In a Flash
To make it through the dark days of winter, I bought myself a LED ring flash that arrived just in time for New Years. Me being the ever-so-cheap amateur that I am, I bought a non-brand flash from Ebay: this one. There are several sellers that offer this same product though. It arrived in a few weeks time from payment and came with everything as promised.
The first time I took it out of the package, I was pretty overwhelmed with all the adapter rings, but in the end I found the one that fit my 50mm Super-Taku. Sadly there isn't an adapter small enough so that I could use this with my regular kit lense :( Mounting it was very straight-forward even though I left it too loose the first time. It needs to be very tightly screwed onto the hotshoe, if it becomes loose at all, then it just won't flash. But I didn't manage to take any good shots with it! Everything came out extra noisy and washed out (not over-exposed, just filled with 'dandruff' all over the photo). I was really bummed, thinking that my purchase had been a total bust. Fortunately I read up on LED ring flashes (should have done that before the purhase though...) and found out that it only really works in close-ups XD Well, close-ups are what I got it for anyway.
On the first day of 2017 I took a few test shots of my Nendos and finally got a real flash photo! The photos themselves were nothing special though, so I didn't bother editing them. I noticed that I was in general being more critical of my work than usual, which is a good thing really. It's the only way to go forward :)
The next day I chose Eiko as my test subject. They came out nicer, although I only chose one photo in the end. I noticed that eye positioning is super important with close-ups like this, with the flash showing any flaws! It's still not perfect in this shot, but better than some very wonky eyed ones I had XD
The next day I chose Lumina, since I don't think I've shown her since I decided to tie this band over her hair. For contrast, I put her in front of a pitch black pillow (that had sequins, but they didn't show up in the photos). I also used a 10mm extension for these photos, so they came out quite dreamy. But because of the flash, you can kinda see Lumina's eye colour for the first time :D
Then it was Random's turn, since she really deserved a proper photo for a profile page. I used the 10mm tube again (or didn't just take it off, being lazy :P ) to get a good close-up. She was quite a challenge to photograph with her extra-glittery eyes! Only shots from straight-on worked. If I tried 3/4, the other eye glared and ruined the shot.
I didn't take any photos yesterday, since after I had finally gotten Loki to sleep, I just wanted to catch up on Sherlock on Netflix. We had gone shopping earlier though and I had bought more winter lights from 70% sale, so I wanted to give them a try today. I wanted to see if I could get a backlit 'halo' around the doll, with the ring flash lighting from the front.
Hani got the job this time. (And I really have to better reposition her eyes as well...) The effect is not really as prominent as I had thought/hoped, but the photos are kinda interesting anyway. The halo is more visible the shorter the shutter time, but unfortunately I've found out that 1/200 is the max that the flash can handle, Beyond that the photo gets a shadowed edge. I think the flash doesn't time off properly or it's just too slow.
In the end, I'm happy with my purchase - for the money it cost. It's a handy light source for doll photography and the device is small enough to take with me on outdoors/away photoshoots. Of course it is nowhere near as powerful as proper flashes (LEDs are said to be more of a flashlight than flash :D), but it works for what I intend to use it for. However, all of these photos were taken in dark conditions, so I'm yet to test whether the ring flash has any advantage in situations with more light in general.
Who do want to see flashed next? ;)