Use Your Built-in Flash for Dog Photography

When all else fails and you simply can’t achieve a fast enough shutter speed with only the available natural light, it’s time to turn to your flash for some supplemental light during your dog photography sessions.

If that statement induced a cringe, you’re certainly not alone. Flash photography can be one of the trickiest aspects of photographing indoors, but getting that indoor shot of Rocky sans demon eyes is possible if you know how to control your flash.

Most digital SLR cameras come equipped with a built-in (or pop-up) flash, as well as a small metal adapter that sits right behind the built-in flash called a hot shoe. You use the hot shoe to connect an external flash (more on that later).

If you ever shoot in automatic mode, you’re probably well aware of your camera’s built-in flash, which flings open anytime your camera senses that you don’t have enough light. You’re also probably aware of the painfully harsh results that the little fireball produces — washed-out skin tones, red-eye in people, demon-eye in pets, and ugly shadows to top it all off! Seriously, who invented this thing?

Okay, so enough complaining about the built-in flash. It’s time to find out how to better control it with a simple accessory you can purchase for under $30 — a far cheaper option than buying an external flash. Built-in flashes produce an unnatural effect because they blast light directly onto your subject.

The solution is to redirect the light and bounce it off the ceiling to evenly disperse the light and have it hit your subject from a more natural angle — slightly above instead of head-on. The best tool to redirect your built-in flash is Professor Kobré’s Lightscoop.

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This device snaps into your camera’s hot shoe and uses a mirrored surface to redirect the flash up and away to the ceiling. From there, the flash bounces off the ceiling and back down to your subject, creating a soft, dispersed light.

You can see for yourself the difference between a photo taken with only the built-in flash and the same photo taken using the Lightscoop. Neither of these photos has been touched up, but the one on the right clearly has softer, much more flattering light. Also, notice the lack of glowing demon eyes!

An example of using a built-in flash (left) as compared to using a built-in flash with an attached
An example of using a built-in flash (left) as compared to using a built-in flash with an attached diffuser (right).

24mm, 1/125 sec, f/2.8, 250

Professor Kobré’s Lightscoop works best when you use its suggested optimal settings, which you can find on the how-to page of the product’s website and in the literature that comes with the product.

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