travel photo mistake

Not knowing
how to use flash


Click blue links for all top 10 travel photo mistakes


when you use flash

Know how different
sources affect your photos


Harsh light

A standard flash imparts a harsh light that alters natural colors. This could make faces look pallid.

Fluorescent lighting

This type of light adds an unnatural blue-green tint to photos - and can sometimes do funny things with colors (such as turning a green jacket into a blue one). When under fluorescent lighting, use (if available) your camera's fluorescent light mode. Note: The common tungsten (incandescent) light bulb renders colors more accurately.

Compact camera flash

The built-in flash of a compact camera has serious shortcomings. It is located so close to the lens that it can easily cause red eye. And, the flash has a short range - typically about 3 meters (10 feet), sometimes less. Objects beyond the flash's range darken or become completely black.

SLR camera flash

It functions considerably better. Unlike a compact's flash, a SLR's is not built-in. It mounts on top of the camera and its flash point is about six times farther away from the lens, making it far less likely to cause red eye. Moreover, if the SLR camera and its flash unit can be connected by a cord, the photographer can handhold the flash at an even greater distance from the lens. Another plus is that the average SLR flash can reach at least 2 to 3 times farther than a compact's flash. The range on some high-end flash units is 30 meters (100 feet).

Loss of flash brightness

Practically everyone knows that the more you use your flash, the faster it will drain. What's not widespread knowledge is that the brightness (and therefore reach) of a flash diminishes as the battery gradually loses its power.

Know what the four
basic flash settings do



The flash is on for every photo. This is an ill-advised setting because some photos turn out better if taken without flash.


The flash is triggered whenever the camera thinks it would improve the photo. "Automatic" is a better option than "on" for beginner photographers.

Although cameras usually calculate correctly, their metering system sometimes misreads the scene and guess incorrectly. That's why many experienced photographers use "off" as their default setting.


This is an effective feature when photographing people in direct sunlight. The flash fills in unflattering facial shadows created by the overhead sun.

Slow sync

Use it at night when you want a slower shutter speed to extend the flash zone.

Museums and historical sites

Some institutions severely enforce their no-flash edicts because the cumulative effect of flashes over time can cause irreparable damage to their cultural treasures. I've seen a few instances of cameras permanently confiscated from tourists who triggered their flash.

Practice using
your camera indoors
without flash

The better your camera, the more often you will be able to take indoor pictures of people without having to use a camera flash. Professionals use this no-flash technique to induce a subdued glow - and to avoid the shortcomings of the camera flash. They use indoor incandescent bulbs and/or the soft natural luminosity coming through a window.

Also learn to avoid these
top 10 travel photo mistakes

1 - Photographing people
2 - Composing your shots
3 - Using flash
4 - Taking landscape shots
5 - After your trip
6 - Memory
7 - Camera features
8 - Batteries
9 - Lens
10-Other situations


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