Photographers run into all sorts of problems when they take out their flashgun. In this quick tutorial we highlight the three most common flash photography problems and what you can do to avoid them.
Flash lighting is a difficult thing to master, and its poor use is only too obvious in badly-flashed images. Either the subject is much too bright, or the background is pitch black – or both.
Results can also be hugely variable depending on how far away the subject is positioned from the light. Often a flash is nowhere near powerful enough to light the subject, so the image comes out far too dark.
These problems are a result of a variety of issues with flash photography – so if your flash-lit images are leaving you disappointed and frustrated, we have some useful advice to help you see the light.
Three common flash photography problems
01 Wrong sync speed
All cameras have a specified sync speed for flash photography, typically 1/125 or 1/250 sec. If a shutter speed faster than the sync speed is used, the shutter won’t open long enough for the flashlight to register. Make sure the correct sync speed is set, although a slower shutter speed can be used.
02 Over-flashed subject
If the subject is too bright, it has received too much flash. This can happen when using flash in one of your camera’s auto modes. To reduce the amount of flash, use the flash compensation and dial in around -1. Take a shot, check the results and make further compensation if necessary.
03 Dark background
If the background is a long way behind the subject, it will receive insufficient light from the flash. Avoid this by placing the subject much closer to the background. Alternatively, balance flash and natural light by setting a slower shutter speed and using the flash as a fill-in rather than a main light.
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