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When and when not to use your flash

Learning how to control is your flash is an important step in learning to create photos that mean something to you. Even in auto mode(s) you can almost always find a way to override the setting that automatically fires it. Quite often, if you’re using the controls to their fullest capability, you won’t even need to use a flash, even when you’re shooting indoors. Learning how to turn off the flash when you don’t need it is imperative.

ambient light
Don’t be fooled by your auto settings when it comes to your flash. It might pop up and fire, but that doesn’t really mean you need it. If you learn how to turn your flash off and play with your other settings, you will likely be thrilled with your results. With digital camera technology progressing as it is, newer model cameras offer really high ISO with less noise repercussions. When that’s the case, you can shoot in lower-light scenarios without a flash and still get a great exposure. For everyday photography, you will probably want to eke out as much natural or ambient light as you can. I’m sure that you’ll be satisfied with the results most of the time. But you need to do what works for you.
Sometimes, however, there are times when a flash is necessary for proper exposure. Event photography, for example weddings, can often demand flash. There are all kinds of ways to use your flash to its best ability. Learning how to turn your camera’s pop-up flash on and off at will is a first step. It is also helpful to know is that you can get a little more ‘ambient light’ in your flash images by slowing your shutter speed down enough to let some extra light in. This cuts down on the drastic (and usually unwanted) black backgrounds that you get when your flash illuminates (or, more accurately, blasts) your subject without ever making it to the background.
Another trick of the trade is to use a thin piece of tissue over your flash to diffuse the light and get it to spread out a little bit over your entire scene. There is some experimentation involved, but it’s worth it when you get your desired results. Using this trick helps you to get more even light when shooting, for example, a group of family and friends at a nighttime gathering.
fill-flash For this jumping shot, a little ‘pop’ of light from the flash helped fill in any shadows on the girls’ faces as well as help freeze the action of the jump in motion.
Every once in a while an opportunity may arise where you might want to use your flash outside in the bright sun. This is a technique called ‘fill flash’ and it is used to fill in the dark, harsh shadows that are cast by bright sun (usually on someone’s face). Your camera won’t usually pop up your flash in the daylight, so you’ll have to turn it on manually to fill flash your subject.
In Elevate the Everyday, Tracey Clark shows how each day of our lives is full of potential for great photography. Focusing on the moments that are most precious to us, she offers a host of inspirational ideas enabling the reader’s photographic achievements to grow, turning the incidents in a family’s life – arrivals, departures, childhood, and parties – into beautiful, captivating images that will stand the test of time. Most of all, learn to turn the ordinary and everyday into the extraordinary with this unique guide to picturing motherhood.

elevate-the-everyday-coverElevate the Everyday
Tracey Clark
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RRP for print edition: £17.99