Mar 05

“To Flash or Not to Flash… That is the Question”: Use Flash Outside in the Sun?

Flash Outside in the Sun

Though some may think I have a few screws loose popping my flash out in full sunny weather, there are good reasons to do so.  Flash lightens shadows and adds detail to darker areas, while preserving highlights. This is technique is called “Fill Flash”.

Flash: Sun and ShadowsTwo shots were taken “back to back”.  In the first picture you can see the result of the the most common “look” of using a camera without using its flash. The details of the face are too hidden in the shadows. Using a light fill-in flash brings out the features of the faces.  The only time I do not use the flash is with direct sunlight where there are no shadows covering the facial area.

The flash I use is not an on-camera flash, but a separate flash that I hold off-camera/ off to the side. This allows me to move that light source in many positions to altar the direction I want the light to shine on people.  When possible, I will bounce that beam of light from my flash off of ceilings, walls, backs of people if necessary. :-) . I will do a separate post on that later.

There are cameras that will allow you to have more control over your flash.  Check the manual to find out how to

force the flash to fire while in automatic mode.

flash Sun shadows-2

Not only did the flash fill in the Bride, but also those behind the groomsman holding the “Click-n-Flip”.

flash Sun shadows-3


Some cameras have a symbol that tells you  you have the ‘fill flash’ option.  In this case, you should get more power output from it.  There are other cameras that let you personally control the flash “output” in increments…that is your best option….as is shooting in manual mode if you are feeling especially daring.
But, there are times where I let the shadows do their job. Especially in the evenings with the setting sun dancing across moments in time…..

flash Sun shadows-4

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