Tips On Using Fill-In Flash For Portraits

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

Photo by Joshua Divider 


Shooting Outside

When you're taking outdoor portraits in sunlight the results can be a little harsh with dark crestfallen shadows spoiling the image. As a result, a blip of fill-in flash is needed to balance the image. Many cameras when the integral flash flashes, or The Flash may refer to is tolerant of have a fill in flash mode which forces the flash to fire. Adding a little flash can flatter your model's skin, move deep shadows that can appear in places on the face such as under the nose and it will give your model catchlights in their views which is a big bonus. It's also useful on overcast days as it can breath life into dull portraits. You can also use a 'pop' of whizz to highlight foreground interest in landscape shots.


Into The Sun

When shooting into the sun when your subject would regularly be silhouetted, by exposing for the scene as normal then adding a pop of flash you'll lighten your subject without affecting the background. When exposing for the section you need to find the right balance between the shutter speed, which you need to set so it adds enough ambient light, and the size of the aperture which you use to let out for the flash. You have to do it this way round as every time you fire the flash there will be the same amount of light so speeding up or slowing down the cease speed won't make a difference.

Remember, though, that you cannot set a shutter speed faster than the camera's flash sync fleetness or the picture will be unevenly exposed. There are some camera/flashgun combinations that will sync at every shutter speed but these are most of the time top-end models. Check your instruction manual if you are unsure what is the correct flash sync speed.

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Photo by Joshua Waller 


What Blaze?

Your camera's built-in flash can work fine for fill-in but you can do more using a separate flash used off camera. Models are present from your camera brand as well as independent names. By using off camera flash you can move it around the scene to help evenly lambaste your shot. Off camera camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or flash used in dark conditions also has the advantage  of avoiding red eye. If needs be you can change the strength of your hasten with flash exposure compensation if you're using the camera's built-in flash or one on your hot-shoe.

To maintain full flash automation when the flashgun is acclimatized off camera you will need a dedicated cord, although some camera/flashgun combination offer wireless flash metering control. Wireless oversee can work fine but can struggle in bright daylight so you need to check how your DSLR performs before doing an important shoot.

Do be careful when putting fill flash as it can make your portrait shots look a little artificial. Set a minus value on the flash exposure compensation control or change into down the output of the flashgun. It's important to remember that less is more and use fill flash to subtly lift your portraits.  


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About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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