Why Your Photographer Must Know How to Use Flash



Plenty of beautiful images have been taken with natural, or ambient, light, but when you are a professional photographer you have to be able to guarantee you can get beautiful images for clients regardless of the ambient lighting conditions. This is where flash photography comes in. 

When I got my formal photographic training at Hallmark Institute of Photography my professors Gregory Heisler and David Turner would take us once a week to various locations and teach us location lighting. Photographs for different clients and usages require far different lighting. With flash you can create a wide variety of different looks but with natural light alone you a restrained to just one. 

By using flash I can create beautiful studio quality light outside or inside regardless of what the natural light conditions are like. An example is the above portrait of a doctor in Holyoke, Massachusetts. This was photographed in a dark hallway in a hospital. The natural lighting was very poor. By using flash with a Color Temperature Orange gel I was able add beautiful light to light the doctor while letting the background turn blue to make the subject stand out. If I was limited to natural light I wouldn’t be able to get the blue color in the background nor the soft portrait lighting on the subjects face. 

Boring locations can be turned into beautiful ones when lit properly. The above images are of a church near Midland, Michigan before and after lighting it with flash. 

A technique I regularly use is combining flash and natural light. The above images are examples of this. In all of the above images the natural light is shining on the back of the subject and a flash is lighting the subjects face. If I was using only natural light the subject would either be a silhouette or the the background would be blow out. 

Being able to use flash also makes it so I can create portraits at times of day not possible for natural light only photographers. For example these portraits of Jerry and Emily where created long after sunset in downtown Clare. 

Wedding receptions are notoriously dark. To get great photos of the dancers flash is required. By using flash combined with a slow shutter speed in rear curtain sync mode I can get the main subject sharp while blurring the other dancers to show motion. Without flash this entire image would be blurry.

Lastly being able to use flash with a light weight portable background makes it so I can create studio portraits on a black or white background in almost any location. Instead of having to come to me to a studio session I can bring my studio to you! For large groups I can photograph each person individual and later photoshop them together. 

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