Fill flash explained – take stunning outdoor portrait photography with a flash

Oct 22, 2018

Ed Gregory

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Fill flash explained – take stunning outdoor portrait photography with a flash

Oct 22, 2018

Ed Gregory

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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Taking portraits in bright sunlight has been a bit of a no-no for a long time but the truth is that you can actually get stunning results if you use a fill flash. The results look awesome and give a high-end feel to any outdoor portrait and the best thing is that it’s really not too difficult. You just need to understand how to use a fill flash.

Check out the image below showing why we use a fill flash in photography and the best way to think about it. You can see this in the video at around 1:35.

Basics to using a fill flash.

  1. Set you camera up to expose the background perfectly. Ignore the subject and don’t use a flash at this point.
  2. Take a photo with the subject and you should see that the background looks great but the subject is in silhouette
  3. Add a flash on the subject ‘filling’ them with light. you may need to play around with the flash power a little to get it correct. There is no rule to this as it depends on how bright the ambient light is, what you ISO and Stop is and how close the flash is. but its pretty easy to figure out. Just leave the settings exactly as they were for the background and increase or decrease the flash.

You can see in the first set of photos below that the images look really quite beautiful. I used the tree to give some subtle depth to the shadows. After we did this first shoot I really wanted to show you the power of using a fill flash so we completely overpowered the Sun. Check out the photos below why we have the sun in the shot and behind the subject yet the model Rosie White is still perfect lit with the photography Fill Flash.

Fill Flash Tips – A few things to remember

  1. Remember what your flash sync speed is. most studio mono flashed sun at either 200 of 250th of a sec. Speed flashed sun a lot faster. Just make sure you have the correct shutter speed for your flash when exposing for the background.
  2. if your flash isn’t powerful enough just move it closer to the subject
  3. Play around and have fun. it sometimes take a while to get the hang of this technique but the results are awesome.

About the Author

Ed Gregory is a photographer and the founder of Photos in Color. You can check out more of his work on Instagram, follow him on Twitter, and make sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel. This article was also published here and shared with permission.

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