By using a speedlight you will have more control over the scene you trying to create. In this post I will share with you four tips to using a speedlight for your portraits. It is lighting in a bottle that you can carry anywhere with you, so why not take advantage! Compared to studio lighting it is an inexpensive alternative yet you can achieve the same quality and look.

Tip 1. Create Drama

With a single speedlight you can add drama/mood to any scene you are trying to create. Say for example you are taking portraits at the beach during golden hour. By using a speedlight you can light your model from the front while keeping the golden skies in the background! Without it your model will be a silhouette - which can be nice if its the look you are going for.

Tip 2. Separate the Model from the background

Do you ever find yourself looking at your photos and wanting more depth in your photos? I did. There are many ways to achieve this like: using a lens with a f stop of 2.8 or lower (35mm or 50mm are my favorites), asking your model to take a few steps away from the background, using leading lines, and the list goes on. A fun and easy way I learned was to use a speedlight.

Tip 3. Freeze Motion

With a speedlight you get two exposures. One exposure from the ambient light and the second from the speedlight. You can take advantage of this when trying to capture motion. Say you are photographing skateboarders. If using a speedlight you can capture the skater tack sharp (speedlight exposure) while the background will blur (ambient light exposure).

Tip 4. Natural-Looking Fill Flash

If you are wanting a more natural looking flash I recommend using your camera on Manual Mode and your speedlight on TTL Mode (Through The Lens Mode is allowing you speedlight dictate just how much flash power you need therefore not giving you the"flash look"). With your camera on Manual Mode and your speedlight on TTL Mode you can eliminate the effects of the ambient light then concentrate on the effects of your speedlight.

The video below shows you more ways to use a speedlight outdoors.

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