Our Photography Courses Blog

Using fill flash – picture from photography course Bristol, Ashton Court

When you move from the automatic/vari-program side of the camera to the clever side, with all the P A S M or P Av Tv and M modes you have to make a few decisions. You need to be on top of the ISO, white balance, autofocus mode etc. to get the picture that you want.

One of the things that people forget is that on the clever side of the dial you have the ability to add flash even when the camera wouldn’t have done it automatically. We often find that by the time people come on a course they are so fed up with the flash popping up willy-nilly that they turn it off more or less permanently.

This is a shame, because certain subjects which are back lit could really do with a little flash. This statuary at Ashton Court in Bristol for example:

photography flash tips from photography course in Bristol

Using “fill” flash or “force” flash in this way can make a picture look more natural, weirdly enough. Even more weirdly, the brighter the say, the more fill flash you might need!

Sometimes it can look a little glary, but nearly all cameras will allow you to set “flash exposure compensation” – in other words to turn up or down the power of the flash. It may be tricky to find (look in the flash control section of a canon camera), but it’s worth it. You rarely want to turn the flash up – nearly always you end up turning it down a stop or two.

“Flash exposure compensation” is changing the power of the flash. “Exposure compensation” makes the picture brighter or darker. You can use the two together – for example to make the picture dark with really stark flash for effect.

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