Make Flash Look Natural

Most of us begin using our cameras on automatic and this means that the flash goes off by itself in darker conditions. Usually we don't like the harsh, cold light that comes from the built-in flash. But this always-available accessory can improve your photos with a little help from you.

Cynthia at Nine Pipes Wildlife Refuge, Montana
1/200 sec, f/5, ISO 100, built-in flash -1

By default most cameras are set up to expose the closest subject properly, regardless of any other light in the scene. This often makes your flash pictures look artificial, because the light from the flash is trying to be the only light source.

If instead you reduce the amount of light coming from the flash, it blends in better with the light already in the scene. Changing the output from the flash is called Flash Compensation. If you reduce the flash to -1 or -2 from its standard setting, it won't appear so overpowering and you'll like the result better.

Steve in front of the Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada
4 sec, f/8, ISO 100, built-in flash -1

You can learn more about flash compensation and other techniques in Better Photos with Built-in Flash at the Lifelong Learning Center in Missoula, Montana, on Saturday, March 16, 2019. Click here to register.