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Taking Better Flash Pictures at Night

Due to us being on the road, we have some guest posts that we think you’ll love!  Floyd, Meg’s hubby and CNN photojournalist, offers up a great photo tip.  You can check out his work here.

We’ve all been there….out on the town at night with our friends, the perfect time to take some fun pictures.  You frame them up, turn on the flash, and SNAP!  But all you see is a bright pic of your pals standing in what looks like a dark cave.   What to do?

There is a simple fix.

Most small compact digital cameras have a specific setting for this situation.  Some call it ‘Night Snapshot’,  ‘Party’, or even ‘Slow Sychro’.  Check your cameras manual for the specific setting.

Here’s how it works:  When set for ‘Night Snapshot’, like on my Canon camera above, the camera will flash, lighting up the person in the foreground (your subject), then the shutter will stay open for another second or so while it gets enough ambient light from your background to light it up.  The trick here is to keep the camera as steady as you can until the picture is finished being taken.  If not, you’ll get blurring and streaking behind your subject…although sometimes this makes for really cool images.  If you don’t have a tripod with you (and why would you if you were going out for the night), try leaning against a wall or anything solid to steady yourself.

Here’s Megan (years ago) with just the flash:

Now here she is using the ‘Night Snapsot’ feature:

That’s all there is to it!  Good luck and happy snapping!


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