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Myrtle Beach Photography Tips: Fill Flash

Beginner Photography Tips by Myrtle Beach Photography

Fill Flash

The biggest misconception in outdoor photography is the use of fill flash. Fill flash confused me more than anything when I first started trying to understand photography. It is like accounting. When you think you should debit, you credit. To us (unprofessional/photographers) the idea of when to use the flash was a bit baffling. For example, you are standing in the bright sun and common sense tells you that there is already too much light so why would you need to provide additional light. Most people know that if they are indoors, they use a flash. Most point and shoot camera flashes default to auto flash, meaning, if the camera detects there is not enough light for a good picture, the auto flash will kick-in, in low light. What most people don’t know is when you are outside and your camera is set to auto flash, it will automatically shut down your flash. This is perhaps when you need your flash the most. For example, you are out of the beach and it is 5pm, shadows are heavy and your subjects faces are shaded. This is where your fill flash is essential.

Go to your settings, override the auto flash(make sure that the flash icon does not have a line through the lightning bolt or flash symbol) and force your camera to flash. This will fill in the shadows (often cast by hats, glasses, noses etc) and light up the faces of your subjects. On the other hand, if your subjects look overexposed and washed out, you can’t decrease the flash strength try moving back a little from your subject and using your zoom to get a tighter framing as this will decrease the impact of the flash. Also remember, with most cameras, about 6 or 7 feet is a normal flash range. Experimenting is the key. Sample images above show the difference between an image outdoors with the flash on and the flash off.

Get out there and flash away. Find out which settings work for you. We will talk about creating mood with lighting later which we will play with not using flash to create different moods. But for now, when you are out in that bright light and you see shadows being cast, remember that the flash in bright conditions is your friend.

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