Fashion Photography on Location Using Speedlights

Learn how to create stunning fashion shots on location without loads of expensive equipment as Karl demonstrates a simple fashion shoot in Joshua Tree National Park in the US using just speedlights and umbrellas.

Combining natural light and strobes, Karl uses the setting sun behind his model to create beautiful rim lighting, which he combines with speedlights to make his subject stand out against the backdrop of the desert.

You’ll learn about his lighting setup and camera settings as he demonstrates how the simple technique of adding speedlights to light the subject can make a big difference.

In this class:

  • How to do a fashion shoot on location
  • Fashion lighting setup using speedlights
  • Camera settings for fashion photography
  • How to backlight the subject to create rim lighting
  • Using speedlights with natural light


    1. Hi Adam, the first thing is to ensure you use a lens hood. Then flare comes down to the glass in the lens and the arrangements of the lens elements, quality of the glass and it’s anti-reflective coatings etc. You may have 2 lenses the same focal length and one is better than the other at reducing flare. I often also hold my hand up as an extra shield against the sun and in the studio I’ll use additional flare blockers such as prices of black card to block lighting.

  1. I was hoping for something a little simpler…like just two total lights as opposed to six.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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