Forcing the flash to fire

The solution to the situation in Figure 3-9 is to force the flash ona very common trick. If you're close enough to the subject, then the flash provides fill light to balance the subject's exposure with that of the surrounding background, as you can see in the bottom photo. (If you're using your on-camera flash, stand within about eight feet of the subject so you can get enough flash for a proper exposure.) The fill-in flash can dramatically improve outdoor portraits. It eliminates the silhouette effect when your subject is standing in front of a bright background and frontal light is very flattering. It softens smile lines and wrinkles, and it puts a nice twinkle in the subject's eyes.

How do you take your flash off auto mode? Most cameras offer a couple of different flash settings. Look for the icon that represents a lightning bolt with an arrow tip on the endthe universal icon for electronic flash. Generally, if you push the button next to this icon, it cycles through the flash modes on your camera. These modes usually include auto flash (no icon), red-eye reduction (eyeball icon), no flash (universal "circle with a diagonal line through it" icon) and forced flash (standalone lightning bolt icon). For a fill-in flash, use the forced flash mode. (In full automatic mode, by the way, you may not be allowed to change the flash mode. Try switching into Portrait mode first.)

Figure 3-9. Bright backgrounds often fool the digital camera's exposure meter. The camera may expose the background properly, but throw your subject into darkness. The solution is right there in the camerathe fill-in or forced flash feature. Look for a single lightning bolt in your camera's mode options.

Note: If you're that rare digital photographer who owns an external flash attachment, use t in situations where you need a fill-in flash. Its more powerful strobe illuminates the subject better and provides a more flexible working distance. An external flash, on a cord, is also the only way to avoid glare from eyeglasses. Raise it a couple of feet above the camera to minimize the reflection of the flash in the lenses. (See the box in Section 3.2.3.3 for more details.)

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Compared to film cameras, digital cameras are easy to use, fun and extremely versatile. Every day there’s more features being designed. Whether you have the cheapest model or a high end model, digital cameras can do an endless number of things. Let’s look at how to get the most out of your digital camera.

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