Mixing ambient, continuous, and flash lighting

Ambient + continuous + flash notes

Sigrife, (The model in the video) and I edited the video together. She loved the cheeky comedy gold moment and wanted me to keep it in the edit.

Create Tonal Space for the Flash by Setting a darker ambient mood: Adjust your base exposure of the ambient light to be darker to enhance the effect of the flash. Start with minus two stops and take it from there.

Using Flash as Sunlight: Position a flash outside a window or an external door to simulate sunlight entering the room. Adjust the flash power to blend naturally with the ambient light, creating a sunlit effect.

Implementing Backlight: Set up a backlight on a boom to avoid having a stand in the shot. Use the backlight to enhance the subject's outline and add depth to the image. Try and make the backlight look natural like it’s a result of the sunlight.

Fine-tune the Exposure: Experiment with different settings to get the right exposure balance. Adjust the flash power incrementally to achieve the perfect blend of flash and ambient light.

Refining Key and Back Lights: Make any last-minute adjustments to the key light and backlight to perfect the lighting on the subject. Ensure the backlight doesn’t create a lens flare.

External Flash Setup: Make final power adjustments to the sunlight flash. Capture the final image, ensuring the balance between key light, backlight, and simulated sunlight is perfect.

Directing the Subject: Guide the posing and interaction with props like a drink. Direct the subject’s gaze and body positioning to complement the lighting setup. Don't forget to create the moment to capture.


With a decent lighting rig, even a kitchen work surface can be a good location for a portrait.

Stick with it.

Nothing gets more complicated than this so once you have this in your locker you can take on anything.

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