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. Hello Karl,

    My biggest problem is that I watch a lot of your videos naturally, but I don’t go out and practice enough.
    That said, here is my question:
    When you shoot in manual mode with a flash. do you let the camera do auto focus? I am constantly driven to use auto everything. If you don’t are there any videos that you made explain this?
    Also, this may seem really dumb, but when I am looking at my photos on my computer (Jpeg only. Don’t have Lightroom yet). and when I zoom in, most of the time the picture starts to get more blurry. When you zoom in on your videos, they are perfect.
    Any advice please?

    Thank You

    1. Hi, I’ll try my best to answer each of your points
      1. The camera aperture and shutter speed and ISO are in manual. The autofocus does not need to be.
      2. If your pictures are blurry when you zoom in then either the resolution of the camera is not high enough and/or you are shooting in a low res jpeg mode. You will need to check your menu of your camera.

  2. I’m hoping to shoot high-speed sink with a gorgeous model in the next 2 weeks. I only have one battery powered light though…. I just hope on the day we have some bright sun in the afternoon to act as a rim light/backlight!

    I’ve done this before but not for a good few years. You certainly demonstrated what impressive results you can get with more than one light! Excellent work!

  3. Absolutely loving your work and lighting methods Karl.
    You are such an inspiration and have taught me so much. By far the best photography school in the world.

    Thank you so much,
    Regards Peter

  4. Hello,
    How you could do this shoot with 16-35 mm lens? You did a heavy crop..? It does not looks like it has been heavily cropped , but with the 16-35 mm lens it would be different with out crop.

    1. Hi It may have been at 28mm or 30mm or 35mm none of which would need a crop, I don’t think it was at 16mm?

  5. Hi Karl,

    Fantastic results on this shot. You are a living myth!!! πŸ™‚
    What kind of retouching did you add to the picture, if any?

    Regards and thanks,


  6. Hello, Karl.
    Stunning images. Could you tell me, please, if you used continuous focusing or you pre-focused (having in mind the spot in which you were planning to fire) for the shots where Debra ran?
    By the way, the effort of the entire crew and especially Debra’s is to be appreciated.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Bogdan, I prefocused. That’s my usual technique for these type of shots as you will also see in ‘Fashionscape’ and some of the other fashion modules.

  7. Hi Karl,

    Love these motion shots. Due to the nature of this technique, is it professionally acceptable if the face and eyes are not quite as tack sharp as a still portrait (though I must say, your movement photos look bang-on every time)?

    1. Hi Peter, as many of these the model is some distance away or it’s on a wider angle lens it’s actually easier to get them sharp than on a close up portrait. For example at these distances on a full length figure then if the models body is in focus then the face and eyes will be too as long as the flash is also freezing the movement.

  8. Hi @karl how could you achieve the shot with high speed sync and motion subject ? As I knew that high speed sync doesn’t free the motion right ?

    1. Hi TP, I don’t quite understand the question? HSS can freeze well if at very high shutter speeds or high speed flash (short duration) can freeze too?

  9. Hello Karl.
    I have the Nikon D810 I do not have Broncolour but rather Aurora studio speed lights. Do I need hs radio triggers, Currently I have Pocket wizards 2 plus. I just need a little direction.
    I am enjoying your videos.

    1. Hi Daryl, I’m afraid i’m not up to speed with all the different brands and what they have to offer. I thought some of the pocket wizards had a HS mode but it will also depend on the flash unit too, you best consult the manuals i’m afraid.

    1. Hi Wayne, yes absolutely even 2000th would work for this type of shot as long as your daylight isn’t too bright. If it is you can always add an ND filter on the lens.

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