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Fill flash

From: Foundations of Photography: Exposure

Video: Fill flash

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.

Fill flash

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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This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Photography: Exposure
Foundations of Photography: Exposure

64 video lessons · 88977 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 8m 45s
    1. Welcome
      1m 57s
    2. What is exposure?
      4m 8s
    3. A word about camera brands
      2m 40s
  2. 9m 31s
    1. What is a camera?
      2m 52s
    2. The shutter
      3m 53s
    3. The aperture
      1m 33s
    4. Exposure defined
      1m 13s
  3. 13m 50s
    1. Modes
      2m 7s
    2. Pressing the shutter button
      2m 54s
    3. Autofocus
      5m 22s
    4. Light metering
      2m 3s
    5. White balance
      1m 24s
  4. 29m 26s
    1. Shooting sharp images
      1m 58s
    2. Noting shutter speed
      4m 3s
    3. Taking control of shutter speed
      1m 30s
    4. Stop defined
      2m 50s
    5. Shutter priority mode
      4m 34s
    6. Exercise: Shutter speed
      40s
    7. Reciprocity
      3m 13s
    8. Controlling motion
      7m 8s
    9. Shutter speed increments
      2m 21s
    10. Exercise: Go work with shutter speed
      1m 9s
  5. 26m 2s
    1. Depth of field
      1m 53s
    2. How aperture is measured
      2m 42s
    3. Aperture priority mode
      4m 57s
    4. Lens speed
      53s
    5. Shooting deep depth of field
      3m 53s
    6. Shooting shallow depth of field
      2m 50s
    7. The depth-of-field preview button
      4m 24s
    8. How shallow should you be?
      2m 47s
    9. Exercise: Go work with aperture
      1m 43s
  6. 16m 26s
    1. ISO: The third exposure parameter
      6m 27s
    2. Assessing your camera's high ISO
      5m 32s
    3. Shooting in low light
      3m 32s
    4. Exercise: Shooting in low light
      55s
  7. 14m 30s
    1. White balance controls
      5m 37s
    2. Adjusting white balance manually
      4m 25s
    3. Shooting raw
      4m 28s
  8. 6m 3s
    1. How light meters work
      1m 47s
    2. Why are there different modes?
      4m 16s
  9. 33m 58s
    1. Exposure compensation
      4m 0s
    2. Intentional overexposure
      2m 40s
    3. Intentional underexposure
      1m 42s
    4. Controlling tone
      2m 31s
    5. The histogram
      10m 4s
    6. Real-world histograms
      5m 49s
    7. Tone and color
      2m 16s
    8. Auto exposure bracketing
      3m 57s
    9. Exercise: Go work with exposure compensation
      59s
  10. 12m 56s
    1. Dynamic range
      2m 24s
    2. Exposing for highlights
      4m 15s
    3. Fill flash
      3m 11s
    4. Three solutions to the same problem
      3m 6s
  11. 12m 26s
    1. Manual mode
      2m 6s
    2. Manual mode and light meters
      4m 52s
    3. Manual exposure exercise
      5m 28s
  12. 12m 1s
    1. Custom modes and A-DEP
      1m 39s
    2. Program shift
      3m 52s
    3. Exposure compensation with program shift
      1m 58s
    4. An exercise in reciprocity
      53s
    5. Scene modes and in-camera processing
      3m 39s
  13. 8m 15s
    1. Shooting with post production in mind
      3m 45s
    2. Exposure strategy
      3m 51s
    3. Goodbye
      39s

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