Using Flash to Properly Light Your Subject (Regardless of Weather!)


Today’s feature is from .

Karen says:

“This is a maternity session done in the winter, but the weather was pretty mild. The couple dressed in some retro clothing for the session with the antique cars, which was awesome.”

Karen’s Photography Tip:

Getting even lighting for your subjects and maintaining the integrity of the background of your images (in other words, not blowing out the background) can be tricky.

To remedy this, I use an off-camera flash with an SB800 speed light and a white umbrella.  I then have my assistant hold the flash with umbrella at approximately 45 degrees to the side of the clients and slightly above eye level.

I have found that this produces a soft, beautiful light that most people don’t realize is actually flash.

And since I prefer to have complete control over the lighting in my images, I set both the flash and camera on manual.

This technique allows me to light my subjects and keep my background in tact. If I were not using flash, my other options for lighting my subjects would be to either expose for their faces and blow out the background, or have them face into the sun, which will more than likely make them squint and be uncomfortable (which will definitely show in your final images!).

Using flash with some type of modifier (umbrella, softbox, etc), will produce beautiful light and will give you control over how your images look without depending on the sun or lack thereof for light.

I therefore never worry about whether there is sun, clouds, shade, etc. because I know that I will be capable of accurately lighting my subjects regardless of natural lighting conditions during the time of the shoot.





Karen used a Nikon D300s with a Nikon 18-200 VR lens to capture these images.

Karen Skelly is a Durango CO Weddings, Portraits, Events, and Commercial photographer.

See more tips on Lighting.

Still need a little help with mastering flash photography? The Portrait Lighting guide from Simple SLR is designed to help you master using the flash for portraiture photography. Click here to check it out!



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