Fill flash

13th October 2019

Part of the course is to look at Martin Parr’s images with use of fill flash.

This link takes you to an easy description of the use of fill-flash in photography. The image below which compares with and without flash also comes from the same website article which is called ‘How to Use Fill Flash,’ and is found on the website expert photography.com.

Without flash ‘v’ with flash

I have been reading some of my technical books as well as online articles about fill flash, bizarrely many of them discuss cameras with built in flash and not as an optional extra.

I have always thought that flash was for those dark shots in house or outside but it has never crossed my mind that it is beneficial to use fill flash in light and daytime shots to highlight dark areas in the picture plane. We did not cover flash at all back in the 80’s during my O’level studies, only studio lighting. I have also mentioned in previous posts that I have never used flash or have owned one until now and the only reason I bought it was because of the course requirements. With my new research I have realised what a complete arse I was not to have ever researched the use of flash and to look at images that use flash. I know I am not a photographer as such but for someone who uses a camera in the name of creative art – again I am left shamed! The wasted years is all I can now keep thinking, so I had better make up for them!

Using flash in daylight reduces the harsh shadow areas and I have found boosts colour also. Fill-in flash is used to fill parts of the image with extra light. This can be to lighten those dark areas to bring back colour and details or it can be used creativity like Martin Parr. Fill flash is also used to bring out the subject which is lost against a brighter background as in the photograph above.

The photograph below comes from an amazing website Popular Photography/popphoto.com – and the article – 21 tips for better flash photography These simple lighting tips and techniques will help you take your lighting to the next level, it is very good for techniques and explanations of different ways of using flash. The images they have shown, for me, are outstanding.

Using a Canon Speedlite 540 EX high on a tripod, Gary Williamson made these sunflowers pop against a dark sunset.Gary Williamson Website popphoto.com

Advance flash operation – Lumix G Experience

To further my research I looked at my camera manufacturers website to read their information on fill in flash, lumixgexperience.panasonic.co.uk for my camera series. Having never used a flash before it had turned out to be a great teaching aid on external flashguns.

From reading this information I have learnt how to find the flash within the menu – yes I know that is basic, but I am an absolute beginner when it comes to flash. I have also found out about ‘off’ camera flash so I have more control over where the light is going to be directed.

The article covers: Advanced flash operation, Why might you need more power? Using external flashguns, Off-camera flash, Wireless and multiple flashguns, Flash synchronisation and Advanced flash techniques.

For my GH5 I have purchased a Godox TTL (TT3500) and a Godox TTL Wireless Flash trigger. I purchased these after much research from reviews, articles and photographers online chat forums connected with flash accessories etc… for Lumix products, I also watched YouTube videos that compared flash units. A link to the YouTube videos I watched on YouTube is here. An added bonus was that the purchase price is much cheaper than a Panasonic Lumix brand and it also has better reviews believe it or not. The website for Godox is found here.

I am finding many of the articles are suggesting using colour filters on the flash to aid the colour set up of the shot. One photographer said you should match the colour of the flash to the ambient colour that you are shooting and another puts a slightly orange piece of plastic film over his to give a warmer look as he finds flash sometimes gives a cooler blue image and often, for example if you are shooting portraits against a sunset the people have a blue glow to their skin. Others talk about setting the correct iso etc… for the flash, so I have much to learn and practice, but again this is what I love – research, learning and new skills!!

This article from shutterstoppers.com has a brilliant step-by-step guide and excellent tips as well.


29th October 2019

My first go at using flash.

I really enjoyed my shoot today and have learnt quite a lot including underexposing to improve the quantity of light that is needed for the subject.

The images on the left are those without flash and those on the right are with flash.

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