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A Quick Guide to Mixing Flash with Ambient Light

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Here’s a short 3-minute video by Australian photographer Pete Leong on how you can set your flash and camera settings to illuminate portrait subjects while a bright sun is in the background back-lighting them.

“Although I’m using a Profoto B1 in this video you can do the same basic thing with speed lights which is what I do a lot of the time also,” Leong says.

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“Basically you just need to set your shutter speed to its ‘X’ sync speed which means the maximum shutter speed your camera will allow while still working with flash,” writes Leong. “Next you want to set your ISO to the lowest native setting for your camera, usually 100 or 200.”

Finally, set your aperture for a correct exposure and adjust your flash power to properly illuminate your subjects. Here are some of Leong’s resulting portraits:

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Image credits: Video and photos by Pete Leong/fotoShisa and used with permission

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