Whenever I click pictures of people and food using flash, the whole picture becomes bright. When I click without flash, the camera takes in the light from the surroundings and gives me a monotonous and dull colour pattern, particularly when photographing food..

I was trying to capture photos that retain the colour pattern but make the colours more vibrant. Is it possible to achieve this without h post-image processing via editing software? What camera settings or technique should I use to improve my results?

My P & S Camera is Samsung i8.

  • Do you mean the pictures are too bright when the flash is on and dull otherwise, or are too bright just with the flash?
    – mattdm
    Nov 30, 2011 at 3:04
  • Yeah, well the flash tends to give a flashy effect making the picture pretty bright and otherwise tends to spread the brightness via the surrounding light but keeps the picture dull.
    – Neophile
    Nov 30, 2011 at 9:10
  • So, is the question "How can I get nice, vivid colors in food photography without blown-out brightness from the flash?" (That is, do you want to know how to improve your food photos with or without the flash, or do you want specifically to know how to make the flash-based ones better?)
    – mattdm
    Nov 30, 2011 at 12:53
  • Primary Question: How can I get nice, vivid colors in food photography without blown-out brightness from the flash? Following up with: Any particular camera settings to take care of without having to tweak it via post-processing?
    – Neophile
    Nov 30, 2011 at 15:34

3 Answers 3


I'd suggest you look at using exposure compensation. If your pictures are too bright, then go ahead and use the flash, but turn the exposure compensation down (-.5 or -2/3 for a start). This tells the camera you think it's too bright and it will adjust down.

You can get very dull colors if the light is too low, or if the flash is too bright and washes everything out. If you get the exposure (brightness) right, the colors should be much more vibrant.


First tip : make your flash more diffuse. For this, you can put a half ping pong ball in front of it with some tape. Yes, it will lead in a special looking, but could drastically improve your pictures.

Second tip : redirect you flash to the ceiling. For this you will need to adapt a little mirror that will redirect the flash light up. This is the best way to have a nice picture with a flash on a point and shoot camera, but this need some manual work.

  • 1
    If someone put half a ping pong ball in front of me with some scotch, I'd drink the scotch. ;) +1
    – AJ Finch
    Nov 30, 2011 at 15:57

I assume you must already know this, but to get warm vivid colors, change your Picture Control to Vivid mode, and White Balance to cloudy. As for the flash, if you can get some orange transparent plastic(I do not know how to exactly describe it; in India, we use the transparent plastic to create decorations for different festival.)

I'd also try to avoid using the flash completely. Better off using more light from the surroundings. Keep the ISO lower and try for a long exposure shot(a tripod is advised, but if you can prop it against something, well and good. Use the timer function in that case).

Having said that... post processing magic should help you out. Avoid the flash;blown out areas are a pain to remove.

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