Many newbie photographers have real problem when it comes to utilizing flash outside to create a subtle ‘fill-in ‘ flash effect. The most common mistake is by utilising too much power in the flash which could suppress the natural light and produce a particularly synthesised look to the photograph. If you leave your camera on program mode the inclination of the on-camera exposure meter is to see the scene as ‘dark ‘ and set the flash to high power with a fast shutter speed and medium sized aperture. The result may be acceptable as a party snapshot but is not satisfactory for a professional portrait.
There are many things of importance here and it’s possible put together a straightforward step by step guide which will allow anyone to form stunning portraits.
The first thing to recognise is that there are 2 elements in the image which are receiving light from 2 different light sources. The 1st is the background which is lit from background light. This may be sunlight outside or possible artificial light from within a room. The second part is your subject which, being nearer to you, will receive some illumination from the background light but most light will come from the flashgun. Both these elements have to be considered independently for a good picture to be created.
We will make the assumption that the flash gun is positioned ‘off-camera ‘, though this is not a prerequisite for this technique to work.
First things first we want to set the exposure for the background. Make sure that the flash gun is turned off and use your manual exposure reading to create an exposure to supply a pleasing background effect. This may involve increasing the ISO setting, lowering the shutter speed and employing a larger aperture to permit more light into the camera.
Second turn the flash on and set it to manual. Experiment with different settings till subject is properly exposed.
In this manner you are using 2 different light sources and techniques of control. The camera exposure is being set for the background and the flash for the foreground.
With a little experimentation you will be producing wonderful exposures that any professional wedding photographer would be proud of.
Pixcellence Wedding Photography are a grouping of professional photographers who concentrate on Asian Wedding Photography in the UK. They run coaching courses to help photographers improve their photographic talents.