Learning Off-Camera Flash: Balancing Flash Outdoors

In photography, we are always looking for the best lighting for our subject, but when we don’t have the ability to choose the location or need to create interesting and dramatic lighting on the go, we need to be able to use the light we bring with us. This involves starting at the fundamentals and learning how to balance your flash and the ambient outdoor lighting.

For some photographers, the idea of adding a strobe or a flash can be very intimidating, and that’s absolutely fine if you feel that way. We all started out with the exact same amount of experience, and learning how to use flash or additive lighting will help you see light and the interesting and unique possibilities that off-camera flash can offer. Coming to you from Rob Hall is a great mini tutorial on balancing flash and ambient lighting outdoors.

In this very quick and down to the fundamentals tutorial, Hall walks you through creating an ambient lighting-only image. He then progresses through the basic steps to balance the lighting or remove the ambient almost completely so your subject is now on a near-black background. This is all done outside and by only changing one setting on the camera.

What are some basics to flash photography you’ve taught to other photographers? Have there been any fundamentals that have repeatedly worked for you over the years?

JT Blenker's picture

JT Blenker, Cr. Photog., CPP is a Photographic Craftsman and Certified Professional Photographer who also teaches workshops throughout the USA focusing on landscape, nightscape, and portraiture. He is the Director of Communications at the Dallas PPA and is continuing his education currently in the pursuit of a Master Photographer degree.

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