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how to use built in flash
So I was taking pictures with my d50 and I have never used the flash before and then I decided to give it a try because I wanted to expose for the background and then have the flash work as the fill flash. Well I took about 20 pictures and they all exposed for the subject and not the background. I would lock the exposure of the background and then take the picture of the subject and every time the camera would expose for the flash for the girl. I don't really know what I'm doing wrong could someone fill me in?..

Comments (6)

Cuz789 wrote:.

So I was taking pictures with my d50 and I have never used the flashbefore and then I decided to give it a try because I wanted to exposefor the background and then have the flash work as the fill flash.Well I took about 20 pictures and they all exposed for the subjectand not the background. I would lock the exposure of the backgroundand then take the picture of the subject and every time the camerawould expose for the flash for the girl. I don't really know whatI'm doing wrong could someone fill me in?.

A bit more info would help to narrow this down:.

- Which exposure mode (M,A,S,P) are you using?.

- How are you locking the exposure for the background? (There are different ways of doing this).

- What is a typical exposure for the background in question? (ie shutter and aperture)- Night or day? Indoors or out?..

Comment #1

Its usually aperture priorityindoors.

The way I was exposing for the background was pressing the shutter half down on the background locking it and then taking the picture (which I realize was kind of dumb now but the subject was in focus when the picture was taken surprisingly)..

Comment #2

Cuz789 wrote:.

Its usually aperture priorityindoorsthe way I was exposing for the background was pressing the shutterhalf down on the background locking it and then taking the picture.

In aperture priority mode, unless you have the metering set to spot (or possibly center waited), this would not have much effect..

(which I realize was kind of dumb now but the subject was in focuswhen the picture was taken surprisingly).

I think, but I may be wrong here, that on Nikon camera, focus and metering are set separately.

The easiest mode for what you what to achieve would be night portrait..

Brian A..

Comment #3

Cuz789 wrote:.

Its usually aperture priorityindoorsthe way I was exposing for the background was pressing the shutterhalf down on the background locking it and then taking the picture(which I realize was kind of dumb now but the subject was in focuswhen the picture was taken surprisingly).

I assume by this you mean that you pointed the camera at the background and then locked the exposure, then recomposed to centre on the subject. If that is the case, then Hugo is right - unless you were using centre weight or spot mode, this would not have much effect. In matrix (average) mode the picture will be metered for the whole scene, with a bias towards the focus point but probably not that much..

If the lighting is fairly even then there may not be that much difference between metering off the subject and metering off the background, in any case..

Now, the next thing that happens is, once the shutter is released the flash fires and is controlled by the camera - giving a good exposure for the subject. The shutter remains open for the time that you have specified (regardless of the flash) which should give a good exposure for the ambient light..

But you know that, more or less, because you're expecting a good exposure..

BUT. Here's the catch. Disclaimer: I Am Not An Expert .

If the flash is on (for builting flash, popped up - for external flash, attached and turned on) then the camera will not (I think) set a shutter speed below the minimum that is set in the camera's settings. Which may be 1/30 or 1/60 second, typically. So here is what could be happening:.

You meter off the background. Using aperture mode, with the aperture set to, say, f/5.6. Because the light is so low, it wants to use a shutter speed of, say, 1/15 second. But because you have the flash activated, it won't go below (say) 1/60 second. Result is that the picture is 2 stops underexposed (by ambient light: the subject is exposed just fine because of the flash). If the flash wasn't activated, the exposure would be 1/15 second and good..

In short, you may be metering off the background but because the flash is activated the camera won't actually set the correct exposure (shutter speed) because it knows it will be using the flash..

This is a good thing, because it means the camera is not allowing you to set a shutter speed that is too slow to stop subject movement, because it knows you intend to use the flash..

If you want to override this, then Night Portrait mode might be the answer, as Hugo suggests, or you have to use a different flash mode, or use Manual mode to set exactly the shutter and aperture that you want...

Comment #4

BUT. Here's the catch. Disclaimer: I Am Not An Expert .

If the flash is on (for builting flash, popped up - for externalflash, attached and turned on) then the camera will not (I think) seta shutter speed below the minimum that is set in the camera'ssettings. Which may be 1/30 or 1/60 second, typically. So here iswhat could be happening:.

This is correct. The default setting for the lowest shutter speed in P and A mode with flash is 1/60s. It can be set to as low as 30s (Custom setting 24)..

You meter off the background. Using aperture mode, with the apertureset to, say, f/5.6. Because the light is so low, it wants to use ashutter speed of, say, 1/15 second. But because you have the flashactivated, it won't go below (say) 1/60 second. Result is that thepicture is 2 stops underexposed (by ambient light: the subject isexposed just fine because of the flash). If the flash wasn'tactivated, the exposure would be 1/15 second and good..

In short, you may be metering off the background but because theflash is activated the camera won't actually set the correct exposure(shutter speed) because it knows it will be using the flash..

This is a good thing, because it means the camera is not allowing youto set a shutter speed that is too slow to stop subject movement,because it knows you intend to use the flash..

If you want to override this, then Night Portrait mode might be theanswer, as Hugo suggests, or you have to use a different flash mode,or use Manual mode to set exactly the shutter and aperture that youwant..

If the OP wants to use A mode, set a lower shutter speed in the custom setting 24 (slowest shutter speed in P and A mode with flash). Or as it means that you manually control the aperture and shutter speed, you can just use M mode. Use also higher ISO then you don't need to use very low shutter speed..

Rafy Sugirihttp://www.flickr.com/photos/rafysugiri/sets/http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/dna.php?username=79015415@N00.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #5

Arrowman wrote:.

Cuz789 wrote:.

Its usually aperture priorityindoorsthe way I was exposing for the background was pressing the shutterhalf down on the background locking it and then taking the picture(which I realize was kind of dumb now but the subject was in focuswhen the picture was taken surprisingly).

I assume by this you mean that you pointed the camera at thebackground and then locked the exposure, then recomposed to centre onthe subject. If that is the case, then Hugo is right - unless youwere using centre weight or spot mode, this would not have mucheffect. In matrix (average) mode the picture will be metered for thewhole scene, with a bias towards the focus point but probably notthat much..

If the lighting is fairly even then there may not be that muchdifference between metering off the subject and metering off thebackground, in any case..

Now, the next thing that happens is, once the shutter is released theflash fires and is controlled by the camera - giving a good exposurefor the subject. The shutter remains open for the time that you havespecified (regardless of the flash) which should give a good exposurefor the ambient light..

But you know that, more or less, because you're expecting a goodexposure..

BUT. Here's the catch. Disclaimer: I Am Not An Expert .

If the flash is on (for builting flash, popped up - for externalflash, attached and turned on) then the camera will not (I think) seta shutter speed below the minimum that is set in the camera'ssettings. Which may be 1/30 or 1/60 second, typically. So here iswhat could be happening:.

You meter off the background. Using aperture mode, with the apertureset to, say, f/5.6. Because the light is so low, it wants to use ashutter speed of, say, 1/15 second. But because you have the flashactivated, it won't go below (say) 1/60 second. Result is that thepicture is 2 stops underexposed (by ambient light: the subject isexposed just fine because of the flash). If the flash wasn'tactivated, the exposure would be 1/15 second and good..

The D80 will tell you how much under exposure you have by displaying a bar graph in the view finder (on D50? I don't know). If you don't like it you can switch to manual or S mode and reduce your shutter speed, but then you probably need a tripod and the subject can't move!!.

In short, you may be metering off the background but because theflash is activated the camera won't actually set the correct exposure(shutter speed) because it knows it will be using the flash..

This is a good thing, because it means the camera is not allowing youto set a shutter speed that is too slow to stop subject movement,because it knows you intend to use the flash..

If you want to override this, then Night Portrait mode might be theanswer, as Hugo suggests, or you have to use a different flash mode,or use Manual mode to set exactly the shutter and aperture that youwant...

Comment #6

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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