How to Balance Strobes and Ambient Light

Being new to strobe lighting can be a bit overwhelming, but learning some fundamental techniques and manners of working can have you on your way. This helpful video tutorial will show you one of the most important techniques: balancing strobe light with ambient light.

Coming to you from Jay P. Morgan with The Slanted Lens, this great tutorial will show you how to balance strobes and ambient light. A lot of photographers think of working with strobes as an all or nothing proposition in which the photos are lit essentially only by strobes, but one of the most useful techniques you can use strobes for is balancing ambient light. For example, you might want to shoot a backlit sunset portrait, and exposing for the sun will leave your subject in the shadows. Adding a bit of strobe light to your subject can bring back the exact balance you want. It's a skill environmental photographers, wedding shooters, portraitists, and many others will be well served by. Furthermore, it's not as complex or mysterious a process as you might think; in fact, it's a relatively simple process. Check out the video above for the full rundown, and be sure to try it out yourself. 

Log in or register to post comments

13 Comments

Michael Jin's picture

I really wish people would just have the models walk away from the camera during the explanations rather than just having them stand there awkwardly and occasionally nodding their heads.

People are curios creatures. Keep in mind that most of the time it's most interesting thing they saw for weeks....

Michael Jin's picture

As an aside, when did we make the transition from dressing with some class when leaving the house to walking around like complete slobs?

That started over 30 years ago. Where have you been.

Michael Jin's picture

Dressing like a slob beneath my rock.

A lot of photographers who call themselves photographers only know how to use the P mode for Professional.

Ivan Lantsov's picture

he didn't straten the license plate

Marc Bee's picture

Maybe you should learn to spell before critisizing someone else publicly?

Michael Jin's picture

What relationship does his ability to spell have to his ability to critique?

Ivan Lantsov's picture

mr mark, english not first language - geh kacken !

Sei nett, Herr Lantsov.

Ryan Stone's picture

He didn’t address ISO which affects both strobe and ambient. He also didn’t address HSS which throws out the strobe-aperture correlation.

Michael Jin's picture

I'm not sure about the HSS thing. If you're metering your lights even in HSS, doesn't it still tell you the proper aperture as long as you are using a meter that has the ability to measure HSS?