Canon: Bouncing Flash
The camera pop-up flashes and the “lower end“ flashes can only illuminate in front. Most “good” flashes allow you to bounce the light instead of just sending it straight in front. You can bounce the light to the ceiling or even behind you toward a corner or a large reflector.
Regular hot shoe flashes have only one power setting: the full power. To throw less light, they cannot reduce the power, they reduce the time of the flash. A ½ power is just the same amount of energy but over ½ of the time. A ¼ power is just the same amount of energy but over ¼ of the time... just like a camera shutter.
Camera manufacturers have spent millions upon millions to simplify the flash and make it work with bounce, slave, remote... Take advantage of it.
My standard settings for the flash operations for the camera (I even have it stored as C1) are:
- Manual mode
- Speed: 1/80s
- Aperture: f/5.6
- ISO: 800
- Evaluative Metering
- Auto White Balance
- Single Shooting
- One-Shot AF
My standard setting for the flash is:
I often adjust either the ISO and/or the shutter speed. The shutter speed controls how much light will be on the background, and the f/stop mostly control the amount of light on the subject.
and I get this:
- No green eyes, the animal equivalent of the human red eyes
- Soft shadows
- You can see me in the eyes of the cat
- You can see the flash in the eyes of the cat with the little dots
- You can see the bounce of the light against the wall/ceiling corner in the eyes of the cat with the big white “splash”
I'm using the Canon term of eTTL, but it's exactly same thing and it's just as valid with Nikon. Nikon calls it iTTL.