Getting To Know Flash Mode

Because the correct flash mode varies depending on your subject, lighting, and the
type of photography you want to do— Here’s a mini review of commonly available modes and their uses:

Auto flash Triggers the flash when the camera thinks it’s needed, which is a great
feature for casual snap shooting.

Fill (or Force) flash Fires the flash for every shot. You often need to use this
mode for good outdoor portraits.

No flash Prevents the flash from firing, which is a good thing when you’re trying
to shoot shiny objects, such as glass or chrome.

Red-eye flash Produces a mini flash that lights in advance of the main flash. The
idea is that a subject’s pupils will constrict in response to the mini flash, thereby
lessening the chance of red-eye, which is caused by the main flash reflecting in said
pupils. In a dark room, the feature rarely solves the problem entirely—which is
why manufacturers refer to this feature as red-eye reduction mode, not red-eye
prevention mode.

Slow-sync flash Enables you to use slower shutter speeds than the camera
normally allows for flash photography. When you’re shooting at night or in a
dimly lit room, this mode enables you to capture both subject and background.
Without it, the background usually appears dark.

If you’re working with an accessory flash unit instead of a built-in flash, you may
not be able to take advantage of the full range of flash modes on your camera; check
the camera and flash manual to determine your options. You may also find that you
can adjust the intensity of both the on-board flash and the external flash unit by using
a Flash EV control.


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