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