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The flash on your camera has a range of approximately 10 to 12 feet. If you're standing in a dark scene using your flash, that means that the only things in your scene that are going to have any illumination are the things within that 10 to 12 foot wide circle of light that your flash creates. So if you take a picture of someone, they'll be lit up by the flash, but the background outside of that circle will be plunged into darkness. This is because the camera is using Exposure Settings that are correct for the area that is covered by the flash, but which are under-exposing all of the stuff in the background and leaving it completely black.
Night Portrait Scene mode combines your camera's flash with a longer shutter speed. The flash exposes the foreground, while the long exposure properly exposes the background, so that it becomes visible. Night Portrait Scene mode is all the way over here, almost at this end of the mode Dial. It's this little icon here of a little person with a star over their shoulder. As with other Scene modes, I've got controls of Ambience, and Drive mode, and all of those things. The important thing to know about Night Portrait Scene mode is that when I half press the shutter button, if the camera thinks that the flash is necessary, it will pop it up just like it does in Auto mode.
It's automatically going to use a long exposure to properly expose the background. As with Red-eye Reduction Flash, when you're using Night Portrait Scene mode, it's very important to tell your subject not to move until you're finished. Often they'll move as soon as the flash fires, and then they will be kind of ghosty because of the slow shutter speed that will have all those blur around them. Similarly, you need to remember to think of this as a slow shutter speed shot. So you need to work extra hard to hold the camera steady, and to squeeze the shutter button carefully and generally be sure not to introduce camera shake during the long exposure.
Finally, note that there will be color differences between the flash illuminated foreground and the longer exposed background. This is because the camera will choose a white balance that's appropriate for the flash, typically leaving the background looking very red. But this is still better than not having a background at all.
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