Mastering Light: Balancing Ambient and Flash

Understanding how to use ambient light and flash together can greatly improve your versatility. Natural light conditions are unpredictable, and knowing how to work with them can make or break your shoot.

Coming to you from Jiggie Alejandrino, this insightful video explains how to balance ambient light with a flash. Alejandrino shares his approach during a workshop in San Fernando La Union. Despite the cloudy weather that day, which dulled the sunset, he adjusted his techniques to still achieve stunning results. Knowing how to modify your setup when conditions aren't ideal can save a shoot and produce unique and beautiful images.

The video emphasizes the importance of using the existing ambient light creatively. Alejandrino demonstrates positioning the model to make the most of the sun as a hair light. He then uses a Profoto B10X Plus as the main light. This combination allows for a balanced exposure where both the natural and artificial lights complement each other. 

Alejandrino shows his camera’s live view, giving you a real-time look at his adjustments and thought process. This transparency helps you understand not just the how, but the why behind each decision. He also deals with common issues like model positioning and light adjustments. For instance, he modifies the flash power to prevent overexposure and adjusts the model’s pose for optimal light direction. These small tweaks are the difference between an average and an excellent photo. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Alejandrino.

If you would like to continue learning about how to light a portrait, be sure to check out "Illuminating The Face: Lighting for Headshots and Portraits With Peter Hurley!"

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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