For new photographers, using the flash can be something that is relied upon far too heavily. Many amateur photographers will use it even when they shouldn’t, and that can lead to pictures that are not reaching their full potential. Don’t get me wrong, there is always a time for a flash, but there is also a time not to use it. Knowing when to use it and when not to is one important factor that can make you a better photographer.
A flash has the potential to create beautiful light, to alter the very color of the image on the camera screen, but it also has the potential to wash people out, to focus on the wrong thing and ruin what could have been a wonderful image.
Here is a handy guide for when you should be using the flash, and when you should keep the flash off.
When you need to have control over the light in a situation. You want to get that extra control to ensure that the picture you get is not too dark, and so that the subject can be clearly seen.
When you are getting that picture, you want to control the amount of light that you can have in the picture. You will want to fill the existing light, or enhance the existing light. You may want to expose only the subject in a dark scene to provide extra contrast, or you may want to overpower the other light source, whether it is a lamp or the sun itself.
When you have your subject exposed to the light, that light may not be enough or it may not be flattering to your subject. When that is the case, you will want to control the direction of the light. Poor light direction can lead to not enough light on your subject and a flash with a reflector can add that extra bit of light direction to give a more natural light to the image. In addition, if the light direction does not flatter your subject, you can add flat light direction by changing the light direction with the flash on the camera.
Light is not always quality light, and it is not always the right light. There are times when the light that is in a scene is just not working with the person or subject you are photographing. With a flash, you can do a great deal to create really wonderful photos, including:
– Creating a hard flash for portraits and other effects
– Creating spectacular light for amazing effects and style
– Creating diffused light to improve the light that is already in the scene
– Creating soft light for better portraits
These are just some of the things that a flash can do for you when you want to begin to improve the light quality for you.
With getting those perfect images, sometimes you have to actually play with the color of the light itself. This can take a scene and make it dreamlike, but also take a scene and give it a soft and earthy glow. There is so much you can do with colors and a flash, and the sky truly is the limit.
Every light source is going to provide a different color, from fluorescent lighting to lamps to the sun itself. Every light source produces its own color, and that color can impact your picture in ways you may not want.
A good flash will help you modify the color temperature of the light. This will then create very creative and stylized photographs. As well, you can actually fix the color of the photos with the flash.
When you are using a flash, it can be your best friend but also your worst enemy. The trick is knowing when and why you should use the flash. By having this firm understanding, you can ensure that the image you capture is going to look great, and it is going to show that you are a professional who knows how to use the flash properly.