6 clever ways to get better lighting from your camera’s pop-up flash

Built-in flash

Most entry- and enthusiast-level cameras come with a pop-up flash, which though not especially powerful, can come in very handy. In this tutorial, the photo management and Canon Project1709 experts at Photoventure show you six built-in flash techniques than can help you get the better results from this often overlooked and somewhat maligned feature.

Built in flash techniques: 01. Fill-in flash

Built in flash techniques: 01. Fill-in

One of the most important lessons that you can learn about flash is that it’s not just for use when it’s dark, it can really boost your daylight images as well.

A little fill-in light can bring images to life, especially portraits, by adding a little sparkle and lifting dark shadows.

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The first step is to pop-up your camera’s flash and set it to Fill-in, Forced or Flash-on, this tells it to fire even if the exposure system thinks that there’s enough light without it.

In many cases your camera will now ensure that the shutter speed is within the flash and camera’s sync range, often slower than 1/125sec, but sometimes 1/250 or 1/60sec — your manual will say.

If the camera doesn’t automatically set a suitable shutter speed you’ll need to adjust it manually and then you’re good to go.

Fill-in light is especially useful with back-lit subjects as it enables you to record some detail in the bright surroundings as well as the subject that’s in shadow.

And on bright sunny days it allows you to place your subject in shade so that their eyes aren’t screwed up against the sun.

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