by Steve Anchell

Filling deep shadows with artificial light has been a part of photo technique since the invention of flash powder in the 1880s. Its handheld flash with ambient sunlight is a terrific way to soften shadows and create professional looking images.Fill flash, two names by which it is often called, is used by many of the greatest street and travel photographers; press photographers using handheld cameras (watch those flashes go off at any press conference), and is a required skill for portrait, wedding, and fashion photographers.

The concept is quite simple: use your flash to illuminate the subject and use sunlight to illuminate the background. Once you learn how to use synchro-sunlight you can apply the same techniques to studio lighting.

There are two basic techniques to using synchro-sunlight, full fill and partial fill, figures 1—3. Both methods can be used with a front lit or backlit subject; with either a built-in camera flash, an on-camera flash attached to the camera’s hot shoe, or a flash held away from the camera via a flash cable or by using a remote trigger device.

Built-in camera flash is limited by both placement and power. However, it performs well for photos with one or two subjects and should not be overlooked when the light is too harsh and the shadows around the subject is deep.... read more on Photodoto.