If you own an entry-level DSLR, chances are that there is a pop-up flash on it. DON'T USE IT. If you've got to use it, here are some quick and dirty tips to create better pictures.

So why should you avoid something included with your camera? For one, the light is harsh. Yes, the light makes it so that you can shoot at higher shutter speeds or a lower ISO, but at the cost of the harshness of the small concentration of light that is blinding your subject. Chances are, you're going to end up with a lot of pictures that have overblown highlights that you can't recover. Bummer.

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However, there is a way that you can utilize your built-in pop-up flash without causing harshness. For example take these two pictures:

Both of these pictures were taken just seconds apart. They both have the exact same exposure settings (shutter, aperture, and ISO), and the flash fired both times. So what's different?

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Well, for one, the second picture does not have the harsh overtones that the first one has. Secondly, for the second photo I used a dirty little trick to take the shot.

Here's what to do:

  • Grab your camera
  • Pop up the flash
  • Set Exposure appropriately for a flash photo
  • Still holding the camera with your right hand, block the flash with your left hand

Wait? Block the flash?

YES.

If you shape your left hand naturally curved a bit you can deflect the light backwards. It will bounce off a wall or nearby object. You may get blinded, but your shot will come out great! If you play around with the angle of your fingers, you can create fun light patterns such as this:

I'm shit at ending articles. The end?

Edit: See, told you I was shit at ending. Was looking through my other pictures from this set and found this one. Here's a fun flash effect after post-processing. I did not process the images above.