21. Sunset location flash

Using flash at sunset to create stunning fashion shoots is the aim of this chapter. With the help of some simple location lighting just to fill in the light Karl is able to take some stunning photos in a picturesque field of flowers and explains how you could create similar results with a reflector if you are on a lower budget or simply cant take the studio lights with you!


  1. I do not think I have yet seen you go above 100 ISO Karl. Have you… do you ever? I guess you get no noise with 100 ISO so you get more flexibility enlarging etc.
    Oh and my name is Stephanie I cringe when I hear “Steph” sounds like an infection to me hahahaha! I prefer my nickname “Stevie” 🙂

    1. Hi Stephanie, I will avoid going over 100ISO on my Canon if I can help it and I avoid going over 50ISO on my H5 if I can help it. In every shooting situation I will keep the ISO to the lowest value I can in order to minimise noise and maximise image quality. Of course there are situations on low light where getting the shot is more important and in those cases then of course going up to 800 or 1600 is worth it. Also it’s worth pointing out that ISO800 today looks like yesteryears ISO100 so the higher ISO settings quality is getting better and better all the time so you can comfortably use them if needed. I shot this image at ISO 800 on CMOS version chip and the results were stunning even blown up big https://karltaylorportfolio.com/overview/eurzon6rq9tifc0m2wuw1igsnw9e9e

  2. Hi Karl, really enjoying watching all the informative content you’ve created. Please can I ask how you power the heads on this shoot?

    1. Hi Tim, we used a portable power inverter. It’s basically a big rechargeable battery that you can plug stuff into.

  3. Hi Karl, greetings from Panama.
    I visited your studio for the second time earlier this year taking advantage of my business trip, the first time you were traveling to Singapore. Is a fantastic experience to be learning from someone so experienced, detailed oriented and passionate about what he does for a living.
    What I want to ask you is whether you can get such lighting effect, at least similar, with speedlites?

    1. Hi Diwan, I hope you are well. You can do a lot with speedlites but the biggest problem is modifying the light with certain modifiers because the illumination from a speedlite is only from the front rectangle surface whereas a studio light the flash eminates in multiple directions. However speedlites still work well with silver umbrellas and softboxes, so yes you could accomplish a shoot like this.

  4. karl did you add a CTO gel to the strobes .. i noticed an orange hue when the flash discharged but i was just checking

    i have issues with colour temperature on models faces when shooting near golden hour, would you advise the use of a CTO gel

    also would you use a CTO or CTB closer to midday where the light is a lot harsher or would you go without gel as the flash is already daylight balanced ?

    thank you so much for the videos and i cant wait to see more !

    1. Hi Jack, no in this shot i didn’t but in another module I do. For middle of the day there is no need for the gel as the flash/studio lights are a colour temperature of 5600k which is the same as midday sun. If it is overcast and you want to make your flash colder to match then a CTB gel would be an idea. CTO gels are when it is magic/golden hour and the colour temperature of the light is more like 3600K. To understand more about colour temperature view the module called ‘understanding light’ in the course ‘Light Source’ in the ‘Portrait’ section. Cheers Karl.

  5. Hi Karl, what time is best to use reflective umbrellas in portrait shoots? I get a bit confused when taking photos during the day when there is harsh light from the sun.

    1. Hi Tabitha, there is no best time. Each type of modifier gives a different ‘look’, softbox, white brolly, silver brolly, para, they all provide a different quality of light and therefore you have to choose the best tool for the job. Learn more on this topic in the first 15 chapters in the ‘Portrait’ section.

  6. Karl, you mentioned using the .3 ND filter bring down shutter speed to camera sync duration. Wont these professional flash units go to high speed sync speeds?

    1. Hi Chris, the flash can sync, the problem is DSLRs can’t. They can only currently attain shutter sync speeds of 1/250th or thereabouts which is not fast enough to cut out all the daylight that I wanted to cut out, so using and ND filter cuts it out and I just need to turn up the flash power to compensate. For your information medium format cameras such as the Hasselblad H6 can sync up 1/2000th because they use a different shutter system called a leaf shutter which is in the lens not the camera body.


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