Lighting Techniques

Low light flash photography

Written by Gail Bjork

The illumination power of a built-in digital camera flash is limited so learn to get the most out of it.

popup flashThe illumination power of a built-in digital camera flash is limited. For this reason, many photographers who take a lot of inside photos use an external flash. Whenever using the built-in flash, it is important to stay within the recommended range for the focal length used.

Using the flash inside in low light

If you’re inside taking photos during the day, open doors and curtains to let in outside, natural light to supplement the flash. Otherwise, turn on more lights in the room and adjust the white balance.

If necessary, also increase the ISO.

The lower the lighting, the greater the likelihood that photos of people will have red-eye. Be sure to read the information about steps you can take to help prevent red-eye.

White balance and color cast

When taking photos inside when the main lighting in the room is artificial change the white balance setting to match the light. Proper while balance will prevent, or at least, reduce any color color cast.

If you can set white balance manually, do so. If the color still doesn’t come out as expected, correct the color cast with photo editing software.

Using the flash outside in low light

To capture a dimly lit background in a night scene when the main subject is in the foreground, use slow synch flash or the night scene mode. The flash will fire briefly to light the foreground subject but stays open long enough to capture some of the background light. A tripod or other camera support is recommended when using a slow synch flash mode.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.

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