Do I need an external flash?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Grasher, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. Grasher macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    #1
    I'm trying to decide whether to buy an external flash to use with my Sony A200. At the moment I pretty much never use the flash as I prefer to use available light from a window or just shoot outdoors. However, my wife is now pregnant with our second child and I want to get the best possible photos of the baby when they're born so I'm thinking of getting an external flash to use either bounced off the ceiling or with a softbox head on it.

    My question is: do I need this or would I get equal/better results from using available light and a reflector (which I have). I've already had a look at strobist and a few other sites so I'm happy that I understand the technical part of it sufficiently. I'll be shooting with a f1.8 50mm prime so I already have a (reasonably) fast lens.

    All advice appreciated.
     
  2. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #2
    Get a flashgun by all means (those little built-in flashes are pretty hopeless: no power and in just the the wrong place...). But for those baby or 'mother & baby' shots, I'd be thinking more of using available window light: soft, directional light that flatters rather than overwhelms. And flash can be very intrusive... especially in the quiet moments you may want to capture...
     
  3. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    #3
    Although I prefer shooting with a large aperture using available light, in certain cases, there simply isn't enough light available, or it's coming from a direction that doesn't work for the shot (e.g. strong backlight). Having the option of bouncing the flash off a wall/ceiling is much better than being forced to use the built-in blind-your-subject(s)-and-make-them-look-awful flash. Using it wirelessly off-camera gives you even more control.
     
  4. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #4
    A reflector requires the primary source to be in the right place, or the subjects to move to the right place. A flash allows you to put the light where you want it, and if done well doesn't scream "artificial." Build a "better bounce card" and practice with it if you don't want to spend ~$50 on a soft box. Also, Google "Dragging the shutter." I'd also recommend a copy of "Light: Science and Magic."

    Paul
     

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