Photography Lighting: how to take control of everything from natural light to flash

Photography Lighting: take control of everything from natural light to off-camera flash

Using flash to cope with challenging lighting conditions

In our final section we explain simple techniques for using flash to take control of your lighting environment.

Photography Lighting: using flash to cope with challenging conditions

Shot with on-camera flash

Unlike other lights, where you can see the effect of the position of any modifiers such as diffusers or reflectors, you can’t see the results with flash until you take a shot.

Flash doesn’t have to be scary, particularly if you are now familiar with how the direction of natural light affects your shots.

The quality of the light from most flashguns will be a little harsher than the light from your average reading lamp, so you still need to do some test shots with your own kit, but the basic principles of the quality and direction of light are the same, no matter what type of light source you use.

Photography Lighting: using flash to cope with challenging conditions

Shot with off-camera flash

Using a flash fired directly at the subject as the main light source is almost guaranteed to put you off using flash for life.

Used like this the flash works as a tiny point of light producing harsh, unflattering, high-contrast light.

You need to soften this light by making it appear to be much larger to the subject to make it more photogenic.

PAGE 1: Understanding the character of light
PAGE 2: How to control your photography lighting
PAGE 3: Taking control of the light
PAGE 4: Use a reflector to fill in the shadows
PAGE 5: Using fill-in flash
PAGE 6: Making the most of natural light
PAGE 7: Predicting the natural light
PAGE 8: Shoot in the direction of light
PAGE 9 Exposing in low light
PAGE 10: Shooting in twilight vs complete darkness
PAGE 11: How to shoot handheld in low light
PAGE 12: Why you might want to use flash
PAGE 13: Soften the light from your flash
PAGE 14: How to use flash triggers


Flash photography made easy: master everything from pop-up flash to multiple flashguns
Flash photography tips: external flash techniques anyone can understand
How camera flash works: free photography cheat sheet
Flash compensation: how to get perfectly balanced exposures