Something useful learned tonight: using standard height white ceilings, a glossy white St. Anthony’s College laundry card, and the on-camera flash on a Canon Powershot A510 digital camera, you can pull off some tolerable bounce-lit flash photography. A hand-held mirror is even better, though I would recommend using a relatively matte ceiling, with that arrangement. The flash is only really adequate for this role in the wide-angle range, due to a low power rating, but this does make it dramatically less unflattering, through the dual benefit of eliminating white patches that have been completely overexposed and removing the unnatural shadows that arise from a flash too close to the lens.
Attempt to make diffusers out of Sainsbury’s receipts, onion-skin paper, and other miscellaneous translucent materials were less successful. I look forward to eventually having a proper off-camera flash with diffuser, not to mention the chance to do some real studio work. If only this pesky thesis wasn’t getting in the way of various hobbies.