Here’s How to Shoot Better Outdoor Portrait Photos by Balancing Ambient Light and Flash (VIDEO)

Natural looking outdoor portraits can be difficult to make, especially under harsh lighting conditions. Using flash can help you meet this challenge, but only if you employ the proper technique.

In the helpful tutorial below, you’ll learn a simple method for shooting great outdoor portraits under just about any lighting situation. The trick is to understand how to combine ambient sunlight and flash, without either light source overpowering the other.

David Bergman is a top celebrity and sports photographer, and in less than three minutes he’ll eliminate any apprehension you may have about using flash outdoors. He explains that the goal with this technique is to balance foreground and background illumination so that the exposures for each are relatively the same.

While it’s not possible to change the amount of light falling on a distant background, you can modify camera settings to make the background appear lighter or darker. Bergman explains how to select the ideal background exposure, and make it easy to properly illuminate a foreground subject with flash.

Bergman demonstrates how to control your flash for perfect outdoor portraits, whether you’re using a strobe in manual mode, or a TTL speedlight. In the latter case, it’s a simple matter to use exposure compensation to dial the output up or down for a natural looking, balanced result.

You can find more shooting tips on the AdoramaTV YouTube channel, and be sure to look at another Bergman tutorial we posted, explaining how to improve portrait photrographs by first photographing your hand.