PART 3 – FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY OUTDOORS

Using flash outdoors is a great idea. Photo courtesy of Shutterbug.

AMBIENT LIGHT PLUS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY MAKES FOR A BETTER PHOTO:

By using the flash, I’m able to highlight the shadow areas and avoid shadows under the subject’s eyebrows, thus making it a better photo than it would have been without flash. But this does not mean that the image will turn up flat. Make sure you get your reading right.

Photo by A&A Photography; ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/200-second exposure.

LET’S TRY 2 EXAMPLES OF HOW TO DO THIS:

1. Say you’re taking photos of a couple in park under shade with a sunlit background:

  • Shoot in manual mode, because you need to be in control of your exposure metering for accuracy and consistency.
  • Meter for the ambient light, get your exposure right, turn off your flash, and take a test shot. With the correct exposure you will get a perfect natural surroundings but the wedding couple will be little underexposed or have some shadows around their faces.
  • Now turn on your flash and adjust your flash to TTL-BL mode which balances flash automatically with ambient light (as I’m using Nikon). Adjust your flash compensation. Start from 0 EV compensation and slowly go up until plus 1.7 EV. How much is enough? There is no one correct answer to that as it depends how much flash you need to use as a fill in flash. In this example you surely need a stronger fill-flash to match the sunlit background.

2. Say you are taking photos of the bride outdoors:

  • Again always shoot in manual mode.
  • Meter correctly for the available light.
  • Adjust your flash to TTL-BL mode. As for outdoors, I usually start from -1.3 EV because Nikon Speedlights on TTL-BL mode balance flash automatically with ambient light and I will always shoot with flash firing straight on. The real idea is to use the flash as a fill-light only and to lift the shadows.
Photo by Dennis van Zuijlekom; ISO 50, f/2.8, 1/200-second exposure.

The above two examples tell you that by just adding flash with the correct exposure set by reading the ambient light. Together with the right amount of flash value, you will have a perfect and balance natural looking image. Who says flash will look unnatural and spoil the ambient light?

WATCH THIS VIDEO TO HELP UNDERSTANDING OF FLASH OUTDOORS:

This is the best explanation of flash photography being used outdoors.

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Contributors to this blog today:

  • Affendy Ahmad.
  • Mike Smith

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