Get creative with flash Produce some great results

Use flash gels for colour

Flash gels are used on flashes to correct colours casts from various light sources, such as household and fluorescent light bulbs, or from shooting at different times of day. Some flash gels are purely for creative effect, though, to create a deliberate colour wash across your photo. You can buy flash gels that will clip onto your flashgun, or take the DIY route and use coloured sweet wrappers instead. Some colours are more striking than others; for instance, an orange sweet wrapper or flash gel simply warms up the shot slightly, but a red wrapper like the one we used in our example will produce a strong cast.

Create a beam of light

A snoot is a tube that restricts the light from the flash into a narrow beam. Using a snoot, you can direct the beam and also narrow its radius to highlight a certain area. This is useful if you want to put the focus on a subject or create moody portraits. Snoots can be pricey, and are often reserved for studio setups. However, there is a DIY trick that can get you a great result; use a kitchen roll tube and place it over the end of your flash head. The longer the tube, the more pronounced the beam of light will be. This light can be harsh, so you may want to also diffuse it with some tracing paper to achieve a more flattering effect.

Freeze movement

Flash durations are so fast — a fraction of a second — that it is possible to freeze most movement using flash light. This can include children playing or sports happening close to you. The easiest way to do this is to set the camera to shutter priority mode, set the shutter speed to 1/100 sec or higher than the flash, and you are ready to get started! It is worth bearing in mind that your camera has a set flash sync speed, which is the fastest shutter speed your camera can use with flash. If you are seeing black corners to your photos, it is because you’ve set the speed too high. Check your manual to find out what yours is.

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