Every flash has a certain amount of power to add light to your images so it’s important to know what that amount is for the camera you are using.
To find out, we zap back to our most trusted piece of equipment…our manual! That’s right. Everything you need to know about your camera is there. You did read your manual cover to cover when you bought your camera didn’t you?
Here’s the deal. Because there are so many cameras on the market today it would be impossible to know the specifics for your camera flash without checking your manual. What you need to find is the correct flash-to-subject distance range for your camera at each ISO setting.
Good. Now as long as you stay within the distance range (not too close or too far), your photos will be correctly exposed. The most common cause of failure when taking flash pictures is working outside the power range of the flash, so do the homework and pace out the distances for each ISO setting you commonly use. That way, if the chart says the flash range is between 6 to 15 feet with your ISO set at 100, you’ll be ready when a photo op occurs because you’ll have a good idea of the distance you need to maintain.
As always, it’s much easier to explore the concept with a photograph, so here goes.
In the photo below, I was too far outside the range of my flash, so the exposure is too dark.
I had to move closer…
Most cameras, even a phone camera, will give you the option of turning on the flash and most photographs will be helped by the pop your flash can add. I’m not talking about inside photography, but outside, where the light seems perfectly fine. Here’s a good example…look how much better the second photo is when I added some flash to the exposure.
Yes! Much better. Plus I did some post editing and cropped this a bit because we always want to move in close to give our viewers a sense of being right there.
Another area where flash can really help, is on a sunny day with high overhead sun falling on your subjects. (High sun? Un-oh. Bad ju-ju.)
There are harsh shadows here from the high sun, but we can set our flash to even out the exposure by throwing light into the shadow areas. (Check your manual or read my book!)
Give it a try and see what your flash can do.