Using Flash when it's not obvious.

I was in a restaurant when I shot the photo below. Notice that the background is too bright without details and I was not happy. What happens is that my FZ28 looks at the whole scene (meters) and decides that this is the best compromise. If it makes the background darker, then my cousin's faces will be too dark. If it makes my cousin's faces OK, then the background will be too bright, with the sun shining in. I guessed that the FZ28 simply does not have enough dynamic range to capture the scene naturally.

My cousins and hubby, without flash. (1/13s, F3.0, ISO200)

So what am I to do? I turned on the flash, or rather force it on, as shown below. Once I do that, the FZ28 looks at the scene again and decides to make the background darker, which would make faces dark too, but no worries, it'll just fire the flash to make them bright again. Just look at the beautiful green and colors at the background, which makes the photo much more pleasant overall.

My cousins and hubby, with flash. (1/30s, F3.0, ISO100)

Yes, I know the faces reflects some the the bright flash as it's direct flash from my FZ28, but still it's not too harsh. It would be even better if I had bounced the flash off the ceiling but alas, the FZ28 does not have a hot shoe, and therefore cannot use an external flash. For that I would have to buy an SLR which can do better in low light and use an external flash, maybe even a fast prime lens to go with that. Perhaps I shall take more lousy photos of my Mrs. as "prove" that I "NEED" an SLR, no?


  1. Goodmorning,

    Since we have a Lumix fz28, I regurarly check your site. Can you tell me exactly what settings you used while shooting the above pictures?


    Ronald Schipper

  2. Hey Ronald,

    I used Program mode, 5.9mm (33mm), 1/13s, F3.0, ISO200 for the one without flash and 5.9mm (33mm), 1/30s, F3.0, ISO100 for the one with flash. Thanks for reading my blog.

  3. could you not somehow cover the flash with soft white fabric to make it softer?

  4. Lynne, Thanks, didn't thought of that...anything that will disperse the harsh light a little will do great.