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Tip 4. Flash diffusers
To soften the light emitted by a flash, fit a flash diffuser on the flash head. A wide range of commercial flash diffusers are available, ranging from the rigid plastic Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce to larger collapsible units like the Gary Fong Lightsphere.
Options for diffusing pop-up flash are more limited, although there are a number of DIY flash diffuser solutions - such as using a plastic milk carton to soften the light.
Tip 5. Bounce flash
Direct flash is hard and directional - shadows behind the subject will be obvious, and there's a greater risk of hotspots and red-eye when shooting portraits (although it's easy to learn how to remove red-eye in Photoshop).
For a softer, more even illumination, bounce the flash from a wall or ceiling. Most flashguns enable you to swivel and angle the flash head, although you can achieve a similar effect with a pop-up flashgun using a piece of white card held at an angle.
Bouncing the flashgun will reduce the flash's reach, and you need to bounce the light from a neutral-colored surface otherwise you'll introduce a color cast to the photo.
Tip 6. Off-camera flash
Taking a flash off camera gives you more creative lighting options. Of course, you'll need a flashgun to do this, and even then you need to consider how the camera and the flashgun will communicate.
The easiest option is to use a remote off-shoe flash cord, which screws onto both the camera hotshoe and the base of the flashgun. The reach of a typical flash cable is limited to a few feet though.
A wireless flash trigger will give you more freedom for flash placement. These are two-piece units based around a transmitter and a receiver.
More expensive RF based wireless systems enabling you to position one or more flashguns completely out of sight of the transmitter.
If your flash isn't compatible with a wireless off-camera system, try using simple, cheap flash radio triggers instead.
See you next week on Lets Go Big Tunes blog page for more flash photography tips.