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Outside Photography Tip: Make Your Outside Images POP by Balancing Daylight and External Strobe

Marcie Outside at Wind Chime For the shot on the left, I balanced the strobe with the existing daylight. I'll go into more details below of how I set this shot up as well as the equipment that was used.

The model was in a shaded walkway area between two office condo buildings.  I wanted the bright light that you see behind her to help make the image pop.  The daylight reading was f/5.6 which I adjusted the camera via ISO and Shutter Speed to get.  Although I was on manual, you could set your camera for aperture priority at f/5.6 or on manual at f/5.6 and get the meter to even out based on the f/stop by adjusting your shutter speed and potentially ISO if needed.  I purposely slightly over exposed the image, so my meter was NOT exactly even at f/5.6.

I used a C-stand with a boom arm mounted with an Einstein strobe and a 22 inch beauty dish.  I used two sand bags on the C-stand to keep it from tipping over.  I adjusted the strobe manually instead of using a light meter.  With the adjustment on the strobe, I shot a few images until the light looked like it was balanced.  If I had of used a light meter, I could have adjusted it to f/5.6 to match it with the daylight.

***Equipment List...
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 70-200mm F2.8
Pocket Wizard
Paul C. Buff 640 WS Einstein (Strobe)
Paul C. Buff 22 Inch Beauty Dish (White)
Paul C. Buff Vagabond Mini (Outside Power)
C-Stand with Boom Arm and Sandbag
Visit Paul C. Buff

***As for equipment, depending on where you are with your photography, you may not have most of the items listed and you may not be shooting with professional gear. That's OK! You have to start where you are and use what you have. If you have a camera, a lens and a flash, you can still try to balance daylight and strobe together to create a similar shot.

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David Williams

About The Author: David Williams is a professional still photographer and videographer focusing on corporate and commercial work. His love for still photography began in 1982 while still in High School. David started making money at photography in 1982. David and his wife Brenda started working together in photography in 1988 when they met and were married in 1989. Brenda is the photo editor for the business. David and Brenda have two daughters in their 20's. Please be sure to get a quote for services if needed: our goal is to respond as promptly as possible. You may also call David direct at 919.628.2902. You may share this content using the larger social icons above this bio section. You may find David on various social platforms by clicking the smaller icons to the left of this paragraph under David's headshot. Please visit our home page as well.