Who knew a tissue could cause such interest? Yet, after last week's Facebook Live video, I've had several people approach me about the subject.
If you haven't seen the video, the link is in last week's blog and also here.
I briefly mentioned someone once told me you could use a tissue as a diffuser to soften the light coming out of your on-camera flash. This morning, I decided to actually show what the tissue can do. The camera settings for each photo were exactly the same and, other than the Cheerios dust I removed from her lip, these photos are completely unedited. Sadly, it was a beautiful morning so this demo didn't turn out as dramatic as it could have been. If, however, you have ever tried taking a photo and your subjects are so dark you can't make out who they are, it's time to use that flash and grab a tissue.
The starting point: The first photo of Lindsey is with natural light taken early this morning. Nothing wrong with this photo, but had this been taken later in the day and I had not made appropriate adjustments, there is a good chance my camera would have tried to expose for the light background, leaving Lindsey completely in the dark.
To lighten her face, I popped up my camera's built-in flash for the photo below (check out your camera instructions to see how you can do this manually). Now, the photo looks flat. Shadows define a photo. Thanks to that flashlight burst coming out of my built-in flash, there are no shadows in the photo below. I need to make adjustments. (I you take away one thing from today's blog, it's that you can use your flash during the day.)
Below is Lindsey with one layer of tissue covering the flash. This photo mimics the natural-light photo. It's a little more dramatic, definitely softer than the photo directly above and her skin tone is a little more in line with what my eyes actually saw (yes, she's a sunburned). Rather than blend into the background like in the original photo, in this photo, the side of her face is more defined. There is also more separation between her and the background.
For fun, I doubled the tissue up for the last photo. This one looks even more like natural light with a little more separation from the background. She is starting to get darker than I like, however, so I know I may be pushing this tissue thing a little too far. I could easily fix this in post-production, but if I can do this in camera when I take the photo, I've just saved myself some time.
Below, is what the camera looks like when applying the tissue. A single layer is covering the flash. Easy.
It's amazing how different things can look when you simply manipulate the light coming out of that pop-up flash, and you aren't limited to a tissue. It's nice to know, in a pinch, something as simple as a tissue can produce results.