Happy Fourth of July to everyone! I just returned from an assignment in Alaska, always one of my favorite places. One day I visited a local market photographing various vendors and interesting people, and used one of the staple TTL flash techniques, on-camera fill flash. If you are photographing a parade this weekend, or a festival, this might be a technique you want to consider. Often the difference between a nice image and a really good image is a simple technique like fill flash.
I met a very friendly woman selling vegetables at the market, and her friendly personality and bright colors made a terrific photograph. With fill flash shooting your lighting ratio between background ambient light and flash is almost the same; most people won’t even know you used flash. But that is the point, you add a little flash to make the image ‘pop’, and your shot will look better than a standard available light image. Take a look at the image above. By adding just a touch of flash, the color of the vegetables has improved, and woman’s skin tones are more luminous with less shadows. Most importantly, she has catch lights in her eyes which makes the image more engaging.
I used a D810 with a SB900 attached to the hotshot for this shot. I placed a diffusion dome (which comes with the flash) on the flash to take the hard edge off the light. I was shooting in Aperture Priority using matrix metering, and just took the shot. No exposure or flash compensation. Flash was set to fill flash mode. It took about one minute to take this image, quick and easy. The beauty of modern speed light photography is you can shoot a fill flash shot like this in a few seconds, and the be on your way. Let the camera/flash figure things out. And you subject can go back to selling their wares without a big distraction.