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Camera Flash Tips for Dummies

People tend to leave the flash on or in automatic whenever taking pictures. The common notion is that it looks brighter (and better) with flash.

Personally, I rarely use it. With flash, you do not capture the ambiance made by natural lights. Here are a few tips when to turn the flash on:

1) Do not use flash in dim light. Most of digital cameras adjust the levels (somewhat related to contrast) of the picture taken. Upon using flash, it creates the background darker and the foreground brighter. It also creates unwanted shadows at the sides. I recommend raising the exposure of your digital camera. This allows more light to enter, hence there would be even brightness in the picture. In more advanced cameras, set the f-number to a lower setting and/or lower the frame rate. CAUTION: low frame rates are not advisable for capturing objects in motion, unless motion blur is your style.

2) Use flash against strong backlight or on objects in shades. Backlight is strong when there is a light source behind the subject. If the flash is not used, the background will be bright but the foreground would be dark. By using the flash, you create balance to the brightness. TIP: you can cover the flash with thin sheet of paper to soften the light from the flash or to diffuse it.  By doing this, you create additional ambient light and softer shadows instead of darker ones made by strong directional flash.



1. taroogs - December 13, 2007

thanks for the tip… i have one question, though. i currently use a kodak z7590 for my photo-taking… do you happen to have any experience with this model? any useful tips for everyday photography? one observation i have is the relatively weak capacity of the built it flash… it illuminates only up to a few feet when taking photos indoors in dark surroundings 🙂


Slick: honestly, i don’t even have my own camera. i just experiment with others’ cam. take the tip of homebodyhubby. he’s my uncle, an expert in photography. he commented this post. here’s a site i’ve found for your camera: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/service/publications/urg00386toc.jhtml?chapsec=urg00386c2s16&pq-path=6853

2. homebodyhubby - December 14, 2007

right… most often available or existing light is much better. but at a slower shutter speed the camera must be STEADY. the subject must also be STATIONARY unless you want an intentional “blur” on the subject.

if the flash can be TILTED at an angle, aim it toward the ceiling or a wall. this way, light is BOUNCED to the surface before reaching the subject, creating a more diffused effect. BUT take note of the COLOR of the ceiling or the wall — this can affect the overall color tone of the picture.

dark backgrounds and bright foregrounds in “flashed” pictures are more likely if you use WIDE-ANGLE LENS. try stepping back from the subject and use a medium TELEPHOTO LENS (or zoom to telephoto mode) and take note of the difference! this could be explained by the INVERSE LAW OF LIGHT.

in “backlit” 😆 subjects, flash output must be just ENOUGH to show the details in the shadowed area.

(in-english ko na lahat, baka may magbasa na hindi nakakaintindi ng tagalog.)

Slick: Wow, coming from my idol in art! hehe…

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