Some of my best pictures are the ones I took without using a flash. Not to say there isn’t a very important place for a flash – and I’ll get to that – but natural light can result in amazing results. Here are some of my favorites:

a family baseball game



The lighting in these photos is gentle and even. None of the subjects have to squint, and nothing is overexposed. I took all of these photos during the “magic hour,” aka, the hour before the sun sets. The other magic hour is right after the sun rises, which HA HA HA I’m never awake then.

You don’t always want to follow your camera’s instincts – often in this lighting situation, your camera will want to use the flash. So, be sure to switch off the flash. OR, if you’re uncertain, take two pictures, one with the flash, and one without.

So when SHOULD you use a flash? You actually might want to use a flash in the middle of the day. The light is harsh, which makes the shadows deeper. Using your flash will fill in shadows on faces for better results.

Annie and Daddy

Annie and Daddy

My condo doesn’t have much natural light, so I have to use a flash for good results inside. I have an external flash that allows me to bounce the light off the ceiling, giving the effect of better lighting. But external flashes are expensive (I got mine on holy moly mega going out of business super sale at Circuit City a few years ago) so using the natural light around you is always a better (and cheaper!) option!

So, go out this weekend, and take lots of natural light pictures! You won’t be sorry, I promise.

As always, if you want to share your pictures (like your flash vs. no-flash shots) upload them to the TSAM Photo Fun Flickr group so we can compliment and learn from each other (If you don’t have a flickr account, just link to your photos in the comments).

Want more lighting tips? You can find them here thanks to HP, my awesome photo partners.

Next week, tips on how to photograph babies. AWWWWWWWWW.

You can find last week’s photo tips here.