A Quick Flash – Selfie

I wil probably regret this post.  I don’t want to frighten anyone with this ‘selfie’, but I was experimenting at the Yeo Photo Group meeting last Tuesday with my camera, my flash and my mobile phone.  This is the first time that I have tried this so please make allowances.  Thanks for the help received from Steve and Keith, who both provided useful advice.  It is still a long, long way from being quite right though, and I will try again in a more controlled environment.  This post is mainly as a record for my own benefit.

The idea was to try to make it look as if my face was illuminated by the screen of my mobile phone.  The phone wasn’t going to be bright enough to do it alone, particularly with the high level of ambient light in the room, so I was going to have to use ‘off camera’ flash and try to mimic the screen light.  Yes, I know it is too bright and the angles are all wrong, but it was just an experiment.  And yes, the back of my hand and the phone are also lit, but how else would you know I was using a phone.  I need to show the screen next time.

wpid-20140225-_2250022.jpgI was going to try to explain the setup and setting, but I’m not sure that I can remember everything.  The camera was at head hight about 3 feet away.  Th flash was a little lower, off to my right a bit, and about 5 feet away.  My camera was in ‘manual’, shutter speed was 1/100 sec and the aperture was stopped down to f11, in an attempt to darken the room behind me as much as possible.  The rest was a ‘tidying up’ job done in Lightroom, but was mostly dropping the blacks considerably to further darken the room behind me.

The phone was not just a prop, as I was able to use an Olympus ‘app’ on it to wirelessly control the camera and view the image while I was taking it.

I’m going to try this again at home, but next time I will try to correct the failings mentioned above.  I’ll also try to smarten myself up a bit.


15 thoughts on “A Quick Flash – Selfie

  1. I think this is a wonderful selfie. It has a feel of sophistication about it. I love the light and the angles. I especially like the way the light accentuates your grey hair and the colour of your shirt. If you had been wearing, say, yellow or red, it wouldn’t have worked as well and would possibly have jarred.

    I think if you were holding a book rather than a mobile phone the image would have been stronger.

    What do your nearest and dearest think of it?!


    • You are very kind M. Thanks, but you are making it seem like a serious self portrait. It was only really an experiment, with the idea that the face would look as if it was being lit by the light from the phone. It wasn’t really very successful, but it was a start, and I think that I learned how to do what I want to do. I’ll try again sometime.

      I agree that a book is probably a better prop, but the phone was used to trigger the camera and the camera triggered the flash, so I couldn’t have done it without the phone.

      Dee tolerates my daft ideas, I think. 🙂


  2. Great stuff, Dave, good for you for doing a selfie, it can take courage – and the technocracy of using an app on a mobile phone to control the camera makes me look like something out of The Ark! I like the picture, and M’s right about the colour of your shirt, tho I would never have thought of that. But, please, if you have another crack at such a shot, and I hope you will >>> don’t smarten yourself up first, just be natural! Adrian 🙂


  3. Thanks Adrian. I wouldn’t have been brave enough if you hadn’t led the way. I’m still learning my way around this camera, and using the phone made sense since I was looking at it anyway. The phone gives complete (more or less) control so I didn’t need to keep getting up to make adjustments.


    • Thanks Suzanne. Not sure what Nikons have wi-fi but Nikon do an adaptor. If you read Digital Photo Magazine (April Edition), on page 133 there is reference to a Nikon Wi-Fi adaptor that can be used with the D3200 and D7100. Otherwise, there is the rather more costly ‘Weye Feye’ (about £200) described on that page. I should say, that the Nikon adaptor is a WU-1a, about £45 on Amazon. This might save you a visit to WH Smiths. Not sure which phones they support.


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