Surrogating room light with flash

From the place where I sit at my computer I looked right – and saw one of Zuleikha’s small backpacks laying on the ground, lit by only the room light from the kitchen. “What a nice picture” I thought, and took my DSLR and measured it with 1.3 seconds (lens fully open at f/2, and ISO 100).

Yeah, I could have taken a tripod to take that photo, but I thought about something else instead. How if I would just mimic that room light with using a flash?

So I took my Yongnuo YN-460II and set it onto a radio remote, put it on a shelf in the kitchen and pointed it to the ceiling, just over the room light. I switched the flash to full power, and then I went back and measured again. The meter said f/2.2 with ISO 100, and this is how I took it:


One of Zuleikha’s

The difference? Mainly two or three:

First, the shadows from the original room light are harder and sharper – it’s a more direct light; I could have faked that also with just going nearer to the ceiling with my flash (and thus, making the light source appear smaller). Used that way, I could have tried with half power instead of full.

Second, instead of 1.3 seconds I could use 1/160th, the maximum sync speed of my DSLR. So this is probably sharper.

And third, flashlight has of course more blue components than any other artificial light source. That means that the camera doesn’t have to increase that blue channel that much, which would also increase noise. So when you use light which is pretty much like sunlight, you’ll end up with great colours and a clean picture.

So whenever you see something nicely lit in the evening, think about using a flash to simulate the light you already have. It could pay off, especially if it’s something more beautiful and precious than just a backpack 😉

What should one learn from this? Photography is all about light, and if there’s not enough of it, then go and create some light. Happy flashing…

Thanks for reading.