Slideshows and Flash

Do you like viewing or showing slideshows of your photographs?

I definitely do, but a recent change has caused problems for me. Most all of the slideshows I created in the past were created in flash. This is fine for browsers like FireFox and Explorer to handle, but they cannot be viewed with an iPad or a smartphone. This new development seriously limits how I want to get my photographs out there in front of other people.

So what do you do? I am curious how you present your photos on the web for others to see. Do you still use Flash? Do you use slideshows? How do you like to get your photos in front of other people?

I know that things change all the time, particularly in the computer industry. I have used web galleries for several years and I still like to use slideshows. But now I am wondering if I should still do this on my web site since I will be limiting some viewers who come to my site via an iPad or smartphone.

Any thoughts, suggestions, or ideas?

Here is one of my slideshows, but I wonder if you will be able to view it…

Old Fashioned Drawing Diagrams Can Help

I am a computer geek and prefer using the computer for just about everything possible. In fact, I’m not sure what I would do without a computer!

However, I still know the value of good old pen and paper. Drawing diagrams can help in planning a photo shoot. Where is the main light? Should you add a fill light and where should it be placed? How about your subject–where is it in relation to everything else? What about the camera–should it be at a low angle?

Admittedly, this is quite difficult when photographing wildlife, but just about every photo subject can be better photographed with advanced planning. I certainly am no artist, but diagrams definitely help me in the planning stages of a shoot. These diagrams allow me to think ahead and do some planning before I even get to the location.

I find these diagrams very useful. Give it a try. Before you go to you next photo shoot take some time to draw up a diagram or two and see if they help.

Portrait Lighting

Getting your flash off the camera makes a huge difference. It is even better to diffuse the light.

I use a Lastolite Soft Box and have enjoyed very nice results. Even with just one off-camera flash the difference is incredible. Learn how to set up the light to create a variety of looks with your subject. Experiment by taking some photos, move the off-camera flash, and take some more photos.

David Ziser communicates this very well in his new book, “Captured by the Light.” I just received my copy yesterday and after just reading the way to change the studio lighting is most excellent! I am sure I will enjoy this book and learn a lot in the process. Oh, and don’t worry if you are not a wedding photographer–this book will still apply to some of your photography nevertheless.

Portrait lighting is intimidating to some photographers but it doesn’t need to be this way. With just a few simple tips and suggestions you can use portrait lighting to make awesome photos. Give it a try!

Controlling the Light

I am learning more about speedlights and how to use flash not just indoors but also outdoors as well. Photographers need to control the light. On a bright, sunny day we need to use a small aperture or perhaps even a neutral density filter. Controlling the light is mandatory for a properly exposed photo.

The necessity of using a flash unit indoors is pretty obvious, but taking the flash off the camera and firing it remotely might not be as obvious. Moving the light around can create different affects and outcomes. Give it a try. Many of today’s speedlights can be triggered remotely via infrared.

Also when you are outdoors remember that a flash can fill in the dark side of  your subject beautifully.

Remember to control the light and your photos will look much better!

Using Flash

As a wildlife and sports photographer I do not use flash all that much. Yes, there are times when fill flash is needed for a shot, but those times are relatively few and far between for me. In fact, until recently I didn’t even pay attention to the necessity of learning about flash photography.

All this is changing, especially since the new flash strobes do an incredible job of replicating the natural light look. It is amazing what these small strobes can do and they even work wirelessly! I love the Nikon system that incorporates built-in wireless flash. With just a simple set up I can use my pop-up flash to fire an off-camera flash and get a variety of different looks. It is amazing!

Now don’t get me wrong; y0u still won’t see a flash on my camera very often, but when needed I will know how to use it. And isn’t this what photography is all about; using the tools at our disposal to achieve what we are looking for in a photograph?

Natural Light vs. Flash

Modern speedlights help us to bring light to our subjects in just about any environment. This technology is very much improved from the old flash bulb days and we can even use a variety of flash units off-camera and control them wirelessly.

The power and ease of use of these speedlights presents a dilemma of sorts: When shooting a subject should we use natural light or use these flash units?

I have to confess that I still prefer natural light whenever possible. I suppose part of the reason is that I am more comfortable with this since most of my photography uses natural light. Sometimes natural light is not available so it is a no-brainer that in these cases a speedlight needs to be used. But what about when this deciding factor is not so clear or when fill light could be helpful?

A photography could bounce natural light to be sure, and yet a speedlight can be adjusted precisely to provide just the amount of light you are looking to include in the photograph.

Natural light, especially in the golden hours, is hard to match or imitate. This is another reason why I prefer using natural light. However, there are times when this will not work for a variety of reasons. Maybe the natural light is quickly fading. Having a flash unit available in the camera bag is certainly a nice option.

I suggest that you experiment with all kinds of lighting. Recently our family was on vacation and of course I had my camera gear with me. Two nights, after the rest of the family went to bed, I stayed up in the living room of our hotel and experimented with my SB-900. I tried to bounce the light from all kinds of positions. This taught me a lot. Experimenting with light is something we all should do more often.

Let There be Light

I finally purchased a flash unit for my camera–a Nikon SB-900 Speedlight to be specific. I had been relying mostly on my pop-up flash or natural light ever since I switched to digital photography back in 2003. I do prefer natural light for most subjects, but harsh shadows and low-lit places always caused problems for me. Now, the SB-900 will allow me to use more focused fill light and even provide off-camera lighting as a remote unit that will be triggered by the pop-up flash. It is one sweet flash! Light is key for good photographs. In fact, light is essential for photography, which is literally translated as “writing or painting with light.” If there is no light, there is no photograph. But now I have a new flash that will help me bring light to the party!