Using Fill Flash to Illuminate Dark Foreground Subjects

Fill flash is a fabulous technique to add more life to dull images and it helps you brighten an otherwise dark subject. The fill flash is literally that; the photographer uses a flash to fill or to add more light to a shadowed subject. In order to maximize its effect, you have to know exactly when to use a fill flash. It does not mean that you always have to leave your flash setting on at every shooting occasion.

It is important to preserve a natural look when using fill flash for your shots. For example, you want to take a picture of a flower with the sun shining behind it. Since the sun is bright, the flower will be heavily backlit and will appear dark or shadowed. It will look like a silhouette. Using a flash will illuminate the flower but it could also end up looking too bright and 'blown out' if you are not careful.

A lot of digital cameras automatically adjust the background exposure to the flash exposure. If your camera has a flash exposure compensation feature, then it will do most of the work for you. It will balance the amount of ambient light with the intensity of the flash and you'll end up having shots with well lighted foreground subjects even if the background is a sunny sky.

If you have to manually change your flash settings depending on the intensity of background exposure, then it is advisable to reduce your flash output from 2/3 to 1 1/3 stops. If you leave the flash settings unchanged, then the flash will burst the same amount of light as the main source. This has the effect of making your image appear flat and unappealing. Find that balance so that the flash only bursts enough light to fill in the details of your subject without it appearing harsh.

Play around with using flash in the daytime. We usually only use it at night or when we are indoors. If used properly, your flash could be the deciding factor in saving photographs of subjects that might otherwise have been too dark.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 at 4:32 pm and is filed under Advanced Tutorials, Articles, Lighting, Photography Techniques, Photography Tutorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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