Getting the Most from Your Camera’s Built-in Flash

January 03, 2013

Getting the Most from Your Camera’s Built-in Flash

Most cameras feature a built-in pop-up flash.

Unfortunately, lighting from a pop-up flash unit is often harsh and unflattering and produces less than happy results. For that reason, I try to avoid using my camera’s pop-up flash as much as possible.

But sometimes your scene just doesn’t have enough light and you have no choice. You have to use the flash to get the photo.

So here are a few tips can help you control the flash and make for better photos.

  • It may seem like your camera’s built in flash unit is made to put out a ton of light, but it’s really only effective for about five to 15 feet. So it’s important to stay fairly close to your subject when shooting with the flash.
  • Avoid red eye. Position your subject so that their eyes are directly at a slight angle away from the camera. And, if you are shooting indoors, turn on as many lights in the room as possible to close up your subject’s pupils before the flash goes off. Also, if your camera has a red-eye feature, use it.
  • Beware of flash shadows! These are the shadows that appear on walls and other vertical surfaces behind your subject when you’re using the flash and they’re very unsightly and distracting. To avoid flash shadows, keep your subject far away from any kind of solid vertical background.
  • Be on the lookout for flash reflections and avoid shooting a flash image while facing any reflective surface such as a window or mirror.
  • Probably the best use for pop-up flash is as a fill flash. Fill flash is particularly useful when you are shooting a subject that is being lit from behind or when you are shooting with a sun that is high overhead. In these situations, you may find areas of your subject are dark and shadowy. In the case of the overhead sun, you will often see dark shadows under your subject’s eye and chin. Fill flash can fill these shadowy areas, giving you an image with better exposure and more even, less contrasty lighting.



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