Five ways to improve your flash photography
I'll be the first to admit, old-school flash photography intimidated me. Just the thought of figuring out guide numbers and flash charts put me in a cold sweat. If I was in a spontaneous shooting situation, say, photographing a colorful market, I just put my flash away and shot using available light. This resulted in a lot of mediocre photographs.
Things have changed with the current smart TTL flashes on the market, and I'm happy to report flash intimidation is gone forever! No more confusing charts—just let the flash calculate output with a little guidance from you. These new flashes are more intuitive, powerful and accurate.
Flash photography gives photographers a valuable tool in creating dynamic images. Using flash can often transform a nice image into a stunning one. Here are some ways to improve your photos using flash.
One of the best advantages of using flash is reducing shadows. Living in Colorado, we get 300 days of sunshine a year, and I often find myself shooting in harsh sunlight. This overhead light creates shadows on faces, under hats, around flowers and in many places I don't want shadows.
Most TTL flashes have a balanced fill-flash setting designed specifically to reduce shadows in contrasty situations. By setting your flash to the balanced fill-flash mode, the flash output won't overpower the ambient exposure. Instead, the flash will pop just enough light to reduce shadows in conjunction with the camera exposing the scene properly. If you check your LCD after the shot and your flash looks too hot, simply dial the output down. I often use balanced fill-flash with the output dialed down around one stop.