When you’re taking a photo in low light conditions, you might need a flash, especially if you don’t have a tripod or want to capture a fast-moving subject. Here are some common moments to use a flash:
- Poor lighting
- A fast-moving subject
- Eliminating or adding shadows
- Night photography
When you see red carpet photos of celebrities, for example, these photos are often taken with a flash. There are a number of reasons for this: The area has low light or poor or spotty lighting, the subjects are in motion, and they’re often wearing heavy makeup or accessories to keep from appearing washed out by the lack of shadows.
Applying the red carpet example to other photos, it’s helpful to think about three things when you are taking the photo:
- Where are you taking the photo?
- What are you photographing?
- Do you have a subject suitable for a flash?
A good rule from Castor: “Whenever you are using flash in a scene, you have to know what the scene looks like without the flash so you can get the most out of your existing lighting.” Knowledge of the scene and answers to the above questions often determine your equipment and what you’re trying to accomplish with your photos. It’s all intertwined.