Tip: Fill Flash

One of the most useful applications of your camera's flash is overlooked by amateur photographers. That is the role of a fill flash. Often times, especially when taking portrait photography "in the field," as they say, the subject's face may not have adequate lighting. The fill flash is your friend in these conditions. I'll illustrate a perfect use cases for a fill flash:

It is a beautiful sunny day. You have a great shot lined up with a fantastic background and setting for your picture. Your subject is ready. But, just when you're visualizing the perfect results, you realize the bright sun is coming directly from the side across your subject's face. The result: big dark shadows across one side of the face. Fill flash to the rescue! If your subject is within your flash's effective range, you can (and you should) use your fill flash. This will eliminate the harsh shadows on the face. And, if the background is out of the effective range of your flash, the camera flash won't even affect the rest of your image.

This principle can apply in a number of situations:

  • Your subject is wearing a hat and the natural light is being blocked, leaving the face in shadow.
  • There is uneven or mottled light on the subject's face that will look funny in the finished photograph.
  • The background of your image is very bright, but your subject is not. Fill flash can more evenly illuminate them to properly expose both the background and the subject.

Situations such as these are the ideal use cases for your camera's flash. Just remember that just because it's sunny out, doesn't mean you should put your flash away.

Check out some more flash photography information.