A common problem when taking pictures of people outside, especially during the midday hours, is that the overhead sun can create dark shadows under the eyes and chin. You could have your subject turn his or her face to the sun, but that is usually considered cruel and unusual punishment. So how can you have your subject’s back to the sun and still get a decent exposure of the face? Try turning on your flash to fill in the shadows.
This also works well when you are photographing someone wearing a cap (Figure 6.11). The bill of the hat tends to create heavy shadows over the eyes, and the fill flash will lighten up those areas while providing a really nice catchlight in the eyes.
The key to using the flash as a fill is to not use it on full power. If you do, the camera will try to balance the flash with the daylight, and you will get a very flat and featureless face.
A catchlight is that little sparkle that adds life to the eyes and brings attention to them. When you are photographing a person with a light source in front of them, you will usually get a reflection of that light in the eye, be it your flash, the sun, or something else brightly reflecting off the surface of the eye.
Setting up and shooting with fill flash
- Press the pop-up flash button to raise your pop-up flash into the ready position (A).
- Press and hold the flash button while rotating the Sub-command dial until it reads -0.3 on the control panel (B).
- Release the flash button.
- Take a photograph and check your playback LCD to see if it looks good. If not, try reducing power in one-third stop increments.
One problem that can quickly surface when using the on-camera flash is red-eye.