Making Better Use of Flash

2013 is going to be the year that I try to really up my game in many areas. One of those is Photography. And, in order for that to happen, I will be adding pieces of gear to my “quiver” along the way. Lighting, lenses, software, or anything else that will help. And I’m going to be sharing those with you along the way.

Currently, I’m trying to improve the lighting of my shots. Usually I’m shooting in a dark ballroom with red, green or blue LED lighting and it can be quite challenging to get shots that are color correct and well lit. I’ve tried using the built-in flash of my D5100, but we all know how crappy that usually is. To that end, I’ve added a few pieces that I think will help.

The first I got as a Christmas present from Stella and it included a toy dinosaur! The Pop-Up Flash Bounce from Photojojo. It’s a mirror that mounts to your hot shoe, redirecting the flash up instead of straight at the subject. Nice even lighting in room with standard height ceilings.

I’m really pleased with how this device works and really glad that it is now part of my kit. This will be great when shooting indoors where the light isn’t that great. The photos above were taken in our kitchen, with the light being an obnoxious overhead flourescent. This really helped clean that up.

The other flash enhancing device I have recently acquired is the Gary Fong Puffer Pop Up Flash Diffuser. Like the Flash Bounce, it also attaches to the hot shoe of my camera, but instead of re-directing the flash, it disperses the flash more evenly. You can see samples below.

This is a piece I have just started playing with after hearing about it during a G+ hangout with Jason and I’m pretty sure I’m going to get quite a bit of use out of it, especially when I’m shooting for work in dark ballrooms with crazy lighting. The room I shot in above only had filtered daylight coming in, with a little bit of fluorescent lighting coming in from behind. Look closely at the flash, then the Puffer Flash image. You can see the Puffer Flash is much clearer and the lighting is even across the photo.

Cost for both of these pieces is about $60. That’s about half the price of the Nikon Speedlight I have my eye on.

Overall, I’m really pleased with both of these pieces so far and can’t wait to really get to start using them. If there is something that you use along these lines, let us know in the comments!

By Don

Lead bottle washer at, host at and tech guru for the MotoringFile family of sites.


  1. Awesome! Always nice to be able to use something you already have. Not to mention you are much more agile and inconspicuous without a giant SB910 strapped to the top of your camera! 🙂 (and $500 heavier) hehe

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