A Short Course Book
Using Your Digital Camera
A Guide To Great Photographs

Using Available Light

The almost universally accepted flash off icon.
Turning the flash off for indoor portraits can give you much more natural lighting.
There are times when the light is dim but you want to capture the unique colors of the available light. For example, you might want to capture the romantic glow of an interior space or retain the moody darkness of a shot at night. There are other situations where flash photography is not allowed. In these circumstances you need to turn the flash off or close it and support the camera for a long exposure. If you don't turn off the flash it will fire and the foreground subjects will appear as if photographed in daylight. If you don't support the camera you will likely have blur from camera movement.

Here the flash was turned off in a museum and a photo was taken using just the natural light streaming in the windows.

When photographing in dim light there are things you can do to get better results when not using flash. Try the following:

  • Increase the camera's sensitivity (ISO).
  • Use the camera's self-timer or remote control.
  • Support the camera or use a tripod.
When the flash is off, long exposure times may create blur in the image. At times like this, you may want to use a camera support.

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