How do I guarantee that the flash will fire and where did I go wrong?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Brian, Jun 5, 2005.

  1. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Recently I was taking some photos at a children's birthday party that
    was lit by an electric light bulb on the ceiling.
    my first photos were very dark as it looked like the camera adjusted
    to the light source from the lit candles on the cake
    Settings: 400 ASA. evaluative metering. shutter auto set to 1/60sec
    f4.0 If the flash had fired then the people would not be so dark in
    the photo as they were about 1.5 meters from the camera.

    When I saw how dark the photos were I increased the ASA rate to 1600
    ASA this caused the shutter to drop to 1/10 sec f3.5 and the photos
    had a yellowish colour (must be due to the white balance not auto
    adjusting correctly) but the photos were brighter.

    I then dropped the ASA rating down to 200 ASA this seem to cause the
    flash to fire and I had a shutter speed of 1/60 sec f5.6
    these photos looked ok and have better lighting than the yellowish

    I was using the auto mode on the camera.
    The camera's light meter was set to evaluative in all photos.
    The camera is a Canon 300D (SLR) digital camera.

    Could someone please tell me where I went wrong and what are the best
    settings for a birthday party lit by a 60 watt room light bulb. I
    wanted the flash to fire every time I took a photo of the party.

    Regards Brian
    Brian, Jun 5, 2005
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  2. I am not familiar with your specific camera, but most digital cameras
    have these characteristics in common:

    In this case the flash function position should be set to shoot flash on
    all pictures (other settings are to flash when needed, red eye
    prevention and never flash)

    The camera must be left on long enough and wait between flashes for the
    flash to charge up.

    Don't fool with the ASA. It increases noise if turned up too high.
    Leave it on automatic.
    Stephen Henning, Jun 5, 2005
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  3. Brian

    Big Bill Guest

    I have one of those (actually a Digital Rebel; same thing).
    In auto mode (green square), you can't set the ISO; it's automatically
    set. And, in auto mode, if the flash were needed, it would pop up
    So what did you atually have it set to? P? (For general use,that's
    what I use.)
    Since you weren't in automode, you could try manually raising the
    flash; this will put the camera in flash mode, and it will go off.
    The onboard flash is fairly anemic; an external flash would be much
    Big Bill, Jun 5, 2005
  4. Brian

    Jim Guest

    Don't. This is part of the reason for the exposures you described above.
    Was the flash perchance set for fill? If so, this is also part of your
    Can't say what the settings should be because it depends on the size of the
    room. 60 watts is a very small light.
    What would do is:
    Camera set to shutter priority (1/60 or so)
    Fill flash disabled
    ISO set to 200
    Make test shot (remember, they don't cost much)
    Adjust settings depending on what I see from the histogram.
    Jim, Jun 5, 2005
  5. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Thanks Bill and others for your reply.
    I got the settings for each photo from a software program that comes
    with the camera. I might have selected the P mode to be able to adjust
    the ISO value. The specs show shooting mode=Program AE for each photo.
    I also manually lifted up the flash thinking that it would fire for
    all photos.
    I might be able to increased the exposure of the people and mask the
    birthday cake to avoid the cake from being over exposed when using an
    digital editing program.

    So it looks like I'd be better to choose the P mode next time.

    Regards Brian
    Brian, Jun 6, 2005
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