There are various accessories available to buy for use in conjunction with the flash, one of which being a softbox. Softboxes can vary from small caps, which fit over the flash head to larger versions, which emit softer light, and spread the flash more efficiently. Softboxes are perfect for all situations especially for people portraits. The one disadvantage of softboxes is that they require compensation by a stop or two, depending on its size.
Another useful accessory for use with your flash is a flash cable. The cable allows greater flexibility when using the flash and can vary in lengths. They are very useful for up lighting and in situations where it needs to be positioned away from your SLR.
Other Types of Flash Units:
The macro flash unit, as the name suggests, is the perfect addition to your SLR for use with a macro lens. They are specially designed to fit around the front of the lens, in a ring or twin light formation (small flash heads on the left and right). Their function is to knock out all shadows on the subject, something that has always been an issue in macro photography. Macro flash units emit light in a 360° burst creating uniform light on the subject.
The ring flash is similar to the macro flash design, only on a bigger scale. They are used in fashion and portrait photography for their unique light effect.
If you haven’t yet purchased a flash unit, I hope this article will be helpful in getting you on the right track as to which unit type will be best suitable for you and your photographic style. To get the most out of your flash unit please read the Photography 101 article included in this issue. Next month we’ll take a look at choosing studio lighting and setting up your own small home studio.