Why would you use flash outdoors?

So why would you use flash outdoors during the day?

Sometimes it is obvious: to fill in shadows on backlit subjects. Or to soften hard shadows. But sometimes you do it for more artistic reasons.

Let me illustrate this with a shot taken during the Get Out and Shoot run we did in Toronto early this week – the workshop I wrote recently.

Imagine you are shooting someone – me, say – on a bright day, but in a spot where I am in the shade against the shady side of a grey building. Before you know it you get a dull picture: grey and low-contrast on all counts: blaah.

So that’s when you bring out the flashes. Say, two remote “slave” flashes, fired by a “master” flash on the camera. One slave to the camera’s left, shining into a Honl reflector, and aimed at the subject’s face, to add bright light to the subject. The second flash is equipped with a Honl Speedstrap and on it, a green gel, and this flash is aimed at the grey wall behind the subject to make it less grey.

Now you get this:

Outdoors Flash

Outdoors Flash Used During the Day

You will agree, I hope, that this is a lot better than it would have been without the help of flash. Even, no, especially, on this bright day.

Want to learn about all this stuff: read here of course, but also: join me for training.

(Thanks to colleague photographer Rob Corrado for the picture)

2 thoughts on “Why would you use flash outdoors?

  1. A disadvantage of flash is that you don’t get what you see, moreover I never carry slave flashes with me in the streets 🙂

    Instead of using lots of technical stuff, you could try another location. I let the available light lead my eye. Of course that makes me dependent on luck, so I do understand the pros with all their gear!

  2. Oh but you do get what you see – albeit, you see this for only 1/100th of a second.

    Seriously though – two sides of the same coin. Yes you are right – I can shoot in available light. Or, with flash, I can shoot just where I want to shoot, because of flash. And I can make it creative – yes, alter things, as artists do.

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