Natural light portrait with flash

This photography class follows on from the previous chapter, where Karl explained how to take natural light portraits. Here, he demonstrates how fill in flash from a simple flash gun can also work to good effect for outdoor portrait photography.

Karl also covers the technical aspects of how to use a flash, including how to change the output power and colour balance.

In this photography class we cover the following:

  • How to take great portrait photographs
  • Outdoor portrait photography using speedlites
  • Flash photography tips when working outdoors
  • How to control flash output power
  • Changing colour balance of flash

NOTE: This photography class is available with English subtitles.


  1. Hi Karl, I have a question, when I use the speedlite as you teach , and I turn the camera to M mode , and when I look into camera finder the light metter is not moving to the focus as usual when I am not using speedlight , its make me couldnot find the focus . Coold you expalin to me please? should I move the ligtmetter to the point of thecenter.
    I am using triger manytime , but the lightnetter still moving and easy to find the focus area. Thank you

  2. Hi Karl, so happy to learn from you 🙂
    Just noticed that the equipment list says Canon 5D Mark III
    Canon 85mm f/1.2 Prime, while the Cam you’re using is 1 DX 🙂


  3. Hello Karl, quick question. How do you adjust the exposure when shooting directly into the sun as to not have the subject looking silhouette – ish. Would you even use a ND or polarizing filter?

    1. Hi DaRon, if you start in our ‘Essentials’ section I teach you how to fully understand using your camera in Manual. Once this knowledge is aquired (takes about 2 hours and a couple of days of practise) then you will know exactly how to adjust your exposure when shooting into the sun. Cheers Karl.

    1. Hi Wei, in this case it was better to have the flash direct at the model as it was almost directly backlit so it would have probably looked a bit unnatural if it was coming from the side. But in many other situations it is nicer to use off camera flash.

  4. Please I want to ask you something very important, are you making some edits to the photo befor you show it to us ?

    1. Hi Lachen not on the photos in this particular chapter or many others. In the fashion and beauty chapters there is burn and dodge work mostly and skin retouching but you can learn how to do that in our ‘Post Production’ section.

  5. Hi Karl,

    Do you recommend flash diffusers in such occasions to get a softer light on the model’s face? If not, why please?

    1. Hi Jocie, a small flash diffuser used outdoors will have little impact because it barely makes the light source and large which is what is needed to soften the light – please watch this chapter to learn why: small flash diffusers that allow the flash to exit sideways and hit the internal walls in a small space do have some benefit, however in a large space they are useless.

  6. hi Karl
    can I ask please if when using flash In natural light., and you want to create a scene where the background is almost/ completely blackout while keeping your model correctly lite
    what setting is required, with your ISO set low maybe 50-100 an aperture starting at about f/5.6 to f/16?? Shutter speed at 1/125s+.
    Do I expose for the model, or expose for the background and let the flash light the model etc.
    Thanks for your feed back,

    1. Hi Prathesh, in this case I just put the flash in manual mode, start at a low power and then just increase it until you get to the power of light that looks good, this is exactly how you work with studio lighting (even on location) so this is how I work with small speedlites too.

Leave a Comment