November 24, 2009

Better Holiday Flash Photos

Thanksgiving is this week and if you are like many people in America, you'll be gathering with friends and family to celebrate over lots of food and football! You'll also probably be taking pictures to commemorate the occasion. But since so much of our celebrating takes place inside and after dark, our digital cameras rely on the built-in flash to light up our photos. Frequently we're disappointed in the results. Backgrounds are dark and foregrounds (including people) are washed out.

If you have a digital SLR camera (one with interchangeable lenses), you might want to check out a new flash accessory called the Lightscoop. It was invented by photojournalist Ken Kobre because he "hates ugly flash photos"! With that in mind, he developed this handy gadget that slides into the hot shoe on top of your camera (where an expensive external flash would go) and works with your built-in pop-up flash.

After setting up your camera to work with the Lightscoop (see the instructions and videos on the web site), all you need is a room with a light-colored ceiling no more than 12 feet high or a light-colored wall no more than 4 feet away (for vertical shots). When the pop-up flash fires, the Lightscoop bounces the light off the ceiling or wall, making the light much more attractive.

Check out the Lightscoop and see if it turns your photos of family gatherings into great shots instead of trash can fodder!

(Disclaimer: I have no association with Ken Kobre or Lightscoop except that it's a great idea!)