Join Ben Long for an in-depth discussion in this video Why strobes instead of continuous light?, part of Advanced Photography: Flash.
- In my first flash course, we mostly talked about using flash to solve problems with existing ambient light, so we used flash to create fill, or to supplement ambient light that was already in the scene. In this course we're going to do much more extravagant things with flashes and strobes. We're going to create entire lighting designs. So why should you do this with flashes and strobes instead of continuous lights? After all, continuous lights are very easy. You turn them on and you can see where the light is, and the immediate effect that it has on your scene, as you adjust continuous lights, you immediately see the result. It's a wonderfully interactive way to work. I'll be honest, I almost never use continuous lights for still shooting, and there are two main reasons. First, to get the amount of lighting power, and I mean simply the raw amount of light that I can get from strobes, I would have to carry huge continuous lights. So for me, strobes have a great portability advantage. But more importantly, because of that extra power I have with strobes and flashes, I get complete control of the lighting in my scene for the simple reason that I have enough light to overpower the ambient light in most situations. Once I've overpowered it, I can recraft the light in my scene from scratch. Here's what I mean. We're in this bright studio with all of the lights on that are required for you to see me in that camera over there, it's a lot of light. I'm here with Natalie, Natalie has been very patient while we've been getting this going. She's been sitting there, and I say she's been very patient because she's sitting in a white void. There's not even anything for her to look at. It's colossally boring in here. It's also a situation that you think would make for a very, very bright background and a pretty light scene overall, and yet, thanks to the bright power of my flash, I can shoot this scene with her in shadowy light, with a darker background, I could get the background even darker, I could play up the shadows more. I am in complete control of the light here. If I wanted light in the background, I could put it there. With just a few small strobe units, I can have any range from dark, low-key lighting, to bright, high-key lighting. Depending on the situation, I might be able to do what I want to do with handheld flashes, in other situations, I might need larger studio strobes. In almost every situation, I will need to modify my light, whether it's a handheld flash or a studio strobe. I believe you'll have an easier time using all that equipment if you know certain questions to ask while you're lighting.
- Why use strobes instead of continuous light?
- How to think about light
- How light bounce works
- Learning lighting from existing photos
- Using a flash meter
- Simulating sunlight with shadows
- Using softboxes and umbrellas
- Calculating and using lighting ratios
- Shopping for studio strobes