Should I have an off camera flash or is the built in flash OK?
This is a easy question to answer. You should definitely not use a built in flash on your camera. . The reason is Red-eye. Red-eye appears in pictures because the source of the light is too close to the lens. Light reflects off the back of the eye ball and results in red-eye in the photograph. I know it’s possible to eliminate red-eye post production with photoshop or many other editing programs but why give yourself more work than you have to when you can solve the problem simply by increasing the distance between your lens and the flash. By using and separate flash unit mounted on the hot shoe on top of your camera will eliminate most of you red-eye problems.
Now that we know you should have separate light which on should you buy? The quality of the light you get from different light units is the same for an expensive or inexpensive flash unit. There are ways you can change the quality of light from your flash but the original light quality is the same. You will pay more if you buy name brand flash units like Nikon or Cannon but I honestly do not believe this is necessary. A Vivitar or Sunpak flash can have the same features as a camera name brand flash for much less money. Both can have auto and manual settings. Auto means the flash has a thyristor which measures the amount of light the flash is putting out at a certain distance and automatically adjusts the flash output to match you desired output. This setting is great when are moving quickly from shot to shot at a wedding or a sports event. It also can be nice when photographing children as they quickly move closer and farther away. I personally do not use the auto setting on my flash because even though it is pretty good I like to have 100 percent control of my flash out put in order to achieve the results and effects I am looking for. We will talk later about balancing flash and ambient light. I will teach you how to precisely balance the light out put with the ambient light. Because I do like to have complete control of the flash output I would recommend a flash that is easily controlled manually.
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