Balancing Flash Output


It happens often that while using flash the subject gets blown out and the background becomes dark. How do I ensure that the flash does not overpower the ambient lighting?
Nikita Bose, Kolkata, via email

The use of flash in the default automatic mode of the camera tends to give a harsh burst of light that kills any ambient light that may be there. The subject often gets blown out, and the white light overpowers any coloured or mixed lighting that may be there in the scene. To overcome this problem, you can try a few options. Use a Flash Exposure Compensation of – 1EV. You can also diffuse the flash by covering it with tissue or butter paper. Also, ensure that your subject is not standing too close to the camera.

For capturing ambient light, it is best to set the flash’s mode to Slow Sync. In this mode, the camera chooses a relatively slow shutterspeed, while firing the flash. The slow shutterspeed ensures that ambient light enters the lens, while the burst of flash helps freeze the main subject. If you have a compact camera that does not allow you much control over flash modes, you can use the Night Portrait scene mode as it produces a similar effect.

Tags: ambient light, April 2015, flash, flash exposure componsation, slow sync