High-Speed Sync Location Lighting

Working on location with studio lights can present a number of challenges – finding the right location, choosing suitable equipment and combining multiple light sources, to name just a few.

In this portrait photography class, Karl goes for a dark and mysterious forest fashion shot, explaining the advantages of high-speed synchronization to cut out ambient light for creative effect – even at maximum aperture.

In this class:

  • Portrait photography: Photographing on location
  • Photographing with flash on location
  • Studio lighting modifiers for working on location
  • High speed synchronization

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Hi, high sync speed is ok for outside but is it necessary in the studio ? I am interested in food, product, portrait photography , I am looking for Siros 400s and 800s. 400s is lighter than 800s thats why I would like to buy 400s but it has no hs , i wonder that hs in studio is important ? thank you


    1. Hi Zihni, no fast flash duration or HSS is not important in the studio unless you intend to shoot things like liquids flying around for falling food or jumping models or anything with fast movement. You don’t need HSS though if you have the ability to black your studio as the fast flash duration of good studio lights will do the freezing for you as long as your room is dark enough. Please see the lighting theory section on flash duration to understand more.

  2. castlewolfpictures

    When working on location outdoors like this, without assistants as I often am, is there “quick” system for setting up your bare bulb or reflector hair light? In a studio or low light setting I can use the modeling lamp. I may be answering my own question but I assume instead of key light first to set the hair light and then move to the key light as it’s much bigger and more obvious.

    Apologies if it’s been covered in another course-I’m working through them.

    1. Hi, I actually don’t even give it that much thought. As in this case I’ll look at the natural direction of the sunlight that I want to emulate as a hair light and in this case it was from behind her on my right. For hair lights they really have to be behind the model on above or behind at 45 degree (like this one) because you’re using them with a standard reflector they throw out a lot of light so I just set the flash power and then take a test shot and then if I’m using any sync speed camera I’ll adjust the power of the flash burst and if I’m locked into a High Sync Speed power then I just mov the light further or closer to change it’s effective power (or put ND gels on it if necessary). All the best Karl.

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