A consequence of living in the same house for many years is that some things become fixtures without you noticing it. Until one day, for an unknown reason, you look around, really look around, and realize there are some remnants of childhoods long gone sitting abandoned in a long forgotten corner of a room. Then comes the tough decision of whether to save, donate or sell. A recently implemented policy of mine to donate or sell items not being used has prompted another recently implemented policy of photographing the items before giving them away – for memory’s sake. The toy piano which has provided countless hours of musical enjoyment and delight to me and my sisters and then our children is the subject of this realization. It made the first cut because it’s just so “cute” but there is that new policy I must adhere to if I am going to keep “stuff” to a minimum. As I begin photographing, I decide to experiment with diffusing the on-camera flash (since flash is our theme this month). My intention is to add light to capture details without obtaining the harsh look and glare which often accompanies this type of flash. First, I took one photo without any flash, simply using the available window light.
there is quite a difference. The details are now visible maybe a little too visible. Lastly, I put a piece of white paper in front of the flash to spread out the light (the same principle behind umbrellas and soft boxes in studios). A small diffuser which will affix to your camera can be purchased for this purpose but I chose to go the homemade route, which requires a tripod for freeing a hand to press the shutter.
I like the softer look of the diffused flash and think it can be especially beneficial when shooting portraits. Sometimes, the direct on-camera flash gives a harsh and not terribly flattering look to people. When indoors, it is often necessary to find ways to increase the light for proper exposure of a subject and diffusing the on-camera flash is a pleasing method of accomplishing this.
As for the little toy piano, it will hopefully find a new home where it will provide more hours of delight, fascination and enjoyment to yet another generation.