Want to see immediate improvement in your photographs? It's one of the simplest things you can do, but it's by far, one of the most powerful. Turn off your flash!You heard right - slap it down, turn off the switch, find it in your camera menu - do whatever it takes to turn off that flash in favor of more natural, available light.
Think about it - other than playing flashlight games at a campout, when in real life is someone assaulted with a direct beam of light, just a few feet away from their eyeballs? Hardly ever - but that's exactly what an on-camera flash does.
Unnaturally bright skin, harsh shadows, and unusual reflections... there's more working against you, than for you! For crying outloud, it's the secret weapon of the DMV.
Compare the following two shots taken moments apart - one with flash, and one using the natural light of a window to baby's left.
Turning off your flash may prove slightly challenging at first as it forces you to learn how to "read" the light around you - but that's a good thing. It'll force you to look for places with adequate light and begin to recognize light that'll offer outstanding picture opportunities. We promise - in no time at all you will be able to gauge the light in a room with little effort.
Here's another example - taken on the same day, one with flash, one with natural window light. There was no way to "get" this first picture, taken in a dark aquarium, without a flash, but doesn't the second picture serve the same purpose... only much more beautifully?
Editorial note: Our daddy model would like to disclaim that, for some adult subjects, no amount of natural light will improve their appearance. The mommy objects but humors his request.
There are moments when there just isn't enough light or time to compensate for the conditions (i.e. 4:00am on Christmas morning when stockings are being ripped apart, or their first evening bubble sculpture in the bath) and by all means use your flash in lieu of missing the moment. But as a rule, you're on our territory and it's a no flash zone!