Flash photography divides the photographic community just as much as the question as to how much digital post-processing is acceptable. A large number of the pro available light photographers criticise the changing of natural lighting conditions, the artificial feel of flash images and do not use a flash at all. Other photographers appreciate the flash that can be seen in the images and use it to effect. A flash can create an interesting, characteristic image effect. In addition, the beholder is reminded of the photographer’s presence in the images.

Another reason for the flash’s poor reputation has nothing to do with the image effect caused by the source of light but instead has to do with the fact that many people feel uncomfortable when a flash is used e.g. at party events a large amount of flash photography changes the atmosphere.

Fact is that using a flash is challenging even for professional photographers although the manufacturers would like to tell us otherwise. Often the flash doesn’t have the desired effect. Rash use of the flash can easily change the atmosphere.

The topic of flash photography is relatively complex and touches on many technical aspects of photography. For many beginners, the amount of aspects and their connections can be somewhat confusing and can be discouraging.

Although I own a number of high performance flashes, I usually left them at home when I was on my travels. The built-in flash (if provided) proved to be relatively good on the few occasions it was required. It was generally used as a fill flash in correlation with a slow synchronisation and a synchronisation of the second shutter curtain. This was done in order not to ruin the lighting mood. Read the article about slow synchronisation for more information.