Ahh, the hated flash. Photographers seem to hate this and regard it as you would other f-words. I mostly hate it too and try to avoid it whenever possible. But the lesson gave a few helpful tips on how to use it if you must use it, as well as a few scenarios where you might not think to use it but it can enhance your photo.

The first challenge I did was to use the flash to eliminate dark shadows on a human face on a bright day. My subject (hmm… I could get used to calling him that… badum chh) helped me out here, and stood at an angle which cast shadows over half of his body.

Without flash:

Shutter 1/100; Aperture f/8.0; ISO 200; Flash Off

Although we’re in bright sunlight, here is the photo with the flash filling in the shadows:

Shutter 1/200; Aperture f/5.6; ISO 200; Flash On

This might be useful if you don’t have control over what angle of the sun you want your subject (for instance, if there’s a really cool waterfall behind your subject that you can’t conveniently move to a more flattering light).

I’m still not totally sold on the flash (it just has a weird look to it) but I can see how if you were taking a photo where you really needed everyone’s faces to be well-lit, it would be useful.

The other exercise I did was to use the fill flash to combat backlighting on a shadowed subject. I put my subject (Blanche) in the shade with a bright sunny backdrop behind her. (I think I probably could have found a better situation to illustrate this, but I’ll show you the pictures anyway.)

Without flash:

Shutter 1/250; Aperture 5.0; ISO 200 Flash Off

With flash:

Shutter 1/200; Aperture 5.0; ISO 200; Flash On

I encourage you to download the lesson, because they give a lot of helpful tips on how to use flash and the situations in which flash really can improve (gasp!) your photos.