Category: Photo Hacks

Use the Dreaded Pop Up Flash to your Advantage

If you are serious about photography then you probably understand that the first tip to next level photos is to get your light source off the camera. A straight shot of nasty light from the camera is just a terrible thing to do to your subject. But is there is a time and place for that darn pop up flash? What happens when you find yourself out at a beautiful location and you either don’t own or don’t have a speedlight with you. Behold the pop up. The secret is to first use the natural light to give the image some depth then use the pop up to add a nice fill light by reducing the power of the light as much as possible. With a dslr there is an option to use the flash exposure compensation button. In this image I knocked it down to -3.0. If that isn’t enough you can always use your feet and back up while zooming back in to your model.

In the image you can see that I first shot without the flash and used a nice rim light on Jackie’s face created by the beautiful natural light at sunset. This adds depth. I also made sure to set the exposure to show off that beautiful background. Then I added the flash just enough to light Jackie without blacking out the background or flattening out the natural light on her face.



Camera Settings:    f1.8      1/100th sec     ISO 640

Pop up flashes are not meant to be used all the time, but in a pinch, they can sometimes save the day.

Staying Photo Hungry – the inspired photographer

While starting a business, moving, and dealing with all the things in life, how is one supposed to stay inspired to make beautiful photos? Some of you shoot portraits all day long, and maybe you are experiencing photography burnout. Or maybe photography just can’t seem to find a place among your busy life. How are you supposed to stay inspired to make images?


The best piece of advice I have come across is to do it for the pure fun of it. Leave behind the expectations, and just enjoy what those eyeballs are trying to show you. Treat it as camera meditation. No need to worry about this image showing up in publications, on prints, or even seeing a future on the web. A good way to spark inspiration is to grab your camera and just go for a walk.

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The Camera Walk

In my experience the beginning of your photo walk will be like trying to sketch on a blank piece of paper. Nothing jumps out and inspires you. Maybe you feel a little anxiety walking around town with a camera in tow. What you really need is some creative warm up. Just start pushing the shutter button. It doesn’t matter if they are masterpieces, just get some images under you belt. That is when the magic starts to happen. Once interesting images start to appear before you, let the creativity flow. Don’t worry too much about exposures, lens choice, blab la bla. In fact, I would argue that you should only bring one lens on these walks. The more choices you give yourself, the less creativity will be allowed to flow. Start to explore your space. It doesn’t matter if you are in the middle of a small town, large city, or out in a desolate countryside. Train yourself to see the things most people walk right past each day. Not only will your photography improve, but your outlook on life might just improve as well.

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Need fresh ideas?

One thing that has helped me stay inspired is to explore other areas of creativity. Don’t just explore great photographers when you are trying to come up with new ideas. I always look at graphic design, studio arts, interior design, architecture, landscape design, culinary arts, etc. Basically anything that is visually awesome is worth a look.


Stay Creative my Friends!