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Does an External Flash take better Portraits?

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:10 pm
by soldier
I have a Canon Camera 50D and I do also have a Canon Speedlite 580 EX. Lens in my possession are Canon lens 28-135; 17-85, 70-200 (not the expensive one), 50 MM, 1.8, and a 28-105 all Canon Lens.

Christmas holidays is around the corner. There will be colorful Christmas trees decorations in the Church sanctury as well as the shopping malls. I'll be taking family portraits in the sancuary and maybe at the malls. All these shots will be at night.
Question: Since my Canon 50D has a high ISO options, will using my external flash speedlite 580 eX take better colorful photos? If so could you give me suggestion on what lens (above that I have) and settings on my camera to take colorful beautiful portraits at night.

Re: Does an External Flash take better Portraits?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 8:56 pm
by paul_k
Basically it will not, as the light will be frontal toward the subject, flattening the facial structure and possibly causing the ' red eye' effect

That said, compared to shooting in a dark situation in availble light and thus being forced to use very high ISO and far too slow shutter speeds, image quality will probably much better, as possible under exposure is more easily avoided

I would go for the least bad of the two (flash and flat light vs availble light and almost certain bad image quality) and stick the flash on the camera

To capture the mood of the situation/location though, I would shoot using high ISO despite using the flash, and keep the aperture as open as possible, and the shutter speed as low as possible (for handholding!) thus taking as much of the availble light in the picture as possible.

Using low ISO, closed down aperture and fast shutter speeds will give the so called black hole photography, where your subject will be portrayed in deep black surroundings, sharp, probably well lit, but with very little mood and atmosphere



Re: Does an External Flash take better Portraits?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:03 am
by prinothcat
I'll state an opposing view. If you learn to use your speedlite properly, you will get better images. There is an art to aiming a flash, and knowing how to set your exposures up. Do it incorrectly and you get the flat lighting, shadows on the wall, blown out shot that every one associates with flash because that's how Dad's used to look. Used well flash adds highlights, that oh so desirable bit of light in the pupil of your subject (called catchlight If I recall), and removes shadow from odd lighting angles.. I'm no expert, I 'm still figuring it out myself, but I will use my flash every time over existing light. That's is unless existing light is the desired light or course. Watch any pro shoot portraits and you quickly see they are using fill flash nearly all the time. Heck watch any pro shoot portraits and you realize that lighting control is the name of the game.

Re: Does an External Flash take better Portraits?

PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:39 am
by bug322
the question asked is a bit well ....the camera and flash wont do the work