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Using strobe lights outside can add pop to images

Many photographers use strobe lights outside, along with natural light, to achieve a desired look in a photograph.

Strobe lights workshop

This last week I took part in a lighting workshop in Kansas City during which we used strobe lighting while shooting outside. The workshop was put on by Sallee Photography of Dallas.

Dancer on a bench

These two photos show the difference between the same photo with one using additional strobe lights and one not using extra lights

I realize that the average person may not understand why flash lighting is being used outside when there already is plenty of light. I once had a client ask me that very question.

There is more than one answer. Sometimes the sun is so bright that strobe lighting is used to overpower the sun. Photographers may want to lighten someone’s face and eyes. Often when shooting in shadows a little more light is needed for the photograph. Changing camera settings to obtain the needed light on a subject may result in other parts of the photograph being too light.

Girl in hat stands in front of ferris wheel

A strobe light was focused on the girl’s face

This is why I have long used additional strobe lighting when I shoot outside. I see photographers all the time not using extra lighting. I, on the other hand, will usually be seen carrying a light stand with a small flash or larger strobe light on it. I feel this gives me just the pop of light I need to make the photo better.

The lighting workshop explored different ways of using light and where strobe lighting should be placed when shooting outside.

Girl in red dress sits on a bench looking to the side.

Strobe lights were placed at both sides of the subject

During the lighting workshop, sometimes the lights were on a light stand in front of the subject. Sometimes they were held at an angle above the subject’s head. Sometimes the lights were placed both in front and behind the subject. Each movement of the lights would achieve a slightly different look.

Girl leans against white wall

Lights were placed in front and behind the subject.

Girl wearing hat and jeans sits in a tree

One light was placed on the subject

I learned some new lessons at this workshop and had a great time photographing the models that were hired to pose for us.

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