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We've all got some technically deficient snaps like these tucked away in our albums. This is an example of an indoor, direct- flash illuminated photo of Manley, taken with a point-and-shoot camera. The picture is a full-frame flat-bed scan of a machine print. The flesh tones are flat and burned out, there is light fall-off in the background corners, unsightly flash shadows behind and to the left of the subject, and to top it off, the pose is somewhat stiff. If you click on the photo and go to the enlarged, higher resolution version, the red eye typical of built-in camera flash can be seen in all its infamy. Red eye is caused by the reflection of direct flash off the retina of the eye when the flash is in very close proximity to the taking lens of the camera. It can be reduced by having the subject look away from the lens or buying a point-and-shoot with a special pulsating flash designed to minimize the red eye problem. The most effective solution for red eye is to use an adjustable camera with external flash sync; the flash gun can then mounted on a bracket, well offset from the lens.  This is the sort of very ordinary photo that this web makes an effort to help the casual snapshooter take to a higher level.


Now considerably improved, this picture is about all you can really expect from a direct flash, point-and-shoot camera. The camera has been moved back to reduce the difference in exposure between Manley and the tree. This small detail helped to better render the face, though the reflection of the flash light back into the lens still dilutes flesh tones with a lot of white light, making correct color balance impossible. Remember flash falls off as the square of the distance; therefore, try to keep important subjects in as nearly the same plane as possible. The subject has been moved so the shadow falls on the tree instead of the distant background, thus making it all but invisible. The red eye was removed in a photo application and the frame extensively cropped to square, which makes it appear that the camera is closer; actually cropping causes a "telephoto" effect. In photography, you can not always believe your eyes! The pose is loosened up a bit making this scan from a machine print quite satisfying.


This picture of Brent was exposed using a single electronic light source mounted on the camera. It is impossible to detect the use of flash because the technique used, bounce flash, emulates natural room lighting. Simply described, the flash was angled straight up and bounced off the ceiling.  With bounce flash, there is no red eye, no strong background shadows, good modeling of form and color, and an overall very natural appearance. I strongly recommend that you try it. A modified form of bounce lighting utilizes some direct lighting which lightens the shadows under the chin and helps illuminate the clothing better. To use combination direct and bounce flash, either purchase a compound electronic flash unit designed for the purpose or buy or rig a reflector/diffuser  for the flash gun which reflects some light forward when the head is swiveled 60 to 90 degrees up.