External SLR flashes enhance the look of digital photos. The addition of an external flash to a digital camera will also greatly reduce red-eye. Almost all modern digital cameras come with an area situated towards the top of a camera that is meant for attaching an external flash. This area is called the “hot shoe,” and using an external flash without one is impossible. You can purchase an external SLR flash for around $150+.
Digital camera accessories should always match a digital camera brand. Selecting an external flash made by a different manufacturer requires attachment cables and cords. Incidentally, the same “manufacturer matching” rule is true for digital camera lenses. In addition, if a camera and a flash don’t match, you can only use the flash manually. Simply put, a foreign external flash won’t be able to communicate with your camera.
Benefits of an External SLR Flash
Aside from red eye reduction, external flashes provide a bevy of benefits. Most external flashes can be angled according to your wishes. This feature (called “bounce”) will allow you to adjust light as you see fit. In most instances, you can also rotate an external flash to either side. Again, this will provide you with greater light control.
Another great reason to use an external SLR flash is portability. Unlike other lighting sources, an external flash is relatively compact and easy to transport. Thus, shooting any subject in optimal light is only a matter of using an external flash.
Choosing An Auto or Manual Flash
To get the best value for your dollar, it’s a wise idea to select flash that has both automatic and manual settings. Even though most amateur photographers will never operate a flash manually, having the choice between the two many be beneficial. Inexpensive flashes are usually automatic, though plenty of mid-range flashes that include both options exist.
Power seems to be the number one selling point of most flash manufacturers. Yet, the amount of power you need depends upon the type of photographer that you are. The price of a flash will increase in accordance to the amount of power that it has. Before buying a flash with a vast amount of power, determine what kind of portraits you enjoy taking.
Outdoor portraits rarely require a large amount of external flash power. On the other hand, snapping portraits in darker rooms will require a flash that has some gusto. If you’re new to the photography game, and you aren’t sure about portraits yet, choose flash power based on your budget. You can always learn to use additional power, but it’s hard to add power if you do not have an adequate amount.
Buying external SLR flashes can become expensive. As an alternative to various flash possibilities, many manufacturers offer flash packages. These packages range from basic flash equipment to very expensive equipment. If you can afford a package that matches the brand of camera that you have, this is the best option. If not, a cheaper flash package that includes a generic SLR flash, adaptor, and sync cord will suffice.