How To Use Camera Flash.The flash is a fundamental tool in the field of photography. Technically, it is a flash of light obtained with an electronic device, called photographic flashing light or more simply flash, which accumulates energy in a capacitor and, at the moment of shooting, releases it, so as to start a flash that then illuminates the scene. to be immortalized. Professional photographers use the flash not only as a mere lighting tool, but also as an aid in making artistic shots.
How do you say? Lately you have also been passionate about photography and, therefore, would you like to learn how to better master the flash? Yup? Then know that you have come to the right place at the right time! In the next paragraphs, in fact, I will have the opportunity to explain to you in detail How To Use Camera Flash talking mainly about cameras, but also providing useful instructions relating to smartphones.
So, are you ready to get started? Yup? Great! Make yourself comfortable, take all the time you need to concentrate on reading the next paragraphs and, more importantly, try to implement the “tips” that I will give you. There is nothing left for me to do, except wish you happy reading and, above all, make you a big good luck for your business as a photographer!
- How to use the camera flash
- How to use the external flash
- How to use the built-in flash
- How to use the flash outdoors
- How to use the flash in the evening
- How to use the flash manually
- How to use the flash in portraits
- How to use the phone flash
- How to use flash on Android
- How to use flash on iPhone
How to use the camera flash
Let’s start this discussion by seeing how to use the camera flash . Whether you want to use an external flash or the built-in flash on your camera, in the next few lines you will find useful ideas on the possible uses of this very useful accessory.
How to use the external flash
Using the external flash , rather than the one built into the camera (which I’ll tell you about later ), has several advantages. The external flash, in fact, can be oriented in various directions, has settings that you can customize to your liking and can produce a more powerful and intense light than the one built into the camera.
All these features make the external flash an extremely versatile and useful tool not only to properly illuminate the scene, but also to create very suggestive plays of light and shadows which, for obvious reasons, cannot be replicated with the flashes built into the machines. photographic.
Before illustrating some possible uses of the external flash, I would like to tell you that this can be installed on the camera (usually on Reflex cameras there is the slide insertion mechanism ) or it can be used remotely, without being installed on the camera body .
One of the best ways to use the external flash is by orienting its head in a direction other than that in which the subject to be immortalized is located, so as to bounce the light off a surface (e.g. a side wall or the ceiling), rather than directly on the subject. In this way, the subject is reached by the flash of light with less “violence”, which makes the shadows “softer” and less sharp, avoiding a highlighting of the defects of the subject portrayed in the photo.
To do this, just aim the flash head in the desired direction and, as soon as you are ready to do so, take the picture. Keep in mind that the farther away the surface is hit directly by the flash, the more diffused the light that in turn hits the subjects and, therefore, the softer the shadows in the shot you get.
External flashes can usually also be used without being physically attached to the camera. These models generally integrate a mode, called Slave , which allows them to be activated via another beam of light (which could be the one emanating from the flash built into the camera), which makes them particularly versatile, since they can be positioned at the point of the camera. scene that allows you to get exactly the desired effect.
How to use the built-in flash
Many professional photographers advise against the use of the flash built into the camera, or pop-up flash , and for various reasons: this type of flash represents a very small light source, thus not allowing to adequately illuminate the scene. It is also not very powerful, its direction is in line with the lens (and by illuminating the subject from the front, it “flattens” it) and being powered by the camera battery, its intensive use risks running out of charge rather quickly.
However, let me tell you how to turn on and off the flash on your camera and how to try to use it in the best way. Usually, when the camera is set to automatic mode (A) , the flash is on by default and cannot be turned off. By setting the manual mode (M) , however, you can choose to activate or deactivate the integrated flash from time to time by pressing the button with the lightning bolt icon located on the camera body.
Regarding the effective deactivation of the flash, on many cameras there is a setting (eg Flash off on Canon DSLRs), to be used when you do not want to use the flash or when you are in environments where it is forbidden. use.
If you decide to resort to the use of the integrated flash, despite its potential disadvantages, you can try to deflect the light emitted by the latter by placing a mirror in correspondence with it: by directing the mirror towards the ceiling or a nearby wall, you will avoid “shoot” the light directly on the subject.
Another trick you can take is to place a white sheet of paper in front of the flash , so as to make the beam of light a little more diffused: which will slightly attenuate the presence of too sharp shadows on the portrait subject.
How to use the flash outdoors
Using the flash outdoors , so in environments that are probably already naturally lit, can be very useful. The flash, in fact, is not only used to illuminate dark or poorly lit places, as some might mistakenly think, but it can also be used in bright contexts to lighten shadows and / or reduce the contrast of full sun.
This type of use of flash is called fill flash or fill flash and, to better understand its usefulness, I’ll give you a practical example: let’s say you find yourself taking pictures on a particularly sunny day. In these lighting conditions, the shadows on the faces of the subjects to be captured may be too pronounced, making it impossible to distinguish the facial features. To correct this, you can manually adjust the exposure and try to remove some shadows but, by proceeding in this way, you run the risk of overexposing the background, obtaining a shot with the subject correctly exposed, but the background definitely too light. , if not completely white.
By adopting the fill flash technique, however, it is possible to illuminate the shady areas of the subject, obtaining a good balance between the brightness of the background and also of the subject itself. For best results, of course, it must be remembered that the shutter speed cannot be set to values that are higher than the flash sync speed : the aperture must be reduced in order to compensate for the greater brightness caused by the flash . use of the flash.
How to use the flash in the evening
If you want to use the flash in the evening , there are a few things you should definitely take into consideration. First of all, I want to tell you that, usually, the flash can cover a distance ranging from 3 to 10 meters . This means that taking flash photos to illuminate a distant subject can be counterproductive.
By activating the flash, in fact, the scene is illuminated by the light emanating from the latter and this can “deceive” the camera, making it believe that we are in strong lighting conditions. As a result, the shutter speed will be automatically reduced by the camera, which will generate an underexposed, not to mention dark, shot.
How can such a thing be avoided? In a nutshell, not using the flash and exposing the photo manually: to do this, you can take some very simple measures, such as increasing the shutter speed , opening the aperture and increasing the ISO value (but without exaggerating, otherwise the photo obtained will be very “noisy). If you decide to increase the shutter speed, I suggest you use a tripod , so as to avoid running the risk of running into photos that have blur or micro-blur.
If, on the other hand, you want to use the flash in the evening to illuminate a subject that is close , I suggest you resort to the use of an external flash , rather than using the one built into the camera. As I have already explained to you a few lines above, in fact, the external flash allows you to direct your head towards a direction other than that in which the subject to be immortalized is located, which allows you to bounce the light on a surface (eg. a side wall), rather than directly on the subject, making the shot more interesting and avoiding common defects, such as that of the red-eye effect .
If you don’t have an external flash available and / or you still want to use the built- in one on your camera to illuminate nearby subjects, at least try to avoid “shooting” the light directly into the eyes of the subjects you want to capture, perhaps inviting them not to look directly into the lens, so as to avoid the red-eye effect (which could still be corrected in post-production, as I explained to you in another guide ).
How to use the flash manually
As I explained to you in the introduction of the article, the flash accumulates, during recharging, a certain amount of energy in a capacitor and, in the moment of shooting, it releases it instantly to start the flash that must illuminate the scene. The “secret” to make the most of the flash, therefore, is to dose the quantity of light released by the latter.
If you have an external flash available, it would therefore be advisable to use it in manual mode , rather than in the automatic one, to better adjust its intensity. Clearly, it is advisable to do this in all those situations in which you have the opportunity to calmly study the photos to be taken: if you need to seize the moment, it is better to use the flash in automatic mode (or TTL ), so to be sure to get a correct shot by simply setting the shooting parameters of the camera. In automatic mode, in fact, the flash calculates all the parameters to be set automatically based on the information it can gather from the lens.
To use the flash in manual mode, you have to recall the mode in question via the flash: generally, to do this, just select the letter M of the flash and enter the power setting menu of the same. Since the operations to be performed may vary from device to device, I recommend that you read the user manual to know in detail how to proceed.
When taking the picture in manual mode with the flash, the first thing you have to take into consideration is the power of the flash of light , which must necessarily vary according to the result you want to obtain. Usually, by setting the flash in manual mode, there are values ranging from 1/1 to 1/128 : the value 1/1 indicates the maximum power value; the value 1/128, on the other hand, indicates the lowest power value.
Another value that can be changed on many external flashes is the amplitude of the parabola , that is the amplitude of the light beam emanating from the flash which usually varies between 24mm and 128mm : the 24mm value indicates a very wide beam of light. , while the value 128mm indicates a very wide beam of light.
As for the values to be set on the camera, I remind you some concepts that you would do well to always keep in mind. If you keep the flash power, ISO sensitivity and shutter speed unchanged, if you choose to close the aperture the photo will be underexposed, while with the aperture wide open it will be overexposed. This means that the flash output is directly proportional to the aperture and, therefore, increases as the aperture increases.
By leaving the flash power, ISO value and aperture unchanged, however, the subject will always be illuminated correctly, while the presence of ambient light will change, as it is controlled by the shutter speed .
In light of what has just been said, when you manually adjust the shooting parameters, always remember that by varying the aperture, you will act on the amount of light that hits the subject to be captured; by varying the shutter speed, however, you will act on the ambient light.
How to use the flash in portraits
As for the use of flash in portraits , I suggest you follow the tips and tricks I have already given you in the previous chapters, in order to avoid getting underexposed or overexposed photos and minimize the possibility of running into errors. common, such as red-eye.
To these tips, I add that when using the flash in group photos, you must take care to position all the subjects on the same plane . For what reason? If the subjects are arranged on different planes, those that are closer to the lens will be illuminated and exposed correctly: those that are a little further away, on the other hand, will be underexposed and, therefore, the shot will be practically unusable.
How to use the phone flash
Do you mainly take pictures with your phone and would like to know how to activate the built-in flash on the latter? Below you will find explained how to do it on both Android and iPhone .
How to use flash on Android
If you have an Android device , you should be able to manage the settings related to using the flash directly from the Camera app . To proceed, therefore, start the latter on your smartphone, tap on the lightning bolt icon at the top (on some devices you must first tap on the gear symbol to expand the menu that contains the icon in question).
At this point, you just have to pay attention to the symbol that appears on the lightning bolt icon : if there is no symbol, it means that the flash is active; if the symbol (A) is present , it means that the automatic flash is active and the operating system will decide whether to activate the flash or not, while the prohibition symbol indicates that the flash is disabled.
Now, after activating the flash, all you have to do is press the shutter button at the bottom center to take the picture and illuminate it by emitting the flash of light generated by the flash.
How to use flash on iPhone
Do you have an iPhone and would like to know how to activate the flash on the latter? Again, you can do it very easily. First start the Camera app , tap on the lightning bolt symbol at the top left and, in the menu that opens, select one of the available options: Automatic , if you want to set the automatic flash and let the operating system decide when to activate it; Yes , if you want to keep it always on or No , if you want to deactivate it.
Then press the shutter button at the bottom center of the screen, in order to take the picture and illuminate it thanks to the built-in flash on your “iPhone by”, and that’s it.