Summary and Recommendations

The flash is a simple method to change the light for your images and can have a massive impact on how your pictures look like.

It pays off to take the decision „with or without flash“ on your own:

  • No camera automatic will switch on a fill flash in bright daylight.
  • Every camera automatic will switch on the light below a certain minimum of ambient light, even if you might prefer a picture looking more atmospheric with available light.

To use the flash consciously you need to know the choices that your camera offers and how to use them:

  • Every camera, even the very simple compact cameras have at least an option to suppress the automatic flash or to enforce a fill flash.
  • Advanced cameras may behave differently depending on camera settings, they can be in a mode for automatic flash or require that you switch the flash on and off.
    The latter is the behavior of professional cameras.

The most important situations to use flash are:

  • Flash as the main source of light in case of low light.
  • Fill flash in bright daylight with harsh shadows
  • Capture fast moving subjects.

If you use an external flash, use it as bounced flash wherever you can.

And last but not least: If you have bad light, also consider options to improve the light and make the usage of flash unnecessary.
E.g. on a cloudy day it can be sufficient to wait a moment until a cloud hides the sun and harsh shadows disappear, when taking photos indoors there may be an option to switch on additional light … try to control the light as much as possible!