This How To, is about taking pictures in indoors and in low light. Cameras come in one of two varieties, those with built in flash and those without. The most used camera, the one in your smart phone, comes with a built in flash. As do, some compact and starter DSLRs’ (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras. Built in flash makes low light photography easy, your camera detects there is not enough light and switches on the flash.
That’s the theory, but as anyone who has used a built in flash knows, sometimes they produce an image that is not, the most flattening. It tends to make people look, as if they have just been added to a 10 most wanted list.
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You can however; overcome the limitations of built in flash? Take the picture without it. What you need, is to get as much light on your subject as possible. Try moving your subject a step or two closer to a window, switch on any available lights. This increases the amount of light and it may be enough to take the picture without flash. Another good tip is, if your camera has the ability, increase the ISO setting.
I should explain about ISO. This setting determines, how sensitive your camera is to light. The higher the ISO the less amount of light you need to take a picture. However; as with most things it is not quite as simple as it sounds. One consequence of turning the ISO up is, your pictures tend to look grainy. The good news, today’s cameras produce very good pictures with high ISO settings. Give it a try, turn up the ISO, you might just be able to take a picture without the built in flash.
Pictures outside at night are difficult. First reaction is to turn on the built in flash. But, your built in flash is not very powerful and designed to work in small rooms, where light bounces off the walls and ceilings. Take a picture outdoors and anything within a few feet is correctly exposed, beyond that it very quickly goes to black.
It’s not impossible to get your picture, but you are going to have to work a bit harder. Here are a few simple tips. If you are going to use flash, get closer to your subject, make it fill the whole frame.
You can try turning off the flash. Turn up the ISO. Find something to rest the camera on a wall, a table, anything that is not going to move. Compose the image. If your camera has a self-timer, use it to fire the shutter rather than pressing the shutter. Just the act of pressing the button can cause a blurry image. Keep the camera as still as possible. This long exposure technique may get you the picture you want.
The message, I hope you are getting here, is there are alternatives to using flash. Make sure the ISO is turned up high, turn on a few lights or move nearer a window. If you are trying to take a picture of something small, try using a table lamp to illuminate it. The advantage of using the available light over the built in flash, is you see what you’re going to get and normally the quality of the finished picture is better.
Give these tips a try; you may be surprised at the results you achieve. And one parting tip, if you have turned the flash off, don’t forget to turn it back on. It may not be the best answer, but sometimes it’s the only answer.
That’s it for this one. Short on time but want Maximum impact on social media – look out for our next blog in our “How To” series. Can’t wait that long? Our personal training covers all aspects of photography helping you make a good first impression and click here stand out from the crowd.
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