We've put together five top tips for using flash photography to ensure your pictures come out perfectly every time.

The flash on a camera is designed to improve the lighting in a shot when there isn't enough natural light to take a picture.

As most cameras have an automatic flash mode, taking low-light photos should be a snap. But it isn't.

We've put together five top tips for using a flash to ensure your pictures come out perfect every time.

1. Know when to use the flash

Some people leave their flash on all the time, which can result in it firing when it's totally unnecessary.

Others turn it off completely and never use it. I land somewhere in the middle.

I do tend to leave the flash turned off most of the time, but I switch it on when the occasion warrants.

Your camera probably warns you with an icon in the viewfinder when the light is too low for a good photo without the flash - check your camera's user guide to see how to interpret those messages.

You can also check what shutter speed the camera is trying to use; anything under 1/60 second is probably too slow.
Either increase the ISO (which will increase the sensitivity of the sensor), or turn on the flash.

2. Know your camera's flash modes

Your camera flash probably has more settings beyond just on and off.

Check out 'Master your camera's flash modes' for a primer on how to use your camera flash.

You should know when to switch to fill flash (it's great for taking pictures of people outdoors in direct sunlight to avoid harsh shadows) and use red eye reduction (indoors in low light, when shooting pictures of people).

3. Use an external flash

Your camera's built-in flash has a very limited range. In most cases, it'll illuminate subjects only up to about 10 feet away from your camera.

If you need to shoot across longer distances - like a school auditorium, for example - consider adding an external flash to your camera if it has a hot shoe attachment.

Even some point-and-shoot cameras can accommodate external flashes, and that'll extend your range to 30, 40 or even 50 feet.

You can also do stuff with an external flash you can't do with the built in flash - like bouncing the light, which I mention next.

NEXT PAGE: Bounce the light

  1. Capture the perfect shot every time
  2. Bounce the light