Using your flash for fill light during the day

picture with no fill flash
Photo with no fill flash
portrait with fill light
Photo using fill light on subject.

I’m often out taking pictures in a public areas and so many times I see people taking pictures with their expensive digital SLR’s but failing to have or use a flash when taking pictures of people. Most DSLR’s now have a simple pop up flash, all makes, Canon, Nikon, Minolta and others make intro to mid range cameras with a pop up flash so why not use it?

I use it often, but I go one step further with an additional flash strobe attached to my camera. Currently I use the Nikon SB-800 Flash, but you can use one of many available for your camera. The results will significantly improve your pictures. Many external flashes now can be used off camera via remote and still meter TTL. My SB-800 is probably more than most people need, but can still be purchased new or used. Nikon also makes a Nikon SB-400 for a little over $100, its a great buy.

Use a fill flash whenever the background is lighter than your foreground subject or to highlight your subject a little more than the existing light is able to. The image on the top left is a good example. The background was much too bright and the model is darker than I would have liked. I could have metered her first then zoomed out but then I risked the background getting overexposed. The solution? Use some fill light from my SB-800 to brighten up her face and dress. Its very subtle but worked well, see picture on the top right.  Click HERE for a side by side view.

So next time you’re photographing your wife, husband, baby or whoever, use your flash! And don’t be afraid to use it during the day, it often helps more than you think.


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