Shooting Holiday Photos with Built-in Flash

From the Best of Mark Toal

Christmas mirrorless We’re kicking off our Holiday coverage with this tip from Mar about using your camera’s built-in flash.

Last week I had an early morning photo session with a family for their holiday photos. I thought I was being prepared by putting my camera case in the trunk the night before. Even when I woke up and saw that it was 25 degrees outside I didn’t think that it would affect my camera equipment. But I was wrong.

highres-panasonic-lumix-gh3-with-leica-25mm-1_1349724682When I arrived at the shoot location a freezing rain was still falling. I took out my Panasonic Lumix GH3 and Metz external flash and was surprised when the flash wouldn’t charge because it was too cold. It was also too cold to go outside with the kids and too dark to shoot inside with available light so I reluctantly decided to use the flash that’s built into the GH3 body.




The first test image had that familiar over powered flash brightness and harsh shadow. I went into the menu and adjusted the power of the flash by minus 2/3 stops to slightly underexpose the portrait.

(The Guide Number for the GH3’s built-in flash is approx. 40, which while not great for a speedlight obviously provided Mark with enough output to make these delightful-looking images.—Joe)

I’ve never been a fan of built in camera flashes, but it sure bailed me out this time. Try it for your holiday photos. Christmas mirrorless