With camera technology today automation simplifies taking pictures. And in most situations letting your camera control all the settings you will get fantastic photos in return. Automatic settings are great partly because I am lazy and don’t want to mess with shutter speeds, aperture sizes, focusing and lighting control. Or I am in a hurry and just want to point, shoot and get the photo before the moment is gone.
However there are times when you need to take more control over you camera. Learning to control light through aperture settings is not complicated but there is another very simple technique you can use to improve the quality of your photos. Just as it is important to learn how to turn off your flash, learn how to turn your flash on when the camera doesn’t think it needs to be on. Automatic settings on your camera try to balance light to a neutral setting. Sometimes neutral settings don’t work. Some cameras call it fill flash and others will have a setting to force the flash on through a manual setting.
Back or side lighting can be a great creative technique but when you want the subject to take precedence using a fill flash will improve your pictures. Have you ever taken a photo of someone in front of a window and it turned out the person was too dark you couldn’t see their face? The camera compensated for all the additional light coming through the window it turned off the flash when ultimately the flash should have been on to properly light your subject.
Another perfect example for when to use fill flash is when your subject is wearing a ball cap on a bright summer day. The bill of ball cap will cast a harsh shadow on your subjects face. By using fill flash it will brighten dark shadows around the eyes and nose under the ball cap.
A fill flash also works well in many other situations. When taking photos of a subject with a darker complexion on a beach or a child playing in the snow. Your camera tries to average all the light. By using your flash you will brighten the face of your subject. Using fill flash is just one of the ways to balance light in your pictures.