5 Misconceptions about Using Flash for In-Home Photography

I can’t wait for you to discover the magic of flash like I did many years ago shooting film in dark Seattle homes in the dead of winter! Flash doesn’t have to be scary… flash is our friend. Flash is an ideal tool for home photographers seeking to create captivating moments in any setting without cranking up your ISO or praying your photos turn out. I think flash gets a bad rap. There are 5 main misconceptions about using flash for in-home photography. Today I’m going to talk about what I think those misconceptions are and also show you some crazy amazing before and afters to get you inspired!

Misconception 1: Flash is too “flashy”

The 1st misconception is that using flash gives you “flashy” unnatural-looking images. Sure, it can. Flash can do a lot of things, you just need to know how to use it with your camera to get the look that you are going for. As an example, if you were to peek around any page or blog post on my site, would you think that any were shot with flash? Spoiler alert: ALL of my indoor images are with flash *insert gasp*. Flash can create gorgeous images where it looks like I have the biggest window with the best north light out there. You don’t need expensive, fancy equipment, you just need to know how to use your equipment!

5 misconceptions of using flash for in-home photography.  This image example shows a mom with her three kids sitting on the couch and was taken with flash and film.

Misconception 2: Learning how to use flash is too complicated

The 2nd misconception is that it’s too hard to learn. Adding flash is just too complicated and you don’t want to add extra gear or thinking power to an already stressful shoot. Yes, there is a learning curve, but it’s just like riding a bike. Once you understand the concepts you just get it. It isn’t any more complicated than learning how to use your camera in Manual!

mom tending to newborn baby in nursery mirror reflection.  Image example taken with flash and film photography

Misconception 3: Flash isn’t strong enough to photograph a family

The 3rd misconception is that a little flash unit just isn’t powerful enough for photographing an entire family in a dark house. Believe me, I thought that for a while too and would lug my strobe, stand, and softbox or umbrella around. But that got old and really cumbersome REALLY fast. Again, I’ll defer to my images here. I never take a strobe with me to in home shoots. Sometimes I need two flash units instead of one, but that’s the only extra gear I’m bringing. Oh, and it’s powerful enough to freeze movement!

5 misconceptions of using flash for in-home photography.  This image example shows a family of five having fun in their living room.  The image was taken with flash.

Misconception 4: Using flash with digital doesn’t look good

The 4th misconception is that flash or artificial light only looks good on film. While I do mostly shoot with film (because I love it for so many reasons), I have shot many gorgeous digital images using flash. Sure, digital cameras have a crazy ISO range to choose from, but noise is noise and bad light is bad light. Cranking your ISO won’t fix that. Nor will it fix crappy color casts. Think of flash as just another tool in your toolbox that helps you out in a pinch if your caught in a bad lighting situation. It will give you the confidence and consistency needed to produce beautiful images 100% of the time, anywhere.

5 misconceptions of using flash for in-home photography.  This photo example shows a before and after digital image of a mom in the kitchen with her boys.

Misconception 5: The flash burst scares kids and newborn babies

The 5th misconception I’ve heard that just isn’t true is that the flash burst will scare kids or wake up a newborn. Having been a family and newborn photographer for over 15 years, I’ve had my fare share of experience with this. Yes, I’ve had an occasional newborn flinch when the flash first pops, but never has it woken a sleeping little one up. And I find most kids are exteremely curious and love to tell me if the flash is working or not! I have, though, had a few fur-babies who weren’t particularly fond of it. And those were usually the ones that didn’t like my big camera either.

5 misconceptions of using flash for in-home photography.  This example is from a newborn family lifestyle photo session with a dog

So there you have the 5 misconceptions of using flash for in-home photography. If you have been telling yourself any of these 5 things above, I encourage you to get outside of your comfort zone and try flash out. You may be extremely happy you did!

Because I feel so strongly that flash and in-home photography work amazing together (just like peanut butter and jelly), I put together a fun 12-page guide for you. If you’re flash-curious you should check it out! You will go behind the scenes with me where I will show you 5 before and after scenarios, explain the problem and what happened, (with images of course)! And at the end there’s a fun little Flash Flowchart for you to try out!

Happy shooting,




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Hi, I'm Kim Hildebrand!

Photographer & Online Business Educator

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Kim Hildebrand