As you know, Laurence is a passionate photographer, and every month he'll be providing an easy tip for you to follow so you can improve your travel photography. This month's tip is about flash photography.
Most cameras aimed at consumers come with some sort of flash built-in - be they smartphones or DSLRs. Unfortunately, these flashes tend not to produce great results, and in many cases you might find your photos actually look worse with the flash than without it.
Why is this? Well, the small flash unit that is built into cameras is not very powerful, and can only produce a small amount of light. This is why professional camera bodies rarely have a built-in flash - the assumption is that you would be using an external flash unit at this level.
So is there any point to the built in flash, and are there any reasons to use it?
The answer is, thankfully, yes.
A great use for your camera flash is to provide fill lighting. This is useful when you are taking a photo of a backlit subject - like a person or animal that is relatively close to the camera, who has a bright light source like the sun behind them.
Often, photos like these can come out with the subject very dark due to the light behind them resulting in shadows on their face. Setting the flash to fill mode will cause it to fire, even in daylight, and this will result in a more evenly lit image. You should be able to access this setting from your cameras menu.
Without getting too technical, there are not too many more great reasons for using your camera's popup flash. It will normally not produce enough light to illuminate enough of the scene to be useful.
If you absolutely want to capture an image and it's too dark, then you can use the popup flash as an alternative to not getting the shot at all, but you'd normally be better off trying to adjust the camera's settings like ISO rather than using the flash.
My last tip for the popup flash is making sure you know how to turn it fully off. Lots of attractions don't let you use a flash, so knowing how to disable it is key. There may be a button on your camera or an option in the camera menus to turn it off.
In addition, when you're outside shooting at night, the popup flash isn't going to do anything other than illuminate the area right in front of you, so you'll usually want it off then as well!