Mixing flash with ambient light

Hey everyone! Finally getting through all my editing and just one more all day bridal shoot on the last day of the year. I took a couple of minutes during a shoot the other day to explain basically how I set the exposure when using flash in bright sunlight. In this case with the sun in the shot behind the subjects as I'd had a few questions asking how to get these kinds of shots.

Basically you just need to set your shutter speed to its "X" sync speed which means the maximum shutter speed your camera will allow while still working with flash (unless using high speed sync, but thats for a different tutorial). Next you want to set your ISO to the lowest native setting for your camera, usually 100 or 200. Then next comes your aperture. If your not using an ND filter then you just have to stop down until you get the correct exposure, in bright light that means generally around f10~f16 or so. The plus side of this is that if your at f16 you can get a nice sun star burst look if its in your shot and not obscured by clouds. The negative side of this is that any sensor dust you have on your sensor will present itself very clearly, especially on a blue sky which is a pain in the butt to remove if you have a lot of it. If you do have ND filters its fun to try and combine a shallow depth of field in the region of say 2.8 or even 1.4 etc.. with off camera flash. Its a really cool and different look!

In my video Im using an expensive Profoto B1 but a lot of the time Im just using speedlites like Youngnuo's or Cactus flash. And in a lot of respects I prefer the cheaper speedlights, especially if Im traveling overseas and trying to stay light as possible. Often times also I find the radio triggers made by Youngnuo and Cactus work better than my very expensive Profoto radio trigger and Pocket Wizards!! Yes its sounds crazy but the cheap ones are better in my opinion after years of use.

Anyway this is just a real simple set up with no flash diffusers or anything to worry about. I don't use TTL flash much at all as its just too unpredictable I find, especially in outdoor bright daylight like this. Manual is simple and repeatable.

Lastly of course I finish off all my images with some tweaking in Lightroom to make them pop. For these kinds of shots with lots of blue sky with clouds and sun in them I light to drop the Blue luminance channel which really can make the sky blues pop. As long as your subject isn't wearing lots of blue otherwise that will be effected also. Anyway theres my little flash tip for the day. Hope you all have a great New Years and an even better year in 2016! Happy Shooting!


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