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If you are sure that the flash is enabled (not automatic, enabled!), then I'd say it must be a hardware issue regarding the flash circuitry. I would contact Olympus support if the camera is not too old. Or take it to a camera repair shop, the repair shouldn't be expensive.
Hi. When parts of the subject are moving it is normal for the subject to tend to be be blurred in those places. Blurring is minimised if you take pictures in bright light because the 'exposure' (the time needed for the sensor to collect enough light to take the picture) is less. Also the 'sensitivity' of the sensor can be increased by reducing the ISO setting in the menu so that the sensor needs less time to take the picture. However ISO settings higher than 200 tend to more and more make the image a bit blotchy. The 'aperture' is also relevant and F2 (wide open) lets in more light than say F5.6 (narrower), so helps to reduce blurring too. Mainly you rely on bright light to minimise blurring if the subject moves, but there is also a 'sports' scene mode which might help. Indoors, you more often need to use Flash to get a good picture by providing more light, but flash does not usually reach far enough to have much effect out of doors, unless the subject is close by. In 'auto' mode the settings look after themselves but have a good look at the Instruction Manual and experiment with 'manual' settings to find out how the camera works and read a few beginner's aricles to make things more interesting. Most of all have fun! Regards
Double-check your flash settings. You mentioned the camera is in Auto mode, but the flash has separate settings from the camera's shooting mode. With the camera in shooting mode AUTO check the Flash settings (Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Fill-In, Off) It may be set to 'fill' causing your photos to be too bright. Also, depending on how close you are to your subject the flash may not be needed. Using the flash when too close to your subject (less then 3 ft.) will cause bright/white photos. Turn the flash OFF if you are taking macro or photos closer then 3ft. If neither of these fix your problem, turn the flash mode OFF, and camera shooting mode to AUTO and in a naturally well lit area, take a photo, if the photo is still too bright, you may have something mechanically wrong with your camera.
First, make sure you have the file size set to the highest size and highest quality. Small file size and low quality settings produce small files with pixelization.
Second, no camera performs as well in low light as it does in bright light. It sounds like you are new to photography, so you should start out by shooting in bright light - outdoors in the sun. Once you know how to take good photos in the sun, then you can try taking photos when it is overcast, or in bright shade (on a sunny day but outside of the direct sunlight). As you develop more experience in taking photos you can try more difficult lighting situations such as indoors.
Flash lighting is difficult because the light "falls off" quickly as the distance from the flash to the subject increases. The camera's flash tries to put out enough light to illuminate both the subject closest to the camera and to also try to light the background, but this is often impossible. So the subject is too bright, and the background remains dark. If your subject is further away, the lighting evens out some. If your subject is close to the background (e.g. standing in front of a light colored wall) the camera will get the flash exposure set to a better value and the photos will come out better.
It would also help to get a book on basic photography.
For portraits when the sun is high, a fill-flash is certainly appropriate. Had you not used your flash on this, the sun would have cast long shaddows under her eyes and nose and chin, which can be very unflattering. I like the image you captured!
One other option for you, when you have control over your subject and the shooting conditions, is to move your subject to a shady spot. Here the lighting is not so harsh and more of the facial features are seen. This adds character and softens the overall look of your portrait. But even in these shady situations, it's not a bad idea to take a few using the fill flash too, bracketing your shots this way will increase the likelihood that you get a "keeper."
Program Auto (Factory default setting)
Program Auto mode is used for regular photography. The camera automatically makes the settings for natural color balance. Other functions, such as the flash mode and metering, can be adjusted manually.
Portrait mode is suitable for taking a portrait-style picture of a person. The camera automatically sets the optimal shooting conditions.
Landscape + Portrait
Landscape + Portrait mode is suitable for taking photos which include both your subject and the landscape. The camera automatically sets the optimal shooting conditions.
Landscape mode is suitable for taking pictures of landscapes and other outdoor scenes. The camera automatically sets the optimal shooting conditions.
Night scene mode is suitable for shooting pictures in the evening or at night. The camera sets a slower shutter speed than is used in normal shooting. If you take a picture of a street at night in any other mode, the lack of brightness will result in a dark picture with only dots of light showing. In this mode, the true appearance of the street is captured. The camera automatically sets the optimal shooting conditions. If you use the flash, you can take pictures of both your subject and the night background.
Indoor mode enables you to take pictures while indoors by allowing the flash to reach farther away.
Beach & Snow
Beach & Snow mode enables you to take pictures of scenery containing white sand or snow.
Cuisine mode enables you to take pictures of food by increasing the saturation, sharpness and contrast settings to take sharp, vivid pictures of the subject.
Self-portrait mode enables you to take a picture of yourself while holding the camera. Point the lens towards yourself, and the focus will be locked on you. The camera automatically sets the optimal shooting conditions. The zoom is fixed in the wide position and cannot be changed.
QuickTime Movie mode lets you record movies with sound. The focus and zoom are locked. If the distance to the subject changes, the focus may be compromised.