Flash. You either hate it or love it. Some people steadfastly refuse to use it, thinking that it will bleach everything in the picture out. Today's modern cameras can be set to record an images in seemingly very dark situations and still give good quality that would have been unthinkable a few years back.
However, used correctly, fill in flash can greatly enhance a photo. I have prepared some notes on how to use fill in flash correctly using a wide variety of camera and flash types.
Image A Image B
The two pictures above show how I used fill in flash on a Vivitar 283 flash to lighten the shadows whilst photographing Marianne. The 283 is a semi automatic flash meaning that the user has to first set the correct aperture on the camera and the flash manually. I knew that the correct exposure for the overall outdoor scene was 1/200 sec at f11. I simply set these manually on the camera and used the 283 flash at f8. This meant that the flash gave out light which was one f-stop less than the ambient light. I did it this way because I didn't want the subject to be over lit. In the second example, Marianne's face is well exposed and not too bright. The flash has also added a pleasing catch-light to her eyes.
Fill in flash with a dedicated unit.
Image 1Take a look at these three examples. In the first one, I exposed for my wife Oksana's face. This was taken at 1/125 sec @ f8. The background (gardens at Gruyère castle) is horribly overexposed. This is an occasion when I wanted the background to be illuminated to the same amount as the foreground.
I took another image with the camera set to 1/200sec @ f18. This corresponded to the outside conditions. However, this time we have the opposite effect with Oksana's face nearly hidden.
The solution, using a Canon 420 EZII Speedlite is wonderfully simple. Keeping the camera set for the last image i.e. 1/200sec @ f18 (for the outside ambient light), switch the flash on and fire away.
Feel free to leave some comments and thanks for reading.