Fill Flash Photography

Fill Flash makes better images.

Photo tip Friday January 31, 2014

It was a very busy January for me at Omnilargess, and I couldn’t keep up with posting regularly. Now everything is almost back to normal and I am back for Photo Tip Friday. Here we go:

“It is a bright room, why are you using a flash?”

I will tell you why and I will show you some samples.

Even when it is a brightly lit room or outdoors on a nicely lit day, having an extra source of light is very useful to fill the dark shadows or to create shadows in the areas that you want them. This is called Fill Flash photography techniques. By using Fill Flash techniques you can maintain your shutter speed or aperture value. You can also fill in the shadows or create new shadows to add a more realistic look to your images.

“Are Fill Flash Techniques very complicated?”

In fact, Fill Flash techniques are very simple. Even a beginner can learn and apply them to improve their pictures. In my Fill Flash Photography workshop I teach how to understand the ambient light and to calculate the output of your flash to have a balanced fill flash.

Now let’s look at some samples. I took these photos in our office and it was a very bright day. In this first photo I didn’t use a fill flash and tried my best to create a good photo – with no success!

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I even tried to fix it with post processing (as it was shot in Raw format); but again, not too much success.

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Then I used a Fill Flash technique to balance the light from the window with the indoor light. That is the power of fill flash! I didn’t need to edit this photo at all, which equals a time savings for me.

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Another useful technique of fill flash photography is used for Backlight subjects. I took this photo in Centre Weighted metering mode.

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This is not what I wanted, so I added the flash with no Fill Flash techniques.

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As you can see, my TTL Auto flash overpowered the back light and the photo looks like a normal flash picture. But I wanted something more interesting than a regular flash photo. So, I adjusted my shutter speed to balance the ambient light.

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I adjusted a little more to compliment the ambient light and get the look I was after.

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By using Fill Flash Techniques you can create better and sharper images. Here are some samples of outdoor fill flash techniques.

Fill flash in Outdoor photography
Fill flash in Outdoor photography

In this photo I measured the exposure for the background light and set the flash to balance the light for my subject.


Outdoor fill flash can create more natural looking image
Outdoor fill flash can create more natural looking image

In this image I just need a touch of fill light to capture the scene.


Fill flash balances the highlight and shadow perfectly
Fill flash balances the highlight and shadow perfectly

Not only fill flash balanced highlight and shadow perfectly, it also allowed me to use a faster shutter speed!


Balancing high contrast scene by using fill flash
Balancing high contrast scene by using a fill flash

Whenever shooting in high contrast scene such as this photo, fill flash helps you to balance the contrast.


If you want to learn more hands-on techniques for Fill Flash, sign up for our upcoming Flash photography class.

Ted and Omnilargess Team

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