To help reduce the harshness of shadows, plain
some diffusion material, such as a white handkerchief,
cheesecloth, or frosted cellulose acetate, in front of the
flash. Keep in mind that diffusion reduces the intensity
of the light. Therefore, the exposure must be increased
accordingly if you use the manual mode on the flash
You will make some of your best flash pictures with
the flash unit off the camera. When you hold the flash
off the camera and above the lens, it will tend to throw
the shadows down and behind the subject. This is a good
way to minimize distracting background shadows that
occur when a subject is standing close to a wall. A flash
held high above the lens, either left or right, makes the
viewer less conscious of the flash illumination.
We are accustomed to seeing things lighted from
above, and by placing the flash above the subject, it
closely resembles the lighting of the sun or ceiling lights.
Light that is far enough off the camera to illuminate
the subject from an angle produces modeling or
roundness. This type of light creates the illusion of a
third dimension depth and is more pleasing to the
viewer than the two-dimensional flat effect you get with
direct frontlighting. Angled lighting also is used to bring
out the texture of a subject.
One of the best methods to illuminate a subject or
scene with a single flash unit is to use bounce flash.
There will be times when you will want a very soft light
in order to lessen the tonal range between highlights and
shadows and to soften harsh background shadows. You
can achieve this soft lighting by bouncing, or reflecting
the flash off a light-colored surface. By doing so you are
changing the narrow spot of light from a flash unit into
a wide, diffused area of light.
Most bounce flash pictures are made with the light
directed at the ceiling, either above the photographer or
above the subject, or somewhere in between. You can
produce a silhouette effect by bouncing the flash off the
ceiling behind the subject. To accomplish this, aim your
flash unit so most of the light bounced off the ceiling
falls on the background behind the subject and calculate
the exposure for the background.
For the flattest bounce light, try bouncing the light
off a wall behind the camera. With this lighting you will
have practically no shadows. Here you will have to
calculate your exposure based on the flash-to-
An effect that may appear with direct flash is
red-eye. Red-eye occurs in pictures of people and
animals when the. flash is used close to the optical axis
of the lens and the subject is looking at the camera. It is
caused by light reflecting from the blood vessels at the
back of the eye. The darker the room is, the stronger the
effect will be because the pupils of the eyes will be
dilated. Red-eye can be avoided easily by your moving
the flash away from the lens optical axis. Also, you can
minimize the effects of red-eye by turning up the room
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Identify the purpose
of photographic filters, the various filter
designations, and the filters used in
black-and-white and color photography.
Filters are used in all the various steps of the
photographic process. Though often neglected in the
shooting stage, the use of filters can tremendously
enhance the final product in both black-and-white and
The purpose of photographic filters is to alter the
characteristics of light that reaches the light-sensitive
emulsion. As light is transmitted through a filter, at least
one of the following alterations occurs:
l The color of light is modified.
l The amount of light is reduced.
. The vibration direction of the light rays is limited.
To use photographic filters properly, you must
understand the nature of transmitted light.
White light is composed of three primary colors:
red, green and blue. A filter of a primary color will
transmit its own color and absorb the other two; for
example, a red filter looks red because it transmits red
and absorbs green and blue, as shown in figure 11-17.
Secondary colors are mixtures of primary colors.
Yellow, for example, is a combination of red and green.
Because a filter passes its own color and absorbs others,