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Old Mar 10, 2010, 8:43 AM   #11
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Nech, your theme, "WHEN to use flash"... I of the mind that one should continually look for ways to explore using the flash... even outdoors... Sometimes, just a little fill-in flash can help... sometimes there is an affect one wants to create. I just think it is cool to explore and make good use of a good flash. Ned
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 3:06 AM   #12
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You should use flash when the available light isn't optimal for the lighting effects you wish to achieve.

Many people don't use flash because they don't know how. And it's not easy learning to use flash properly, it's a very big subject and can require much study and expense to fully internalise all the issues.

If you look at a scene - ask yourself from what direction(s) and what type of light you would like to make the image you have in mind. Then look at the natural light available and see whether you can get that (or close to) with the natural light alone.

If you cannot, then you will need artificial lighting of some sort. The creative part comes when you look at the lighting you have, and that which is available and realise you cannot get the effect you want. So you have to think, given the situation and the tools I do have, what can I achieve instead?
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 9:07 AM   #13
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I don't know what camera you have, but many models allow you to turn the flash strength down which helps tremendously in controlling the effect and evening out the scene. I have all my camera flashes turned down by default and experiment from there.

Last edited by pboerger; Mar 11, 2010 at 9:07 AM. Reason: Change
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 9:57 PM   #14
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As Sara's pictire shows, using an external flash in general at least doubles the size of your camera. That seems to be true no matter what the size of your camera is. If you are lucky, it won't more than double the weight as well.

More power gives you more options to bounce and/or diffuse. The more power you want, the more weight you need for the batteries. Well worth doing sometimes, but not something I want to haul about all the time.

Photography is all about capturing light. Flash is harder to figure out since you cannot see the results until you look at what was captured. No move a reflector, turn up the spot, ... and see the results by looking. And taking test shots. With flash, the only way to see the results is with test shots.
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 10:16 PM   #15
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thanks for all the replies...
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