Using a SLR’s Built-in Flash as Fill

Starting today I’m suspending my Model Monday posts because some of you have told me you don’t like them. In it’s place, I’ve borrowed a page from the Mickey Mouse Club and for the foreseeable future Mondays will be Anything Can Happen Day. If enough of you send me e-mail through the Contact section of the website telling me you miss Model Mondays I’ll bring the feature back, otherwise it’s adios. And today my subject for the portrait is my favorite model, my wife Mary. Update: You asked for it you got it: Model Monday’s are back starting on 11/14/11.

The best way to use your digital SLR’s built-in flash for fill either indoors or outdoors is when there’s some ambient light that will serve as fill for harsh shadows. This additional ambient light helps separate your subject from the background and focuses the viewer’s attention on the subject. In fact when you have too much ambient light indoors flash is the best way to control contrast and add dimensionality to the photograph.

The downside of built-in flash is that because the flash is so close to the lens you’ll often get a shadow if you subject is close to a wall. If you see this on your camera’s preview screen try to move your subject away from the wall as much as possible to minimize or eliminate the shadow.

Tip: A rule of thumb when moving your subject away from the wall a distance equal to their height, all shadows will fall behind them. Also the shadow will move when you change from horizontal to vertical shots because the built-in flash changes its location too.

Author: Joe Farace

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