Scrunchy holding a "flag" Hair ScrunchiesAs you get more and more involved in photography as a hobby, there are a few everyday items which become increasingly important and useful to you. Pieces of cardboard - if you work with flash - become "flags" to help block spill light; a plain tissue or napkin can serve as a diffuser on your built-in flash; or a freezer size ZipLoc bag becomes a raincoat for your camera. One of the most universally useful everyday items you should always have with you is a rubber band. And not just one, many. You will be amazed at how a good sturdy rubber band will come in handy. Unfortunately, it seems that even the best rubber bands - and not the ones you save from your newspapers like I do - seem to eventually weaken and tear. They're still invaluable to have on hand, but just know that you need to recycle them now and then.

Scrunchy holding gel

Recently, I have seen several photography bloggers mention a great rubber band alternative: hair scrunchies, those small bands covered in colorful material that girls and women use to hold their long hair in ponytails. How clever, eh? They are more durable than rubber bands, the right size, and colorful to boot!

So, how do I use them? Well, often when using a flash you want to prevent light from hitting the background or even spilling back into the camera lens so you need to block that light with something.

Scrunchy to wrap an umbrella

Such blocking devices are typically referred to as "flags."

I am offering two new classes this summer: "Mastering Manual" and "Mobile Flash: Using the Flash Stick." Registration for “Mobile Flash” is still open. Check out the descriptions and register online at http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses/plannedclasses.php.  I am also available to do one-on-one tutoring or small group lessons designed to meet YOUR needs and what you want to learn in the area of photography, using flashes, or the use of Apple products and software. Give yourself the gift of learning: http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses! Check out my new special tutoring bundle: http://www.infotor.com/photoclasses/tutoringbundle.php!