overall shot (which in the situations that call for fill-flash will generally be the background) based on your selected aperture/ISO.
Make sure flash is set to HSS (in case your shutter speed go faster than 1/180s) and P-TTL. Fire away! The shutter speed/f-stop/ISO will expose the background, and the flash should output enough power to light up the foreground.

Now to control the background exposure, you use exposure compensation on the camera body (which would adjust the shutter speed), to adjust how much fill for the flash exposure, you use Flash exposure compensation. The trick is balancing the two (as it is with indoor work), and that comes with experience/experimentation.
03-16-2009, 05:05 AM   #8
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If you are shooting indoors, try to set ISO as high as possible (up to 800 is absolutely fine for your camera), set your aperture as large as possible (e.g. in the f/2.0 - f/3.5 range), and shutter speed as long as possible. Then shoot.

Possible problems:
1. hard shadows on faces? Cover your built-in flash with a good old film canister, to disperse the flash light.

2. dark background. Try an even slower shutter speed, especially if your subjects don't move. You will add more ambient light this way (shutter speed does not influence the light from the flash)

3. windows are nearly white (overexposed): try a faster shutter speed, to reduce ambient light (while keeping the light from the flash).

4. but the best you can do is: bounce your flash via the ceiling. Alas your built-in flash cannot do that! But a cheap second hand flash would be perfect for this.

03-16-2009, 05:10 AM   #9
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To the OP: my recommendations are only valid in a limited number of situations. Not e.g. if your pictures are too bright already (I forgot that you mentioned that too in your post).

And you should of course always keep an eye on EV (exposure value). If there's enough ambient light, don't pop up your flash, or use it with a negative compensation (like -1.3 or -1.7).

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