What’s the Difference Between Ambient Light and Flash?

Written by Jared Platt on . Posted in Lighting Tips

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What’s the Difference? is a series of video lighting tutorials. Each episode responds to a single question. In this episode, Jared Platt compares ambient light and flash light. The entire series, including all videos, articles and lighting diagrams, is available here.

I am in one of the sunniest spots on planet earth. As I write this post, the weather man is talking about a cooling trend that will drop us down to 43°C (110°F). So, needless to say, I battle with the sun on a daily basis.

As a photographer, the simple and somewhat lazy solution is to find shade and shoot with ambient light. But our challenge for this shot was to compare a completely ambient shot to one where we took control and shaped the light to our liking.

With that in mind, we took our Off-Camera Flashes and our Light Shaping Tools out to the groves and went to work.

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What’s Different when You’re Shooting with High-Speed Sync?

Written by Jared Platt on . Posted in Lighting Tips

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What’s the Difference? is a series of video lighting tutorials. Each episode responds to a single question. In this episode, Jared Platt compares shooting with and without Profoto High-Speed Sync (HSS). The entire series, including all videos, articles and lighting diagrams, is available at our website. And feel free to leave a question to Jared in the comment section if you have one!

We had a great idea for a lighting challenge: take a bride and groom out on the sand dunes and make beautiful and dramatic portraits under the harsh sun using Profoto High-Speed Sync (HSS) to control the ambient light.

So, we headed out to the desert. The weather reported clouds and a 20% chance of rain, which in the desert means an 80% chance of nothing and another 20% chance of pretty much nothing. But when we arrived at our location, the weather reports did not match the scene before us. The clouds were thick and the wind was cold. We knew we were going to get rain very soon. But we had driven over three hours for this shot. So had our bride and groom. So we got out on the dunes and made the shot as quickly as possible.

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What’s the Difference Between a Bare Head and an Umbrella Deep?

Written by Jared Platt on . Posted in Lighting Tips

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What’s the Difference? is a series of video lighting tutorials. Each episode responds to a single question. In this episode, Jared Platt compares a bareheaded off-camera flash with an umbrella deep. The entire series, including all videos, articles and lighting diagrams, is available at our website. And feel free to leave a question in the comment section if you have one!

In the mountains of Utah is a little storybook valley called Midway, where we shot this child life portrait. As the sun, diffused by the thin cloud cover on the horizon, prepared to drop below the mountaintops, it threw warm light across the sky and the lake shimmered in the warm glow. It was a perfect landscape backdrop to our adventure story.

Our goal for this shoot was to compare the effect of a bareheaded flash to that of an Umbrella Deep Silver M. Our main light was the B2 Off-Camera Flash, which was used with and without the umbrella. Between our two shots, the main light was the only light we changed, but there were three total lights on the set. A single B2 battery pack was powering two B2 Heads, our main light to light the children (set off to the right of the frame), and a second light (placed off frame right behind the children) for the purposes of adding a slight rim light on the children and a little extra light on the ground behind them. To separate the second B2 Head from the battery pack, an Extension Cable 3M was used.

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What’s the Difference Between Soft Light and Hard Light?

Written by Jared Platt on . Posted in Lighting Tips

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What’s the Difference? is a series of video lighting tutorials. Each episode responds to a single question. In this episode, Jared Platt compares soft light and hard light. The entire series, including all videos, articles and lighting diagrams, is available at our website. And feel free to leave a question in the comment section if you have one!

Working in the studio, the home or any controlled environment is a great time to slow down and do a lot of light shaping. We did this recently to compare soft light and hard light. In both cases, we used the Profoto B2 Off-Camera Flash and simply changed out the OCF Light Shaping Tools.

Unlike outside shots, where the ambient exposure is determined first and the flash is used to augment that light, in the studio, we assume complete darkness and begin building our lighting from scratch.

On this set, we used two lights and a Collapsible Reflector. The hair light (high above and behind our model) was a B1 Off-Camera Flash with a Zoom Reflector and a 5º Grid. This light helped to separate her and the chair from the background and provide some depth to the shot. The main light source was a B2, which was modified first by a softbox, and then by a grid and snoot combination. A large white Collapsible Reflector laid at an angle below and in front of the chair to capture and reflect stray light back toward the chair, to keep it from falling into too deep a shadow. Finally, a black piece of foam core acted as a flag on the right side of the frame, to help even out the shadows on the barn doors behind the chair.

Again, throughout the shoot, we only changed the OCF Light Shaping Tool on the main light.

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What’s The Difference Between Shooting in Studio and On Location?

Written by Jared Platt on . Posted in Lighting Tips

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What’s the Difference? is a series of video lighting tutorials. Each episode responds to a single question. In this episode, Jared Platt compares shooting in studio and on location. The entire series, including all videos, articles and lighting diagrams, is available at our website. And feel free to leave a question in the comment section if you have one!

I am an on-location photographer – my principal photography business (weddings) requires that. When I am in the studio, economy of lights and equipment is not too critical, but when I am flying to a wedding somewhere around the world, or setting up a bridal portrait on a cliff over the Grand Canyon, I need a balance of portability and power.

For this shot, we compared photographing in studio and on location using roughly the same gear: the Profoto B2 Off-Camera Flash with an Umbrella Deep Silver M. On location, this was the only light we needed. But in the studio we had to simulate the sun and the ambient light we would get on location, so we added two B1 Off-Camera Flashes into the mix.

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