You don’t need flash.

A photographer told me that the other day. “You don’t Need Flash. If it’s not night, you do not need flash”.

And here’s why he is so very misguided; even plain wrong.

You don’t always need flash, sure. But sometimes you do, if you want creative options. Like yesterday, during a sunflower field with model shoot. I could have shot the models the traditional no flash way, i.e. a small enough aperture, or high enough ISO, or slow enough shutter, to get:

But instead I preferred this:

For that, I exposed the background to about –2 stops (meter displays –2, or if in an auto mode, you use exposure compensation to –2). (In fact I was in manual mode: 1/250th sec, 400 ISO, f/8. That showed as –2 stops on the meter.) Then I used an off camera flash with an umbrella to light the subject. I got the image above. Look at the model’s face: she is the “bright pixels”, and she is lit from where I want.

A couple more examples of photos from yesterday, also done with flash:

And all this was only possible because of flash. I set up the single flash as follows, firing through an umbrella:


2 thoughts on “You don’t need flash.

  1. Hi Michael —

    Although I prefer the flash shots better — much can be said about the “natural” look of non-flash shots. It’s a matter of preference.

    I sometimes think to myself before I click the shutter: “how do I get my camera to record what my eyes are seeing?” With flash, you can give up on that idea right from the get go simply because what you are seeing is not what is going to appear on your photography once you click the shutter and your flash responds.

    I suppose that’s what “natural” light shooters would argue.

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