When and how to use your flash

Follow our tips to start using your flash correctly and taking some great shots.

Don't believe the adverts - there isn't a camera out there that's truly comfortable with poor lighting. But the bright sparks at PCA Towers have some tips to help you take smart snaps in the gloomiest of conditions. Follow our tips to start using your flash correctly and taking some great shots.

1. To get the best from the light that's available you should consider whether the flash will be a help or a hindrance. The lightning symbol on your camera indicates the flash. In most cases, you can change the flash setup by repeatedly pressing the flash button to cycle through various options.

s1

Step 1

2. To capture action in low light using a flash, anticipate where the action will take place and pre-focus by pressing the shot button halfway. This will speed up the camera's reaction to the shot and reduce shutter lag. Also remember to keep your subject within your flash's range (usually about 5m).

s2

Step 2

3. Another option is to turn off your flash and increase the exposure. Your camera will compensate by keeping your shutter open for longer, allowing more light into the sensor. This takes a bit of trial and error and will also increase the amount of blurring, but the more faithful reproduction you'll get will be worth the trouble.

s3

Step 3 - Shutter too fast; perfect; shutter too slow

4. Blur is unavoidable if you choose not to use the flash in low-light situations. However, there are different types of blurring. Motion blur (the movement of your subject) can sometimes improve a shot. Camera shake, on the other hand, will ruin it. Make sure your camera is on a very stable surface.

s4

Step 4

5. If your camera is on auto, there will be occasions when the flash doesn't fire, even though the lighting is poor. This may be because your subject is standing in front of a source of light, such as the sky. In such cases you need to force the flash, which will light the underexposed areas of your subject.

s5

Step 5

6. Anti-red-eye flash settings are rarely a total success and can be distinctly annoying. So try to do without them. Shoot at an angle to your subject so that the flash doesn't bounce back into the lens. Alternatively, let the editing software on your camera or PC deal with the problem later.

s6

Step 6 - Red-eye: before and after

7. White-balance settings can make a huge difference indoors. Auto white balance is getting better on some cameras but, as you'll usually shoot for a while in the same lighting, adjusting it yourself is usually worth the effort. 'Fluorescent' is self-explanatory; 'incandescent/tungsten' refers to normal household bulbs.

s7

Step 7 - Manual and automatic white balance

8. Nothing ruins low-light photos more than reflective glare from the flash. Always be aware of your surroundings and try to avoid using the flash when your camera is pointing directly at a reflective surface, such as a window or mirror. And if you can't move your subject, move yourself.

s8

Step 8

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Nolan

PC Advisor (UK)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?