At Christmas lunch with my family I saw something occur that I see happening far too often.
You might have seen it happen in your house, or out in public. In fact, it could be happening RIGHT NOW. Or you might even be guilty of it yourself *GASP*!
It is, brace yourself…
overuse of flash.
Flashes inside when there is ample light, flashes outside when the sun is shining, flashes at fireworks, flashes at concerts.
Now don’t get me wrong, I use flash (albeit infrequently) but there is a time and place. Really low light with no other ambient light is the time. Taking a photo of your kids in their school concert when you are standing at the back of the room is not.
But don’t worry, I’m going to step your through the when and where. Let’s get into it.
As I mentioned, sometimes you have to use a flash. For example, if you are taking a photo of people outside in front of a sunset and you don’t use a flash you’ll get silhouettes. My favourite way to take this is to move the subjects side on to the sunset and use that beautiful light to illuminate them. If you really wanted to use a flash be aware that at that time of day the strength of the sun is quite low and in comparison your flash is really bright, so the person will be illuminated and the landscape will be darkened. To offset that move back from your subject so the light landing on your subject is lessoned. Notice I said moving away from your subject will lessen the amount of light that is falling on them, which brings me to a ‘don’t use your flash here’ situation.. concerts!!
Sitting in the front row less than a metre way from Beyonce/Mumford and Sons/Kings of Leon etc? Great! Get your flash out and go for your life (although Beyonce is a bit touchy about that at the moment so maybe restrain from doing that at her concerts 😉 ). Sitting in the nose bleed section? Your flash will do nothing but illuminate the back of the head of the person in front of you. To be honest, in both situations the light coming from the professional lighting rig on the stage is a million time stronger than your flash will ever be, so you really don’t need it at all. Try this the next time your kids are singing their hearts out in the school concert; take a photo with and one without flash. See a difference? Thought not.
So don’t be afraid to turn off the flash, you’ll find it freeing and inevitably get more creative images without the flash flattening all the details out. Flash can be used to great effect, but that’s another post for another day.