Buying a Flash?

I just got this email and I thought I'd answer it on the blog and let everyone share their input.

HI Noemi,

I am a very amateur photographer whose only talent is having a nice camera. I try to use natural light whenever possible, and there are times - like at dusk when my husband is playing with my son before bed - that I'd love to take some pictures, but tend not to because the way the flash on my camera looks. I'm looking to get what I would call an 'add on' flash for my Canon Digital Rebel XTI and don't know where to start. I'm looking for something that looks like natural light, is somewhat lightweight, and doesn't cost a ton. I started to look on B&H but got lost in the technical jargon and am wondering if you could shed some light on this for me. I really appreciate your input as I really respect your work!
Thank you,

Ok. This is a hard question for me because I avoid using flash anytime I can. But at ceremony's and reception's I have I do. I use the Canon 580EX with the Garg Fong diffuser and I like the results I get but I paid about $600 for the combo. AND THAT'S PROBABLY NOT THE ANSWER YOU'RE LOOKING FOR, right? So, here's some cheaper ways you can diffuse your flash. Buy an attachable diffuser that fits your model. Tell the sales clerk you want to natural light in low light situations and see what he suggests. I've seen a few types (ranging $20 to $50) and I'm sure they all work the same. It will help to avoid harsh flash especially on skin tone.

One thing I used to do when I shot with a pop-up flash was put foggy-colored scotch tape over the worked as a low budget/last minute fix.

I hope this helps.

Noemi Hedrick

Noemi Hedrick is a passionate wedding and portrait photographer based in Minneapolis. Noemi loves capturing the beauty inside every person. Her vibrant energy for life, love and family are grounded in her own values and loved ones. Noemi has been proudly serving as a wedding photographer for over 15 years and also offers a wide range of photography workshops for professional and amateur photographers.