Photography Tips: Turn Off The Flash

Photography Tips: Turn Off The Flash

Hi and welcome to the first in a series of photography tips presented by

It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have, whether you have a phone camera or an expensive professional camera, the goal of photography is the same: take an impressive photo which makes a statement.  Sometimes your statement is something as simple as: this is my best friend Mary and I want my photo to look as great as she does.  You focus your shot, the flash goes off, and you look at your result.  Especially if you’re a beginning photographer, you might see some disappointing results.  In the case of Mary, she might have those dreaded red devil eyes.  Her skin might also looked washed out, or overly red.

When you look at a photo that’s disappointing, don’t take it personally.  Every professional photographer will tell you they take hundreds of photos during a single photo-shoot, before they settle on the one shot they feel is deserving of release.

Perform a series of diagnostics.  Your camera is literally a computer; not only do you have to recognize your camera will only do what you tell it do it to do, you have to compensate and put some humanity back into your handheld machine.

Let’s go back and look at Mary.  Since you used a flash, it’s going to interfere with the existing light within the scene.  As a result, you’ll have errors with glare and possibly having too much light.  Even though some modern cameras have “red-eye reduction” features, you’re still having to deal with changes in skin tone and washing out the person.  It’s best to just turn off the flash and move your subject to an area where there is even natural light.  If you can’t move the subject, move yourself — work the shot by finding the best angle and of course, take lots of photos.  This is the digital age and you’re not going to waste any film.

For a really great in-depth book on beginning photography and photography tips, I recommend going to and taking Ben Long’s Introduction to Photography or reading his book, Complete Digital Photography.




Posted on October 20, 2012 in Personal

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About the Author

James Cain is a Saint Louis digital photographer. His studio, has been active for more than ten years; he's shown works of art at St. Louis Union Station and has participated in other notable art shows. Currently, he writes informative photography articles for publication and is an active member of the local art community.

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