Flash – and the many ways you can mess it up

Who knew this light on the top of my camera would be so difficult?  I bought myself the SB-700 around Christmas with my credit card points 🙂 and this was its first outing.  Now I didn’t expect to just hook it on and start making beautiful, perfectly exposed pictures – I’m not that naive.  But really – sometimes I think I just got lucky rather than used any particular skill.

I started here – overexposed foreground, underexposed background.DSC_9911-2

There was no way to bounce the flash off a ceiling since the ceilings were really high and black.  If I set the flash at full power (1/1) I could light the potting shed but I blew out the foreground plantings.  When I lowered the flash I ended up with something like above.  Enter Lightroom’s graduated filters:

DSC_9911By setting a graduated filter above the plants and raising the exposure 2.0 I was able to save the shot.  I also lowered the highlights for the entire shot to bring back the plants a bit.



In the shot below I was able to properly expose the shed but I overexposed the foreground tulips.  Enter another Lightroom graduated filter this time set at -1.0 to bring them back in line with the rest of the shot.

Here’s another before:


Now this one I got pretty close (I bet that’s my flash you can see bouncing off a window in the distant background).  I’d like to take some of the reflectiveness off the plate and perhaps draw the focus away from the background and the person wearing the yellow top.


This I was able to accomplish by lowering highlights and increasing the shadows and also increasing the overall clarity of the shot.  On further review I may take an adjustment brush and burn the right side background a bit to limit the visibility of the yellow shirt wearing person.

So as you can see my flash experience was a lot of trial and error and Lightroom corrections.  I did eventually get some better results by using the flash’s diffuser and increasing my ISO – but I’m saving those shots for my next post.


Until then – GO SU!!!


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