"The Holiday Photographer" - Podcast #12

I think being the event photographer is a blessing. Whether I'm at an office party, family gathering, or celebrating with friends, my camera enables me to move effortlessly from one conversation to another. If I'm feeling stuck, I can always say, "Excuse me, but I see a shot over there I need to grab."

The camera also facilitates introductions. "Hi, I'm taking pictures for the host. My name is Derrick. Do you mind if I grab a quick shot of you and your wife?" The next thing you know you're in friendly conversation. The role of holiday photographer is much better than standing there with a drink in your hand wondering how long you have to hang around.

Bounce Flash

Business Card Bounce Flash

I think holiday events are a great time to try the bounce flash technique. Instead of pointing the flash directly at the subject, you "bounce" it off the ceiling. The light is much more diffused, like a cloudy day, and can be very flattering for portraits. One of the reasons that I think holiday parties present a good opportunity for this technique is because they're often in homes with lower ceilings that are painted a shade of white -- perfect for bounce flash.

One drawback to bouncing light is that the subject's eyes can go dark because the illumination is from above. A great trick to fix that is to attach a plain white business card to the flash head with a rubber band as shown in this illustration. It "kicks" just enough light toward the eyes to brighten them up while still getting the benefits of bounce flash.

Generally speaking, I increase the ISO to 400 for bouncing because you do lose some light from the added distance and the surface of the ceiling. Otherwise, you should be able to use Program mode and auto flash. Try it!

Software Links

QuickTime Pro
Ulead CD and DVD PictureShow
Ulead DVD Workshop

QuickTime Pro
BetterHTML Export plug-in for iPhoto
Apple iLife Suite includes iPhoto, iMovie, and iDVD

All Platforms
Flickr (I've linked you to my Flickr page so you can see an example).


Listen to the Podcast

Now that I have your curiosity piqued, it's time to listen to today's audio show titled, "The Holiday Photographer." You can download the podcast here (28 minutes).

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I like the idea of the monthly assignment and will participate. My vote is that you show a few pictures from each assignment rather than just one "winner." Different people will have different ideas and perspectives on each topic, and it would be interesting to see this diversity.

Regarding this podcast, what do you you think of dedicated flash bouncer reflectors? This would flash nice soft light directly at the subjects. Does a business car or 3X5 card do essentially the same thing for a whole lot less money?

Thank again for another great show.

I would participate in the assignments

On Windows XP Pro OS, I looked at your web site in MS Explorer, Netscape Navigator and Firefox all look fine. On my Mac Safari and Explorer look great. Really like your podcast. I want to move from point and shoot to digital SLR, could you do a show on after your get a digital SLR, what is the first setting you need to learn other than just setting you camera to auto, This is probbally a tough question.. Thanks again

Great show, nice hints! I would also participate in the assignments, this is a good idea for practicing.
As Dave Staller wrote, I would also be interested in a show on "moving from point and shoot to digital SLR" as there will be a Canon EOS 350D lying under the christmas tree.

so...Derrick, what do you do for a living?... LOL

Just thought I'd start with a little small talk.

I really hear you on this small talk at parties. I avoid parties at all costs. I don't know about you, but when I photograph, I don't drink. I'd hate to see what any photos would look like that I'd take at a party. If I have to go to a party, I'd rather drink than take photographs. My own teeth are starting to hurt just thinking of having to put up with chit-chat small take.

I'm posting this from the Konqueror browser on SUSE 10 Linux. Your web site looks just fine in Konqueror, but this text is running out of the text box. Let's see how the post shows up on your web page. Firefox for Linux works great with your site.

I like the show idea, "what are the first settings to learn on a new DSLR." I'm leaning toward having that be the topic for Podcast #13. Thanks for the input!

I agree with you, Derrick. A monthly photo assignment would be help motivate me to use my digital camera in a more reflective way. I'd love to participate and think it's a great idea!

Hi Derrick,
Ditto for me participating in the monthly assignment. It would help get the creative juices flowing. Thanks for the effort you put into your show.

Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that I enjoy your podcast and think that a monthly assignment would be a great idea.

Also You web site is look really good (I use firefox on a windows box) I like the grey gradient background and the colorful icon make browing you site pretty easy.

I like the idea of the assignment. I run a digital photography SIG at my local user group and we've done this a few times. I think it's a good idea. I always need motivation to get out during the winter!

Hey Derrick,

Love the show. It is a really great idea to have a monthly assignment. Actually I thought I heard you say it WAS one with 'ice" as the subject.

So I started looking around for ice, and could find such paltry examples in nature I was thinking of other solutions, and then it snowed. I have you to thank for a wonderful day tromping around in the snow. Thanks for a great day!

When I went to listen to the last episode again I find it is not on until you hear from us. Well my vote is in with a big yes.

Thanks again for your time with this podcast.


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