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Using the flash on your compact digital camera
With digital cameras such as a Digital IXUS or PowerShot, it’s possible to force the flash on or off, depending on your requirements – there will be a dedicated button on the back of the camera for this. If you turn the flash off in a situation of low-lighting, make sure that you either hold the camera very steady, or attach it to a tripod, as slower shutter speeds mean that the camera is more sensitive to shake.

When using the flash, it’s important that subjects that you want lit are at a similar distance from the camera, since objects close to the camera will be brightly lit and those further away will be darker.

Most digital compact cameras are capable of Red-eye reduction. ‘Red eyes’ can occur when the light from the flash reflects off the retinas of the eyes. When you activate red eye reduction on your camera, the camera emits an initial flash (before the sensor is exposed) that causes the pupils of the eye to contract and therefore reduce the chance of ‘red eye’ in photographs.

Flash modes

Chart that shows what the flash symbols mean [PDF, 36 KB]

Next month, we delve into colour temperature and white balance.