Flash Photography: You're Doing It Wrong

Everyone with a smartphone has the ability to take pictures, but just because you have a camera doesn’t mean that you are now a talented photographer. Learning how to take great photos requires a great deal of studying and practice. There are different settings for different types of pictures, and there are tricks and tips that can help you take the best possible photos, whether with your smartphone or a real camera.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when taking pictures is misusing their flash. Most people have been taught that you use a flash when inside and you don’t use a flash when outside. Unfortunately, this information is incorrect. The following are seven ways that you’re incorrectly using your flash.

Mistake #1: Using flash for distant objects.

Sometimes you try to capture a photo of an object in the distance, and this is perfectly fine. However, if you try to use your flash during that shot, it won’t turn out right. First, your flash is only designed to travel a certain distance, which means that there is no possible way your flash is going to reach your desired subject. Plus, if there are other lights (or other camera flashes) going off at the same time, you’ll end up creating a blurry photo. When you’re taking pictures of objects in the distance, turn off your flash and instead try to increase your sensitivity settings.

Mistake #2: Using flash to photograph light.

There are times when you’ll want to take pictures of objects that are illuminated, such as Christmas trees or decorations. Most people turn their flash on when taking pictures of these objects because they assume they’re too dark, but doing so will make the lights seem blurry. When taking pictures of lights, it’s important to turn the flash off. You’ll receive enough light from the lights themselves, and they will give more definition to your photo.

Mistake #3: Using flash on people.

When you’re taking a picture of someone inside, most people assume they need the flash. However, if you use your flash on someone while inside, it’s likely that your subject is going to look washed out. Instead of using a flash on someone, use the natural lights in the area instead and turn the flash off.

Mistake #4: Using flash indoors.

Almost everyone turns their flash on when taking pictures inside because they assume there’s not enough natural light. However, when you use your flash indoors, it washes out your subject and makes it look flat. Instead, use the natural light inside for your photos and turn the flash off. Your photos will have more color and they will also have more dimension.

Mistake #5: Not using flash when outside.

Yes, the sun provides natural light when outside, but it’s not enough. In fact, the sun will often produce unsightly shadows in your photos, which is why it’s important to use flash when photographing outside. The flash will add an extra layer of light to your photos and will work with the natural light to create balance in your photos. You’ll eliminate any harsh shadows, and you’ll create photos with much more definition.

Mistake #6: Using flash on glass object.

If you use your flash when photographing a glass object (or against a glass object), you’re going to create an unsightly burst of light in your photo. Whether you’re trying to take pictures of fish at the aquarium or a nice photograph of that beautiful wine glass, it’s important that you turn the flash off for the best results.

Mistake #7: Not using your flash.

Your flash is there for a reason, so it’s important to use it when appropriate. Some photographers avoid using their flash because they don’t understand how to use it properly, and not using flash when you should will result in horrible photos. Be sure to learn tips and tricks for using your flash, and don’t be afraid to use it.

About the Author

Terri Walker is a freelance writer, a podcast enthusiast and a busy wife and mother. Rather than listening to talk-radio, Terri loads her iphone with her favorite podcasts for convenient listening while on the go.