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Arriving at the best exposure for a photo is part science and part art. In Foundations of Photography: Exposure, Ben Long helps photographers expand their artistic options by giving them a deep understanding of shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and all other critical exposure practices. This course covers the basic exposure controls provided by all digital SLR cameras, as well as most advanced point-and-shoot models. Learn how to master a camera's metering modes, how to use exposure compensation and bracketing, and much more. By the end of the course, you'll know how to develop an "exposure strategy" that will allow you to effectively employ your exposure knowledge in any shooting situation.
We're going to take a break for a minute from dynamic range to discuss something that's kind of loosely related to dynamic range. We have been seeing how your eye can see a tremendous range of dark to light, wider than what your camera can see. And we've been talking about how sometimes you have to choose. You have to choose to expose for the shadows or choose to expose for the highlights. There are other times when you're going to run into situations where your shot has extreme highlight and extreme shadow in it, and you don't want the shadow. You just-- you don't what the flies either-- but you don't want the shadows, you just want the highlights. So what we're going to talk about now is something called fill flash.
Now that may come as a bit of a surprise to you because as you can probably tell, I'm standing in full-on, bright daylight. And most people think that flash is something that you use at night. And flash does have its uses at night, but you might be very surprised to find that you're going to using your flash more in daylight than at night. And here is why. I'm going to take a portrait here without my flash. And my subject here is up against a really bright background, and his face is partly in shadow. So what I get when I take the shot is an image of his face largely plunged into shadow, with a big bright highlight on the other side.
I would like to have pretty even exposure across his face. I'd like to get rid of that shadow. So I'm going to just pop up the flash on my camera. It's all set in its default mode. I'm shooting in program mode right now. And now when I take the shot, you could see that the flash fills in all that shadow on the other side of his face, giving a very even exposure. I can simply see his face much more clearly, and it looks fairly natural. It doesn't look like a flash shot. He doesn't have bright garish tones in him. This is a very, very common use of fill flash.
When you get out in daylight don't forget to check for those shadows that might obscure certain details. This type of composition is not the only time that you will fill flash. There are other occasions. So here is another example. I've a model here wearing a hat. Now, this isn't a really high- dynamic-range situation, but it an uneven- exposure situation. The hat is casting a shadow onto her face, and part of her face is still in sunlight. I can use my fill flash to even out that exposure and brighten up that shadow underneath her hat and put detail back in her eyes.
So let's take a look at what it looks like if I shoot without the flash. I'm in program mode. Very simple. And here is our shot. Exposure is not bad, but there is a pronounced shadow on her eyes and on her face. I'm going to pop up of my flash, still in program mode, and here we go again, and here is the result. And as you can see, we've got much better fill on her eyes and generally overall even exposure. This is the same trick you're going to want to use if someone's standing under a tree, under an eave; anything that's casting a shadow on their face where the rest of their body is in sunlight, you just want to even all that out.
So again, flash is not something that you only use in low light or at night. It has its uses there, but you might find that more often than not you're mostly using your flash in the daytime to even out exposure. So don't think of flash as a low-light- only thing. Don't forget to use it even in bright situations.
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