Location Portrait - One Light
I wanted to write this post about using Off Camera Flash when shooting outdoors and how much it can add to your photography.
The use of speedlights/strobes when shooting outdoors is not necessary and you can create images perfectly fine. However to add contrast and give an image dimension, lights help massively.
The image seen above could have been shot with ambient but the results would have been very different. That day the weather was very overcast with chance of rain... It was pretty dark. Especially the location of the model. Kush was in the bushes which made it darker. Flash here was needed and I think the end result is pretty nice - The setup here was a Godox 850 speedlight shot in to a Silver Beauty Dish.
Had this been shot this with ambient, it would have been too flat and no separation of the model/background.
When you are shooting on location is conditions like this shoot was, flash can be used to replace what the sun can do for you on a bright sunny day. The only thing you can't do with the sun is move it to suit the location. This is another reason why flash/strobes can be effective when outdoors.
In this picture I wanted the flash to hit the left side of his face to give nice directional light and separate him from the background. Doing this also added a lot of contrast to the image.
Here is a diagram of the setup:
The Beauty dish has very quickly become my favorite lighting modifier. It was a few qualities I love about it.
- It has a natural vignette
- With a grid you can really control the direction of light
- The light falls off very rapidly
I love it even more when using it outdoors as the wind does not knock it over! I love soft boxes and umbrella's, however they have one big drawback. And that is when used on a day with a little wind they become like sails on a boat.... They fall over unless sandbagged down.
The Beauty Dish is relatively aerodynamic and the wind really doesn't bother it... Win Win, beautiful light and it doesn't blow over when you sneeze!
Here is an example of the natural vignette the beauty dish gives:
To sum it up, I personally always try to use flash when shooting out on location... Even just one light can make a real difference to your pictures. Of course you can add more lights to the setup if you wish but sometimes one is more than enough.
A huge thank you to the Model Kush, he is a professional dancer from London and did a great job for the shoot.
- Nikon D700
- Sigma 24-70 2.8 / Sigma 70 - 200 2.8
- Godox v850 speedlight & Triggers
- Silver Beauty Dish