Fashion photography on location using speedlites

Karl demonstrates a simple fashion shoot in Joshua Tree National Park in the US using just speedlites and umbrellas.

Using the setting sun to backlight the subject, Karl uses the speedlites to make his subject stand out against the backdrop of the desert. He explains his lighting setup and camera settings and demonstrates how this simple setup can make a big difference.

In this photography class we cover the following:

  • How to do a fashion shoot on location
  • Fashion lighting setup using speedlites
  • Camera settings for fashion photography

NOTE: This photography class is available with English subtitles.



  1. Outdoor umbrellas are better then soft box? And is possible to have same result with not so many speedlights ?

    1. Hi, Umbrellas are generally easier to handle on location (if there’s no wind) because they are quick to assemble. They also reflect more light (depending on the shape) so you get more juice out of your speedlite. How many speedlites you need simply depends on how much power they can put out. If a speedlite has double the power then you only need one instead of two pointing into the umbrella. These days though I’d recommend actual studio/location lights, they have much more power and some of them are about the same price as speedlites.

  2. Hi Karl, another great tutorial. I was wondering what brand/model the speedlights were and how powerful they are?

  3. Hi Karl. This is fantastic, however, how many of us have 6 speedlites to hand I wonder? Can I ask why you used the reflectors? Would I get a similar result if I used the two speedlites I have directed straight at the subject on full – 3/4 power?

    Really am enjoying your tutorials and come back to them all time. Think I might have to invest in some good quality strobe lights for future as speedlites are very fiddly.

  4. Hi Karl, I noticed that there was no use of light metres or colour checker in these shots unless it was done off camera and, I wondered if you use these or not for this type of shoot. I never go anywhere without my light metre and colour checker.

  5. I have noticed you use a polarizing filter frequently on your fashion images. I understand the use of the grad filters but what does the polarizer do in non-reflective environments?
    Really enjoying your videos.

    1. Hi Martin, it removes reflections from leaves and foliage or often increases saturation. It can also increase the saturation in blue skies and increase the contrast between sky and clouds as well as increase saturation and clothes. Even skin can look different with a polarizer. I’d encourage you to experiment with them at various times of day and with various subjects. Cheers Karl.

Leave a Comment