Flash not flattering – Part 1

As much as possible I avoid taking photographs with a flash.  Often the flash will distort the colour of the flowers, and the orchids look so much better without a flash.  Below are two pictures of Corysanthes diemenica, showing the difference in colour caused by the flash.  The temptation is to use a flash as these orchids tend to grow under bushes where it is dark.

The pictures on the left without a flash has the natural colours.  The picture on the right with the flash has distorted the colours, and some of the details have been lost like the couple of ‘hairs’ at the base of the flowers.

A flash can be used and work if it is not attached to the camera.  I have seen some photographers using a mirror to direct the sunlight on to the orchid, and although I have not tried it myself, I understand it can be effective.

Another observation is the pictures taken with black backgrounds look unnatural, and lack space around the flowers.  Personally I like to take my photos to show how the orchids look in their natural settings.  The only time I use the flash is when photographing orchids indoors.

I’ve had difficulty finding photos I’ve taken with a flash, so when I’m out next, I’ll take some pictures with both flash and without, so they can be compared.  They will be in Part 2.


2 thoughts on “Flash not flattering – Part 1

  1. krikitarts

    Hi again, Helen–just having a first look at your site. Wow–all dedicated to South Australian orchids. What a specialist. A few thoughts on the use of flash, if I may . . . it can be very useful in many situations where, at first, results appear too harsh. What camera and flash are you using? Do you have an external flash that you can separate from the camera? It’s often very useful to soften the flash, and there are lots of techniques for this. I don’t want to fill up your site with all this, but if you’re interested in following up, let me know at gd.bolstad@gmail.com. BTW, I love your country!

    1. Helen Post author

      Thanks for your thoughts. The camera I mainly use is a Ricoh compact digital, and for my orchid films, a Sony compact digital. Neither cameras have the facility to detach the flash. My main reasons which I have not brought out very well in my post is that the flash does change the colour. I know it is possible to edit the pictures, but my aim in photography is to produce a good picture that does not need editing, and that adds a different challenge to photography. I’m quite happy for others to experiment with the flash and tell me their experiences with it. The pictures of orchids with black backgrounds I do not like, as they appear so unnatural, but that is my personal opinion. However I did hear someone say that the flash made the picture sharper, but I am not convinced. I’m quite happy for you to comment on this site your thoughts on photography. I always like hearing both sides of the issue! 🙂
      I saw your reply to my comment on your site. It is a prickly business!

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