As you probably know, I don’t use flash very often. In fact, I call myself a natural light photographer. I typically shoot outdoors with whatever natural light is available to me, and even when I shoot indoors I try to only use natural light coming in through windows and doors.
A good example of this is in my ‘All Things Manual’ photography course where I show six examples of shooting with natural light, three indoors and three outdoors.
But occasionally I will use candles, flashlights and interior lights. But I reserve the flash until I absolutely have to have it. And when I do, here is how I use it.
When I Use a Flash
Typically when I pull out the flash is during weddings. Most of my sessions I have a lot of control of when and where the session will be. So I know that there will be available light.
But with weddings, you’re just kind of along for the ride. You likely have never been to the location before and the wedding could likely take place in a very dark venue and last long into the night.
The other time I will use a flash is in the studio. That is a controlled environment and a completely different type of shooting.
In a studio, I usually have several flashes set up to a remote that is attached to my camera so they all go off at exactly the same time.
How I Use a Flash
When I find myself needing to use a flash, this is how I use it. I never, NEVER direct flash my subjects! This will create blown out highlights and ridiculously harsh shadows.
I always bounce the light off of the ceiling or a wall. This defuses the light and creates nice soft highlights and shadows.
I do this with both on camera flash and off camera flash.
I hope this was helpful to you. Too often I see so-called professional photographers shooting with direct flash in a perfectly well-lit environment and it makes me cringe. Not to mention it practically blinds your subjects who are now squinting.
I want you to be able to use flash correctly and I’m hoping this article helped. Please let me know in the comments below.