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Chapter 4. How to Use Your Flash

Chapter 4. How to Use Your Flash

How to Use the Little Square Strobe in Your Camera to Make Everything Look Better

If it weren't for the sun, a lot of things would be different on the planet. Ignoring the point that life wouldn't have sprung up at all without the warming rays of our nearby star, things here would be very dark. We'd all walk around with flashlights, squinting our eyes trying to figure out where exactly did I leave the box of cereal? while we stubbed our toes on things left lying on the floor. It would be a very strange place indeed.

But more important, our photos would look horrible. Every shot would look like the previous one—a big black square of nothing. “This is a picture of my Aunt Gladys,” you'd say, holding up a big black print, “in her house in Maine” while people rolled their eyes (you wouldn't be able to tell) and yawned in boredom.

So it's lucky for photographers that we have a blazing ball of fire perched a few planets down the street. The sun provides brilliant illumination for our photographs. It turns long fields of grass into stunning vistas, sunrises into virtual fireworks, and the smile on a child's face into a work of art.

Sure, you've got me on a technicality—the sun's not out at night. And what's more, there are some places we take pictures where the “sun don't shine,” to borrow a phrase. You're exactly right, which is why it's so very important to understand how to use your camera's flash to make every picture look like it's lit by the rays of the sun (Figures 4.1a and 4.1b).

Figure 4.1A. Sometimes the sun doesn't provide enough illumination, or it provides it from the wrong angle.


Figure 4.1B. That's when knowing how to use the flash on your camera will help you make your photos better.


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