In my quest to take better informal snapshots indoors, I started thinking about alternatives to the crappy pop-up flash on my camera. But I was completely overwhelmed by the external flash options, and gave up. And then via Flickr surfing, I came across the Lightscoop. The headline on their site pulled me in: "Say good-bye to ugly flash photos." I was hoping that this would be the answer. After looking at the before and after shots, reading a couple of testimonials, I took a leap of faith and ordered both models they offer.
They arrived within days (amazing since the shipping was free). I gave them a try, and I can highly recommend this for anyone taking pictures indoors who uses a DSLR with space for a flash attachment. Basically, the Lightscoop uses a mirror to redirect the light coming from the pop-up flash either to the ceiling or a side wall to create a diffused, more natural light.
Here's what it looks like.
And here's what it looks like on the camera. Here modeled by my nearly obsolete film camera. The Lightscoop easily slides on to the hot shoe.
I used my family as test subjects. These are all straight-out-of-the-camera shots without any of the enhancements I would ordinarily do in Photoshop.
Grace with pop-up flash.
Grace with Lightscoop.
Anna with pop-up flash.
Anna with Lightscoop.
Anna with warming Lightscoop. (pay no attention to her sister's leg; she was tackled just before this was taken)
Rykert (snarling) with flash.
Rykert (being suspicious) with Lightscoop.
To show that it is also effective on non-humans, I give you the Playmobil family with flash.
I've only had it about a week, and I'm a believer. If you follow Lightscoop on twitter or Facebook, they offer discounts from time to time so check it out.
For a DSLR with a pop-up flash and a hot shoe, there's also this flash diffuser. I haven't tried it but I'm curious what the differences would be between this and the Lightscoop. There are also many creative folks on the internet who have made their diffusers cheaply. Here's one example.
If you use a point and shoot camera, I have seen flash diffusers on the market. Such as this one. I can't give a recommendation, because I've never used one, and I don't have a point and shoot camera that's worthy of the investment to give it a whirl. Or you could also give this DIY version a spin as well. If you try it, let me know how it goes.