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A Surprising Switch for Better Photos
By Paul Krantz

Capable professional photographers deserve every penny they earn. Unfortunately, when the budget or time is tight, we design-challenged writers often find ourselves behind the camera. Here’s a surprising switch that will dramatically improve your photos:

  • Turn the flash OFF when you take pictures INDOORS.
  • Turn the flash ON when you take pictures OUTDOORS.
Behind the advice

Indoor photography is challenging because most spaces are starved for light. Low light levels mean that even a point-and-shoot camera’s tiny flash can overwhelm the existing light. The result: your subject suffers from that “caught in the headlights” look. Turning off the flash produces more pleasing, natural photos.
Pro tip: To create near-professional indoor portraits, position your subject two to three feet from a bright window (but not one in direct sunlight). Position your camera to the side so your subject is one-half to three-quarters illuminated.

Outdoor photography is challenging because lighting is often harsh, especially on a sunny day. Direct sunlight produces burned out highlights and inky black shadows. Turn on your camera’s flash to reduce this contrast, and improve detail and color throughout the photo.
Pro tip: To achieve more even lighting on bright, sunny days, position your subject near a white or pastel wall that’s in shadow. Avoid highly colored walls, which can add an unnatural hue to your photos.s
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