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Using an external flash

Even though your onboard flash is useful, it's very hard to get professional-quality results from a device designed for general use. To get really great flash images, you need to invest in a flash attachment for your camera, as it offers more power and control over your lighting. Also, you need to realize that while shining a small, bright light directly on a subject can provide you with illumination, it doesn't necessarily add the best light to your scene. However, you can bounce the light from your flash attachment off other surfaces to reduce the harshness associated with flash photography and better control the direction and intensity of the light.

Hot or cold?

If your digital camera can support a flash unit, it will have a hot shoe for positioning the flash on the camera body. Although the flash shoe is commonly called a hot shoe, many cameras actually have cold shoes, which are just plastic shoes for flash attachment. They don't actually allow the flash and camera to talk to each other. The hot shoe was the standard method for cameras and flashes to “talk” prior to digital cameras. The hot shoe passes an impulse to the flash telling it when to fire. If you have a hot shoe, you can use third-party flash units by Sunpak, Vivitar, or other companies.


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