Knowing when not to use your camera’s flash device in photography is just as important as knowing when to use it. This is because the flash unit has a limited range and if you’re taking a photo of anything that’s out of this range they won’t turn out like you hope.
Basically, a typical flash is good for about 10 to 15 feet, meaning the area within that range will be filled with light, but not beyond it.
If you’re at a sporting event and trying to capture the action that’s 100 feet away, the flash won’t do you any good at all. It will light up the surrounding area and that’s it.
There’s a good chance you’ll capture a clear image of the person sitting in front of you and nothing more.
The rest of the photo will generally look dark and grainy. Of course, the flash came on in the first place if you had the camera set on auto mode.
However, it’s often hard to get to within the flash’s effective range-distance when you’re attending a large outdoor concert or sporting event. The flash is ideal for close up shots, but it’s sometimes impossible to get that close to the subject.
In fact, using the camera’s flash unit could even make the photo worse. In low-light settings, the camera needs to use a slow shutter speed along with a wide aperture setting. But when the camera knows the flash is going to be used and will light the area, it will automatically use a faster shutter speed and a smaller aperture.
However, since the shutter speed is going to be open for a longer period of time than normal, it means the camera has to be held as steady as possible while taking the photo. It’s not as easy as it sounds though, especially if you’re taking photos in a crowd as it’s very hard to keep still. This is where a monopod or tripod comes in hand.
This can often cause another problem though, as it’s not very practical trying to use a monopod or tripod at a concert or sporting event. If you can’t use a steadying device, you’ll have to try your best to keep the camera from shaking by balancing your body and bracing yourself against something as solid as possible, such as a seat or wall.
You’ll then have to bring both of your elbows in against your chest and hold the viewfinder firmly against your face, while staying as still as possible when pressing the shutter.
This method might not give you the sharpest photos you desire, but it should give you better images than using the flash unit to light up a subject that’s out of the flash’s range. The only way to find out for sure is to experiment with both methods and see which works better.