Using my camera’s built-in flash for fill

Mike wrote:

What settings need to be adjusted on my camera when I’m taking indoor photos where the built in flash drowns out my picture?

I’m not taking portraits but more of the random family get together shots. If I turn off the flash the blur factor comes in to play since I’m not using a tripod while shooting. What will decrease the brightness of the flash on the subject?

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One thought on “Using my camera’s built-in flash for fill

  1. Post author


    It sounds like you are describing the use of your flash as a fill flash. Many newer cameras have settings which allow the camera to fire the flash in this way. Since each manufacturer is different, you’ll have to consult your camera’s manual to determine if that is possible for you and what settings are appropriate.

    If your camera has a TTL flash, one that meters the flash output Through The Lens and turns it off when the correct exposure occurs, you should be able to set your camera to manual and choose a slow shutter speed (try 1/30 or 1/20 sec) in order to capture the ambient light. When the flash fires, it will complete the exposure and give you an attractive photo with a natural feel. Be sure to hold the camera as still as possible to avoid strange blurring around the subject from the room light.

    If your camera does not allow the built-in flash to be used in this manner, consider a portable strobe unit. These units can be wonderful in this setting for several reasons. You will have the ability to determine the power setting manually in order to provide the right amount of fill. These flash units can also be angled toward the ceiling or a wall to provide non-directional lighting which is generally more pleasing than the light coming from your camera axis.

    The trick to all of this is to experiment with different settings until you find something that works for you.

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