Our Photography Courses Blog

Making flash less glary

One of the things we’re often asked about is how to take flash photographs without the usual glary white faces looming out of the darkness.

On a photography courses for the Avon and Somerset Probation Service, we got the hang of this using a handy fire extinguisher!

Standard rubbish flash photo, using the on-camera flash in auto mode.  The camera chose 1/60th and f3.5 at 400 ISO.


The way to make this picture work better is to gather the light from behind the subject.  So entering settings to give a longer shutter speed will allow more of the background to be seen:

1/13th of a second at f1.8, at 400 ISO, using the on-camera flash.

The easiest way to do this is to turn off the flash, set the camera to A and meter the shot, noting the shutter speed the camera wants to use.  Then go to M, and enter this shutter speed and aperture, turn the flash on and take the picture.  The shutter speed may be low, but if the subject is only lit by the flash it will come out clearly.  The blurry background, caused by the longer shutter speed will not be noticed in the general background blur.

Give it a go, it’s easier to do than explain!

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