Achieve natural-looking outdoor portraits by balancing ambient and artificial light


posted Friday, January 6, 2017 at 6:00 AM EST


Texas-based portrait photographer Francisco Hernandez doesn’t want to eliminate ambient light with his off-camera flashes, but rather he wants to mix ambient and artificial light to create nice, natural-looking results. It can be quite tricky to get the balance correct, so he has created a behind the scenes video showing him on location.

What you will need to achieve similar results are off-camera flashes (or just one flash, as you can achieve a lot with a flash and a reflector) capable of shooting with high speed sync. When working with bright ambient light, you will often need to use fast shutter speeds and your flash(es) must be up to the task.

During the course of the shoot in the video below, Hernandez used a Canon 6D camera with a Canon 135mm f/2L lens. His lighting was provided by Flashpoint XPLOR 600 TTL flashes, which you can find at our trusted affiliate, Adorama.

What makes the video so good, especially for those who are new to using off-camera flash, is how Hernandez not only shares the settings he used during each image, but shows comparisons highlighting the difference between balancing artificial and ambient light and overpowering the natural light with flash. Lighting choice is certainly a personal preference, but I prefer the more balanced results. To see more from Francisco Hernandez, visit his website and follow him on Instagram.

(Seen via DIY Photography)