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Beginner's Introduction To Built-In Flash - Flash can be a very useful tool and there are various modes you can use. Here's what they are and what they're used for.
Flash adds light to an image and many cameras feature several flash modes for you to pick from which include:
AutomaticThis is where the camera will use the flash when it detects low light levels. You don't have to tell the camera you want to use the flash, it will fire on its own.
Flash OnThis is when you tell the camera to fire the flash, regardless of the available light. It can be handy when shooting outdoors when there may be darker shadowed areas but generally the lighting is good.
This turns the flash off completely. It's used when available light levels are sufficient or when shooting in areas where flash photography isn't allowed.
Red-Eye ReductionRed-eye is usually caused when shooting with a camera that has built-in flash and it makes the eyes look like they have a demonic red glow. By using red-eye reduction, the flash fires several times just before the actual photo is taken. By doing this, the pupils contract and it is less likely you'll have red-eye appearing in the photograph. Do warn your subject before you fire the flash though as it can make them look like a startled deer in headlights if not.
Fill-in Flash is weaker than regular flash, but is strong enough to add light to darker areas of the image such as shadows. It's useful for situations when the subject needs illuminating but the background doesn't, such as the images here:
Left: Without fill-in flash the subject is too dark. Right: With fill-in flash we can now see the subject.