Whilst natural light can create stunning images, it is not always as reliable as it could be.
Using flash in your photography can not only add additional light in dark or low light settings. Used creatively if can change the way a picture looks.
Here are just some of the different ways you can use an electronic flash to improve your digital photography
If you are taking a photograph of a person against a sunset often the person will appear very dark. This is because your digital camera will be averaging the available light. A fill flash can be used to better light the person in the photograph. Other examples are where you are taking an image of a person in a shadow.
More expensive flash units include a facility to be able to swivel or tilt the head unit. In addition, some include small reflectors to further manipulate the light. Bouncing the flash can be very effective to remove shadows and creating a softer but more spread out light. This technique can be very useful for taking photographs inside where you can bounce the flash off the ceiling or walls.
Dealing with red-eye
One problem with flash photography is the dreaded red-eye. This is caused by the sudden increase in light reflecting off the subjects retina (back of the eye) and creating the impression that the subjects eye pupils are red. There are a number of techniques available to overcome this. Often bouncing the flash will solve the problem or using a flash guns anti red-eye function. Anti Red eye will send multiple flashes prior to the image being taken so that the subjects eyes get used to the increased light, the pupils narrow which reduces the reflected light.
Built in or dedicated flash
If your digital camera has a built in flash or you own a dedicated flash gun e.g. the Nikon SB800 is a dedicated unit for the Nikon Digital SLR range such as the D70 or D300. For most images the automatic setting will work well as they are designed to work well with the camera own electronics and focussing systems.
Additional Flash Units
For some images you may wish to use additional flashes for your photographs e.g. in a studio. Slave units can often be triggered by the camera’s main flash. Studio flashes often include different output levels so that the power can be adjusted. A light meter can be a useful device in these situations.