Mar 8, 2018

To Flash or Not to Flash…. | Instructional Advice from Ray Baldino

To Flash or Not to Flash…

That is the question.

Over the years of shooting outside I sometimes needed to rely on that UGLY flash.  Never really cared to use it because I didn’t know how to use it.  I often struggled with using flash.  Why?  Well, because it looks like crap!  My photographs looked very amateurish so I decided not to use flash most of the time.  I don’t like to see the flash in the image, or deal with the setup of the flash. So, when you really have no choice to pull that flash out of your bag you must bow down to the “Flash God” and obey its commands.

After you understand how and when to use your flash correctly then you can apply proper technique to create an image that doesn’t look like you used flash. Flash-on-camera is the most typical type to use because it’s easy and sometimes that’s all you can do in that situation. For instance- weddings. I have my flash-on-camera all day and night. That’s right. I use it during the day too!  Why? You need to fill in the dark shadows under the bride’s eyes from that overhead sun, You must make her look great!  Off-camera-flash is used for portraits, especially when you have the time to adjust the settings and lighting angles to that “sweet spot” so that your final image doesn’t appear as if you used the flash.

I-phone and android users:

I help people all the time with the flash on their phone. I sometimes suggest to turn-on the flash during the day and try not to use the flash indoors. You may be surprised with the results, however, its trial and error. Good luck!

My Example Images:

My first example shown will show you that I properly exposed for the overall scene and look what happened: my subject is underexposed.  If you want to have proper exposure in this scenario use must use flash on the subject’s face.  Now, in the next example, too much flash was used and it looks bad.  The third example is a balanced exposure on the background and subject.  This is an acceptable image to me. With the correct lighting (not to mention a great model and pose,) you can see how the full image is ready for competition!

Thanks for reading!  Good luck with that flash!

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