Friday Photo Tip – Flash, It’s Not Just For Indoors

by Paul Gowder on October 15th, 2010

Just the other day someone emailed me a photo of their child’s sports team and asked if I could fix it in PhotoShop. The photo was taken in the middle of the day, and partially under a tree. The boys were facing the sun. So not only were some of them squinting from the bright light, but other faces were shaded by the tree branches. It wasn’t fixable! But this could have been avoided by a couple of easy steps.

Use your flash! Flash isn’t just for indoor shots. Anytime you need to add a bit of light to the subject, think about using your flash.

In bright sunlight is actually a great time for flash. During the middle of the day when the sun is high, the light can create dark shadows around the eyes and under the chin. By directing light from your flash at your subject you can reduce those shadows!

Take a look at this example.

The photo above I took last weekend with an iPhone at 11:30am. Even with their sunglasses on, you can see the shadows that are being cast across their faces.

The photo above was taken right before the iPhone photo using a flash. While there are still some shadows, their faces are much better illuminated.

Here’s another example:

In this photo we were shooting late in the day. The sun was going down, and we were down a hill by the river. The hill, trees, and building were blocking some of the sunlight from reaching us. Without a flash in this photo, the subject’s face would have been very dark. Here adding flash lights up her face. Your eye is always drawn to the brightest spot on a photo. By using the flash, we cause you to be drawn to her face.

Here is one easy setup to get better light on your subjects in bright sun. Position your subject with the sun behind them and then use your flash.

Flash – Not just for indoors!

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