Light is life!


 Light is life!

 Light is life! It is the single most powerful force in nature. It creates and sustains all of the life on earth. Without it, there would be nothing to see in a photograph except for a black screen.

Your photographic choices are limited without light whether you're inside or outside, day or night, sunny or cloudy. The single most important attribute of a good picture is its exposure and this has everything to do with how much light your camera can capture when you take the shot.

This article is all about learning how to maximize the power of your camera or smartphone's built-in flash so that you can capture the best possible image of whatever you're shooting.

The top ways to use your flash to take great pictures are:

1. Using it to shoot in low light. This is what I want you to do today because we'll be working with very low light situations, and as a result, keeping shutter speeds fast (to freeze motion) when using the flash will result in long exposures which will result in very dark subjects! As Little Light as Possible. A long steady exposure with a flash is called a "bulb setting.

2. Using it as fill light when shooting outdoors in bright sunlight. We'll talk about this below.

3. Using it to shoot subjects that are back lit by the sun like the ones pictured above, where I am using it to light the background only and not the subject (the wife). This is one of my favorite uses for my flash! Back lighting gives a classic look to pictures that most people don't have.

4. Using it to shoot macro (close-up) photography of flowers, insects, food, etc. with a diffuser and setting the flash power to "fill" or "ambient". I'll talk about this in detail below.

5. Using it to add some punch and pop to an otherwise flat looking image when you absolutely cannot open up the lens aperture any further and your shutter speed is fast enough for hand holding the camera without blur from camera shake.

6. Shooting portraits. This is a very basic use for the flash, just like when you take a picture of someone looking at you, it can be very effective to use your flash to illuminate their face and set them apart from the background. Always put the flash in "fill" mode if you're doing this so that it doesn't have an obvious "flicker" look to it. We'll talk about this below as well.

7. Shooting action pictures of moving subjects where the use of a flash is not obvious to the viewer, like the one pictured above. You can capture 5-10 frames per second using this technique when shooting action and use post production software to merge them into a single picture with a great depth of field as shown in my article, Articulate Motion .

8. Using it to fill shadows created by overhanging branches or flying birds that are creating a dark spot in your image from what you'd like to be light but cannot get because you have no way of getting there. This is the primary reason I have a flash on my camera! I use it constantly for those reasons and for the one below...

9. Using it to control reflections on glass, water or other shiny surfaces when you don't have time in your schedule to change your shooting angles.

10. And finally, using it to add light and punch to a dimly lit scene where the flash is not obvious in the final shot.

These are just ten of my favorite uses for a built-in flash. There are dozens more, but these will get you started with amazing results if you follow along and practice!

Further Reading:  Click here to read my related article on How To Shoot Macro Photography like a Pro . Understanding Light is understanding photography because all photographs are created with light being reflected off of some object.

Step By Step Instructions For Using Your Flash To Take Great Pictures

To take great pictures in low light, you need to set your flash power on your camera to as low as it will go. It's dangerous to allow the flash to fire while any type of lens is attached because it will continue firing even after the shutter closes - which could give you a burned out flash bulb! It's also important to realize that if you are using an off-camera flash, or a speedlight mounted on top of your camera, that the power setting on your camera is not set for what you're using.

You will not get the best results in low light if you shoot these two ways:

1. Pointing the flash straight up at your subject, with the camera pointed down, and holding the camera as still as you can (see photos above). You can see that it was very difficult to keep the light from leaking around the edges of my subjects as a result of shooting this way.

2. Shooting with a flash mounted directly on your camera and pushing it all the way to high power which will get quite bright, but will also blow out your highlights everywhere in your photo. You can see this in both of my photos above.

My own rule of thumb is to always have the flash set to 1/60 power with maximum power output when shooting indoors and 1/125 power with maximum when shooting outdoors. It's rare for me to want full power indoors, but it could be necessary on occasion. I've found that 1/125 captures more light than either of these two examples above, but I still avoid it outside.

For speedlights, the new FlexTTL system has made this very easy for you! All you have to do is adjust your flash head depending on the distance from your subject.


If this article was helpful to you, please share it with someone else who you know would enjoy it as well! If you have any questions or comments, please post them below. I'll do my best to answer them. And finally, if you like this article, please click here to subscribe to my feed so that you'll be notified of future articles as they are published. There's more cool stuff coming soon! Thank you for taking the time to read my work and I hope it helps your photography!

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