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Compact, point-and-shoot cameras are convenient, travel-ready, and inexpensive. They're also more capable—and complex—than ever. In Getting Pro Results from a Compact Camera, photographer Derrick Story shows how to use a compact camera to take photos that rival those of far more expensive cameras. Derrick shows how to get the most out the camera's lens as you shoot wide-angle, telephoto, and even macro shots. Derrick also discusses the camera's exposure system and clarifies the differences among ISO settings and scene modes. He also shows how to get the best pictures in a variety of lighting conditions, including making judicious use of the flash to supplement existing light.
Well, here are the shots from our fill flash shoot with Samara and there is quite a difference, as you can tell right away. So the one here is when the flash is in Auto Mode, which means it doesn't go off because there is lots of light, and that's the way the flash works obviously. When there is lots of light, it doesn't go off, and when the lights go down, it does go on. So we are in very bright light here, and obviously the flash is not going to go on, and here's a kind of shot that we can expect in that sort of lighting. We have a harsh light coming in from the side here.
It's very bright and we are in shadow over here and then we have another shadow created by the knit cap here. The other thing that we have is we have more skin texture than we do in the fill flash shot, because light coming from the side enhances texture, and you can really see that down here. Now, all we did over here was turn on the fill flash. We just went to our Flash menu, and went to Flash On, and you can see quite a difference. We are more balanced here on the two sides. We have less texture.
The skin is smoother. And we have a nice little twinkle in the eye, complete with a catch light from the flash itself. So I am not saying that one is better than the other, but they are certainly different, and in certain situations, I know you are going to prefer one style to the other. Now, one other note, you notice that the background is pretty much the same on both shots. That's because the camera can really handle that. It understands the difference between the background and what's within flash range. Anything within range, about 8 feet or so, is going to get illumination from the flash.
Everything else just goes the way it would before. So you don't have to worry about the background. Just really focus on what's in flash range, make your decision on the spot, make sure you practice first, and then go from there.
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