Using Flash

Towards evening, or when moving indoors, as the daylight decreases on your subject you start by increasing your aperture, using slower shutter speeds and increasing your ISO setting. Eventually you run out of adjustment and must supplement the light, normally by using a flashgun.

If you use the flash mounted on your camera then you will get a very flat looking picture, and maybe with blown out highlights.

Christmas Angel-1200w-550hBut what happens if you use both the remaining light and the flash? You can get the best of both worlds.

What you can do depends upon the capabilities of your camera. Simple 'point and shoot' cameras do not offer much in the way of control. You probably can only have the flash  set to On, Off or Auto.  Even here you can use it a bit as when it is 'on' you can fill in the shadows on your subject even as the light falls. You will need to experiment to find the best settings. This is especailly useful if you are indoors on a generally well lit day. The sunlight coming in will light the background and your flash will illuminate the subject.

With more advanced cameras you would normally use 1/200 second exposure and set the aperture according to the strength of your flash. In the evening or at night this will probably give you a black background and a sharp, well exposed main subject.

But there's nothing to stop you using longer exposures to capture some light from the background, but it will probably be blurred as a result of camera shake or movement. The background lighting will still give you some context for your picture and so make it much more interesting. So long as your main subject is clearly in focus the blurred background is quite acceptable.

The details of the settings you might choose for this type of shot are for another post, but for now get out your camera's manual and go and experiment!

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