Lighting up outside

When I started out taking photographs, I was an outdoor shooter using only ambient light. The thought of using flash outdoors didn’t really interest me. I shot photographs outside mostly during the day in great light and I would adjust my camera settings to compensate for low light images at sunset which turned out pretty good.

Flash ahead 25 years and over time I learned that the low light photography or the magic hour is the best time to capture phenomenal images and why professional photographers use heavy prime glass with wide apertures. It’s all about the light as we know. Over time I have collected my own set of glass and additional hardware to my toolkit such as off camera flashes.

With that said, I have made strides to capture portraits both inside and outside using strobe lights. I heard a professional from one of my photo groups tell me that once you start using strobes you will always use strobes. I can certainly agree to that.

As a continual education student with my NYIP learning, I am tasked to practice this more often. Here are the results showing how the strobes/flashes can make all the difference depending on the type of look you want to achieve. The perfect balance is to capture enough ambient light while highlighting the subject without looking like they are popping out of the frame.

Below are a sample of different ways to light your subject outdoors using one strobe with a grid to the left of the camera.

Taking a meter reading from the camera or light meter will indicate the correct exposure. In my creative eyes, knowing the right exposure allows you to also make slight adjustments if needed to achieve a desired effect you and your client are happy with. The aperture and ISO controls the strobe while the shutter speed controls the ambient light.

f/2.8, 1/40, at 66mm, 200
f2.8, 1/60, at 60mm, 200
f/2.8, 1/250, at 60mm, 200

I like the overall look of each image and the subject is lit up nicely. The darker background shows what happens when your ambient light fades and the shutter speed is not adjusted. My strobe light was constant while the ambient light changed.

With so much rain here in the Chicagoland area, finding a moment between the raindrops is another challenge that photographers both love and hate. That dramatic weather creates some of the most amazing night skies of color and patterns. Some of the best images are taken just after the rain.

Happy Shooting rain or shine.

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