Balancing ambient and flash light 2017-05-29T16:22:23+00:00

Project Description

Outdoor photo session - Balancing ambient and flash

Having a perfect balance between the ambient and flash light will mean that the flash is acting as a fill light. That's ok and works well, but to create a more dramatically lit portrait requires a difference balance.


  1. Michael Davis June 22, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    Hi Bernie,
    I really like your course — there’s a very genuine aspect about it.
    Question on the video/photo with girl walking toward you and flash to her left. (along path lined with trees, outside)
    The video said, 1/250 ss. yes, I get that – cuts out as much ambient as possible while staying in sync with flash.
    ISO 100. Yes, I get that for above reasons.
    f/8 on camera. Yes, that is about 1.5 stops down from ambient for the dramatic affect.
    flash on full power – this I DONT get. Shouldn’t the flash be matched to your camera’s f/8? I’m guessing that the flash at full power will be f/16 or more power.
    Why isn’t the flash matched to your camera?

    • Bernie June 24, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Hi Michael, thanks for the question, I’m on holiday with limited wi-fi, but will respond shortly

    • Bernie June 24, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      Hi Mark,

      Yes,the flash should put out approximately the equivalent of amount of light to the camera’s aperture. I can’t play the video because of the limited wi-fi, so I’m guessing a bit here about the settings I’d used. But had I been using a flash meter, I would have set the flash power to give me about F8, measured at the point where’s Grace’s head was going to be. But because I wasn’t using a flash meter, I just guessed that the flash power should be set to full or half power (I can’t remember which). I would have taken a couple of test shots beforehand with Grace standing at the right position. You say that as a guess the flash puts out f16 at full power, but remember that the flash power is affected by the flash to subject distance, so yes, it may provide f16 at 1 meter away, but not at say 3 meters away. Quite often in these circumstances, a single speedlight won’t provide enough power, so full power is a good starting point, and if that doesn’t provide enough light, then you have to move the flash closer to the subject, and if that isn’t enough, you need more light!

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