Why is there a shadow on the photo taken with Canon DSLR camera with lens hood and built in flash?

  • 1
    A situation where you need a lens hood and a flash but don't need a speedlight. hmmm. Not sure about that one. The only thing I can think of is using the camera as white light trigger while shooting outdoors with off camera fill. But then, how would it be dark enough in the subject area for the winky flash to have a contribution? I feel like we are being trolled here Jul 20, 2018 at 16:56

3 Answers 3


shadow monster

Lens hoods attached to super-zoom kit lenses contain a shadow monster that is released when exposed to light from the built-in flash. Remove the hood to avoid letting the monster escape into your photos.

@mattdm, @dpollitt, @YaoBoLu, and @JohnGleeson are all correct. Light from the built-in flash hitting the lens hood casts a shadow. If the lens is large enough, it may cast a shadow on its own without a hood. You have many options to try avoiding the problem:

  • Don't use flash.
  • Remove the hood.
  • Use a smaller lens.
  • Zoom in or out until the shadow isn't visible.
  • Re-orient the camera so the shadow doesn't fall on a foreground object.
  • Use a larger on-camera flash.
  • Use an off-camera flash.
  • Point the flash at a wall or the ceiling. (Some built-in flashes tilt.)
  • Use a diffuser to soften the shadow.
  • Use a bounce card.

Here's a before and after using a business-card bounce. A larger card would have been easier to use. The bounce was pretty weak, but not hopeless. Used +3 EC to compensate. (The 2-cent flash diffuser works better.)

before after

  • 1
    I realize this is comical and that the image does show what is happening, a real explanation being added after the funny part would make this a much stronger answer. Someone might not catch what is actually happening in the picture.
    – AJ Henderson
    Jul 21, 2018 at 4:23
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    It could be insincere or it could be that they are wondering why the built in flash doesn't avoid this. It's hard to tell from such a short question. It doesn't really seem troll like, so I'm not sure what their intent was. Generally best to assume good faith, though yes, it is likely to be closed as a dupe anyway, but those may get merged in to the existing, so it's still good for any answer to actually work and there's no problem with humor in a decent answer.
    – AJ Henderson
    Jul 21, 2018 at 6:44
  • I see the monster in both pictures! Look at his demonic red ears. Jul 21, 2018 at 15:05
  • Eeyore is already sad.
    – Michael C
    Jul 22, 2018 at 2:14

Because the built-in flash is too close to the camera body, and therefore the lens blocks its light in the frame, causing a shadow.

The lens hood can't be made smaller, or else it would not be effective. And the pop-up flash can't be made to move further away without making it more bulky, more fragile, or both.

So, given that, this is kind of a case of "Doctor, it hurts when I do this..." (Doctor says: "Well, don't do that.") Take off the hood, or else use a hotshoe or remote flash.


The 2-cent flash diffuser, made by wrapping a piece of paper around the built in flash.

img1 img2

Sample images:

sample1 sample2

  • 1
    It improves the result, but there is still a shadow there, quite pronounced, for me at least. Jul 22, 2018 at 4:28

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