Direct flash can cause even the most flattering photos to turn out bad, direct flash is harsh and highlight in photos are "burn out" and lack detail.
If you are serious about your photography, the first technique you must learn is how to BOUNCE your flash!
Sadly, virtually all the smaller, so called "point & shoot" cameras came with tiny, fixed flash that you cannot tilt and bounce! Even if it can, the output is just too weak for that purpose.
What happen if your favourite camera is the tiny GM1 with a even tinier flip out built-in flash?
Are you out of luck?
Not totally! Depending on your shooting location, you might be able to get some usefully SOFT light by bouncing that itsy-bitsy flash!
Take a look at the group picture above, a gathering of friends in a typical NZ dinning room.
Notice the ceiling is not too high and white in colour, these two conditions are vital for bounce flash.
From the picture you might think the existing light in the dinning room is very bright, it is NOT, the self-timer group shot was exposed at ISO800, f3.5 (kit lens max) and 1/20 second.
Even at that slow speed, the image was SHARP because I asked everyone to STAY STILL during the timer exposure ;)
However, the shot I am going to use bounced flash on involved subject movement, at 1/20 the subjects will blurred and camera shake will make it even worst!
The above pictures were shot using bounced flashes from my GM1, they are sharp, without subject movement or camera shakes! What gives?
By using the built-in flash, the little GM1 set itself to "Exposure Program 3" and exposure time of 1/50 which is fast enough to eliminate movement!
Here is the trick to "FORCE" the little flash into a BOUNCE POSITION...
By pushing on the thin metal bar below the flash, you will notice it can actually move backwards and force the flash into a bounce position. BE GENTLE, you can BREAK the tiny supporting bar if you are not careful. I did not say the operation is totally risk free ;)
Using this method, your finger got to be on the bar all the time, I have another way...
If you have some BLUE TAC handy, you can push the flash back and temporarily "stick" it to the camera top plate!
Whatever method you use, BE GENTLE!
Depending on the height of the ceiling, it's reflectance, your bounced picture might still be one to two stops under exposed; I always shoot RAW so I can lighten it up without "damage",... oh, I also used ISO800.
Go try it out... you might learn something :)