when to use or not use flash for portraits during daylight?

Started Mar 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
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when to use or not use flash for portraits during daylight?
Mar 17, 2013

I'll be shooting portraits for a couple friends in a few days, mostly outside when there's daylight. I have taken portraits in daylight without flash, as well as indoor portraits with (bounce) flash, but never daylight with flash before.

outdoor with no flash

The problem taking outdoor portraits is that often times the sunlight is harsh and may not come from the direction you desire, creating shadows on the subject's face. I usually overexpose the scene (like +2EV in the picture above), therefore lighting up the subject at the expense of blowing out the background.

I've recently come across some pictures of outdoor flash portraits, like shown in this article: http://photo.tutsplus.com/articles/lighting-articles/an-introduction-to-outdoor-flash-photography/

With flash, I get to light up the subject as well as keep the background evenly exposed. So would it be better if I just do that from now on? Or are there situations where just working with ambient light might be better for portraits?

This is not to stir a flash vs no flash debate because I do use a flash. I'd just like to hear other's experience on the matter from an aesthetic point of view. Thanks!

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