Flash and Natural Light

Before you take your lights (and model) into the forest, make sure you know how to get the best possible results.

When you’re shooting on location, you need to be prepared to deal with the elements. Shifting light, changeable weather and busy backgrounds are just some of the challenges you may face. In this easy-to-follow class, Karl shows you how to handle all three!

Discover how to capture enigmatic and alluring black-and-white images by balancing portable flash lighting perfectly with ambient natural light.

The techniques Karl demonstrates will be easy to replicate in your own photography once you’ve watched a professional put them to work.

In this class:

  • Portrait photography: photographing on location
  • How to use studio flash on location
  • Black and white portrait photography
  • Studio lighting modifiers for working on location
  • Balancing shutter speed, aperture and flash

If you enjoy this class, try Fashion Photography on Location Using Speedlights and Flash On Location

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.



  1. You had me cringing with that intense music I was expecting the poor model to fall and injure herself! 🤣 I broke my leg not quite two years ago (not by jumping, just slipped a little on some loose dirt and pop!) so I was bracing for it in the video. Usually the music is spot on but this video it totally threw me off.

  2. It would be interesting if you talk a little bit about the settings in the camera. There are many people just learning and would be easier for them to understand how HSS works related with ISO and aperture. Also, you should explain how you first deal with the ambient light to get better results.

    1. Hi Eddy, that is all covered in our Lighting Theory sections which are designed to be watched before these classes in the order they appear on the website. The top menu of our site is also in order of complexity from left to right. Unfortunately it would become rather disengaging for many viewers if the same information was repeated in every class when it was covered specifically earlier on in the appropriate section. Kind regards Karl.

  3. Hi Karl, is it possible to achieve this kind of photography with Speedlights? For the ones of us that don’t have the budget to buy a strobe. Thanks!

    1. Hi Daniel, yes it is, in fact you will see me doing similar shots with speedlites elsewhere on this platform. The main disadvantage of speedlites are less power and less options of modifiers to attach to them.

  4. Hi Karl,
    How do you get the light to travel so far through the soft, i seem to struggle unless fairly close what flash power do you use and also ur camera settings.

    1. Hi Rich, I was shooting these at quite a large aperture to keep the background soft, probably f2.8 or about that. The flash units I was using had up to 800Joules of power so it would have been easy to get enough light and i’m pretty sure I was using them on less than power 10, so for example power 9 would have been 400J, power 8 would have been 200J.

  5. black & white are great. love the set up . were only using 16-35 lens you said your were changing lens ? great work again Karl and model
    thanks frank garvan

  6. Thank you Karl. You have given me some ideas. I would love to see pics with just the Natural Light vs Natural Light + Flash for comparison. I shoot predominantly in natural light only as its obviously much easier.. and am always looking for a way to minimize equipment.

  7. I hope she was paid well for freezing and have difficulty in those spike heels in the forest. Nice results though.

    1. Hi Tony, she was paid very well and was also one of the hardest working models. She was as keen to make great shots as we were!

  8. Can you tell me something about Aperture and Speed to each picture? Whitch ISO did you choose?

    Regards Sascha

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