Hi, I generally dislike the effects of flash and instead use a low-light lens, but I want to try to get some acceptable results without having to buy a separate speedlight. What settings do you generally use for flash shots of people?
What I'm not interested in is the super washed out look of full flash. Is there a way to keep it looking more natural?
I generally shoot in aperture priority. Any recommendations appreciated.
Hi Rob, I've been experimenting with the flash by backing off from full power. Try reducing the flash in 1/3 stop increments. Find a subject and try it at different settings. Noticeable difference, but it's still direct flash. It's not like having flash from the side and creating those soft shadows that you see in nice portraits though.
You can use the shutter speed and aperture to control how bright the background will be. In A Mode the camera is going to choose the 1/60s shutter speed when the flash is activated. However you can increase the brighness of the background by opening up the aperture. In S Mode you can choose various shutter speeds up to 1/200. Like adjusting the aperture you can influence how much the background is exposed.
Think of it this way: the flash is illuminating the subject, and the aperture and shutter are controlling the exposure of the background.
Practice with the various settings to see what you can get! And enjoy yourself while doing it!!
Dale, i tried using shutter priority at 1/60 and then at 1/200. The background in this case was about 5 feet behind the subject. The background looks the same in both shots. But at the same time, i was about 5 feet from the subject when shooting. Unless you are farther away from both the subject and background, it seems as though the flash is going to light everything just the same. I haven't tried moving back yet though...
You answered the question yourself: "unless you are further away..."
Yes, if the background is within the range of the flash then it will be illuminated as well. I was thinking of situations where the background is deeper than the range of the flash. If you look at the chart on pg 266 of the D90 manual you will see that the range of onboard flash ranges from about 2 1/2 to almost 28 ft.