I know that many of us here are natural light shooters who adore super fast prime lenses like the magical 50mm f/1.8 (or f/1.4 if you’re lucky). Let’s see the hands of those of us who have raised our noses ever so slightly whenever witnessing someone using their camera’s built in flash. Now let’s see the hands of those of us who would much rather embrace the blur than use a flash. Yeah, I thought so, and my hand is in the air along with many of you.
Considering that our chosen symbol for the sisterhood is a beautiful big old flash bulb, I’ve decided to make friends with my flash and to apologize for all those years of neglect and contempt. And you know what? I’ve actually found that our flash (even the built-in camera one) IS our friend, and that if you take the time to figure out its capabilities, you can take better photos.
One situation in which a flash as simple as the one that came with your camera will come in quite handy is when you are shooting in bright glaring sunlight. Unless you’re shooting exclusively in the shade, you will find that many of your shots have harsh shadows. You can minimize this by using just enough flash to fill in the shadows especially if you are shooting into the sun. This is a technique called fill flash.
I played around with my aperture, shutter speed and flash compensation to get the photo above with fill flash. Without the flash, the photo would have looked something like this. Pretty dull, huh? For those of you who love shooting into the sun for that pretty sun flare, try using flash next time, especially if you have a person in the foreground with their back to the sun. Most digital cameras these days have either a fill flash feature or flash compensation feature that allows you to control the brightness of your flash . You’ll probably have to play around with your settings a bit before you get the result you want, but you’ll probably find it well worth the effort. I know I did.
Finding photos taken with flash in the Shutter Sisters Flickr group pool is like pulling teeth, but I did find this one by Angela (angs*photos), this lovely portrait (with the flash stopped down -1.3) by Kathy (work2snap) and this adorable baby shot by Lawyer Mama [Steph]. How about the rest of you? Have any flash pointers, or images you want to share in which the flash proved to be your friend?