Flash Photography: 7 Use Cases and Tips

A lot of beginner photographers make the mistake of assuming that a flash is used to add light when shooting in conditions where the light is insufficient. Well, this is only partially true. In fact, you can use flash even in situations where there’s enough natural light. Using a flash allows you to add a certain “pop” to your image that is not possible when only using natural light. In this context, today we have professional wedding and portrait photographer Vanessa Joy with Adorama who shares seven tips on how you can use flash to take better images:

“Flash is not just about adding more light to your photo. It’s about molding the light to your photo.”

A common mistake a lot of beginner photographers make is to turn the flash head directly towards the subject. This has a lot of undesired effects. It creates unflattering hotspots and harsh shadows, and makes the image appear unnatural. As Joy demonstrates in the video, there are a lot of ways you can overcome this.

The idea is to think of a way to make the light source as big as possible. Joy shares a ton of ways you can do that. Starting from the bare minimum, you can use the small diffusion cover that a speedlight comes with. Or, you can also use a small white card to bounce the light indirectly toward the subject. For better results, use a reflector to bounce the flash towards the subject. You’ll instantly see how much better the images come out.

In cases where you need to use flash indoors, the task is even easier. Just look for neutral-colored walls or ceilings and turn your flash head in that direction. The entire wall or ceiling acts as a huge light source and bounces off soft light, resulting in flattering images.

Joy also shares some interesting ways you can introduce colors to your images using flash and gels. And if you’re someone who loves to take portraits during golden hours, be sure to watch till the end. You’ll get to see how you can create your own golden sun using flash and gels.

How do you like to use flash for your portrait photography sessions?

For further training: The Electronic Flash Photography Guide

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