How do i take night photography without my flash being full flat on my subject's face

Nov 30, 2008
Hi guys, recently i am trying to use my nissin i40 flash with my em5 mk2 to take night photography but i am not able take a pic without my flash being full flat on my subject's face, any tips on this?

Feb 22, 2017
point the flash upwards?

alternatively use a cloth to cover the flash, search for "soft flash" (sry can't post links as my level is too low)

so to not expose "hard light" onto your subjects.

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Senior Member
Jan 26, 2010
You might want to play with your flash exposure compensation first so that you can adjust the power of the flash according to the ambient light

After that if you are still unsatisfied, you might want to read up more on using flash, and how to get the flash off the camera, so that you have more control over the quality and direction of the light.

Btw if you point the flash head upwards but there is nothing to reflect the light then the light is just wasted in the sky. If you use a cloth to cover your flash, but the cloth is directly on the flash, then you still get relatively hard light and waste flash power.


Senior Member
Nov 27, 2010
Does i40 has a built-in bounce card ?
If not try use some white card to act as a bounce card, or point the flash head to somewhere (not too far) that able to reflect the light.
Or need to add a diffuser/softbox.

Normally will 1st try to position the person/model where there some light source (on the face) if possible.
Eg street lamp, light from building etc.

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Senior Member
Aug 1, 2010
East side
If your subject is well exposed and only the face is harshly illuminated by your flash, see thoongeng advise on flash compensation..... and others advise on diffusing the light from your flash.

Or is your subject kinda dark and only the face is lighted up brightly?

Jun 15, 2010
Bounce the flash off the ceiling or walls if there are any.

If there's nothing to bounce on, balance it with ambient light as much as possible to make that flat look slightly more flattering.

one eye jack

Senior Member
Jun 11, 2011
Hi guys, recently i am trying to use my nissin i40 flash with my em5 mk2 to take night photography but i am not able take a pic without my flash being full flat on my subject's face, any tips on this?

7 replies and TS has not responded.Perhaps the answers up to now does not help? To be fair the suggestions do help like off camera flash which would require a wireless transmitter/reciever set (unless it's an advanced dedicated flash that has wireless capabilities) and light stand. Using diffuser whether it is a tiny plastic card attachment or cloth/tissue paper "work" to varying degrees. The fact is on camera flash is just too direct with respect to subject. Of course you have read experts use on camera flash with bounce (that is if there is a neutal coloured surface to bounce off) and feathering ( reduction of light output with diy "barn door contraption")to good effect.
You might argue why not just dial back the flash output power? The fact is by doing so it also reduces the flash maximum power when you really need it to bounce as a significant power (only at official sync. speed) is wasted in tne bounce.

TS should be lucky if using on camera flash he gets full flat look on subject's face and not hard shadows.Consider it a good shot.But I guess TS means he want that glamourous beauty shot he sees in glossy magazines advertising face whitening cream to the point like on tv where only the subject's eyes,nose and mouth can be seen like the cartoon casper the friendly ghost..haha.

To get that beauty shot look require studio technique lighting using a large
softbox ( I really mean huge).I'm sure if TS is just a casual shooter he does not want to bring along such bulky equipment unless that's what he wants and have done his homework regarding what location he plans to shoot at.The fact of the matter is a beauty shot is technically flat of course it helps if subject is young and beautiful (flawless skin). Even if subject is young but not photogenic or mature you would have problems as this would be technically a closeup shot where digital sensor will show too much details on face. Makeup,hair, choice of clothing,location setting and importantly posing all contribute to a successful outcome. Nevertheless there are remedies or workarounds to rectify potential problems.

What I can suggest to TS is be creative and not look at it as just a flash problem. You can use flash as a fill light even in night shots by making use of the night ambient lighting be it in a building or street lights.That means knowing how to to expose in such conditions with adding flash as fill light.In some camera's flash setting there is one that is for fill flash but do understand that TTL flash is not foolproof and you have to compensate the exposure accordingly. Good luck.Important point is you can sync flash below it's max. official flash sync speed eg. 1/200 sec. especially for low light conditions.;) Do understand that if you use official flash sync speed in night shots the background will end up as black or very dim meaning no background scene if ambient light is low/dim hence the lower shutter speed to account for exposing background. Hope this is helpful.

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