How to Get Natural Light or Dramatic Light When Using Flash

Long-time friend of Fstoppers, Pye Jirsa, goes over how to properly light a scene for the punchy and dramatic look, or the balanced and natural look when using flash.

Using flash is a daunting first step for photographers. There seem to be so many variables involved and in a way there are, but light is light and once you understand how it works, you can bend it to your will. Pye Jirsa is a superb portrait photographer and regularly uses off-camera strobes and flash guns to create portraits of all descriptions; from well-balanced, natural scenes through to high contrast, fashion-style images. In this video he has teamed up with Adorama to go through how you decide what settings to use for whatever look you want, in four steps.

I always gravitate towards balance, natural looking strobe light for most of my photography, although I do enjoy the higher contrast in my black and white images. What I would say is that these steps are brilliant and if you're feeling unsure about controlling your off-camera lights, it's a surefire way to get the result you were after. However, don't feel as if you'll always have to go through this sort of effort to correctly expose a shot for your intention. After a while both the camera settings and the light settings and positions become second nature.

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