Action And Sports Photography Tip Number 9....Use Fill Flash With Dim Lighting
Tip #9) Use Fill Flash With Dim Lighting.... Many times while taking high school sports photography, like basketball or volleyball, the lighting in the gyms is pretty dim. Even if you use a really bright lens like a 50mm f/1.2, the colors in the photos and faces of the players just won't look very good.
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The use of a little fill flash will really help brighten up the colors and the players faces and make the colors more vibrant and interesting. You don't need much fill flash, just enough to brighten things up a little.
In the photos below, the left one had no fill flash and the right photo had fill flash. You can clearly see the difference, the left photo is kind of dark and has dull colors, but the right photo with a little fill flash has bright faces and colors. Please click on the photos below for a closer look.
When you use fill flash, set the flash to automatic exposure shooting, but then reduce the amount of the flash with the flashes or cameras flash exposure compensation adjustments. This will help keep the flash from overpowering the ambient light, and producing harsh shadows, and enable the flash to recharge quickly to keep up with the camera, when you are taking consecutive shots quickly.
For action sports photography it is important that your camera has a fast flash sync speed, like at least 1/250th of a second. This means that the camera and flash will be able to stay in sync with eachother up to 1/250th second shutter speed, which is normally fast enough to stop most sports acton. If your camera can only sync to 1/60th of a second, then there will be more blur in the photos, from the fast movement of the players.
The trick with fill flash is to use just enough of it to brighten up the photo, but not too much so that the fill flash produces harsh shadows around the players and makes the background really dark. To reduce or eliminate the amount of shadows, it is best to use a flash bracket, which leads us to action sports photography tip #10, click next tip below to read more about flash brackets.