Skip to main content

Strobes on Location

Lesson 17 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

Strobes on Location

Lesson 17 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

17. Strobes on Location

Next Lesson: Inverse Square Law


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


Principles of Light


Speedlights vs Strobes


Compressing the Scene


Location Lenses and Lenshoods


Metering Modes and Back Button Focus


Natural Light Reflectors


Lesson Info

Strobes on Location

the lady of the hour she's a fashion photographer based out of new york city and one of our favorite educators here on creative live if you watched yesterday or if you've seen any of her workshops here you know that she not only has the ability to execute amazing work but also to instruct us on how to do it ourselves and that's when things I love about her she's a wonderful person lindsay and lindsay I hope you love me now because you won't later today uh yeah that's stay tuned we've got something really special coming up at the end of the day I think we'll keep it maybe a little bit secret for the folks at home s o stay tuned we're going to do something special later on at the end of the day today but we have a whole day to get through first yes how do you feel about that I'm excited I it's interesting because I did natural light photography for a long time and then when I learned strobes now I had all these solutions in my pockets for all these difficult situations I did not a handle...

before so I hope that I can pass it on some other people as well well that's the point is that we learn how to have a solution to the problems that may come up it's not that you have to do this look every single time it's not that you have to do exactly this on every shoot it's here the tools in your toolbox in case you want is it yeah that's that's what I keep trying to learn and that's why I'm actually teaching a lot of courses because I'm like you know I kind of know this but I really want to know it inside and out and so it's cool cause now I I feel like I really know my craft so it's just a rewarding for me to teach and for learning and photographer nobody learns more from of course than the teacher who has to prepare it so I'm excited to hear what you have for us I'm gonna give you the clicker takeaway thank you okay guys so today is all about studio strobes on location and I wanted just to mention that tomorrow is speed lights and there is overlap and how some of these things function so originally when I planned this class as I planned on teaching natural light and then I figured okay speed light small flash next and then strobes but actually every all the capabilities for manual flash output speed lights have that but then speed let's have more so actually the progression really is an understanding functionality really is natural light then strobes then speed lights so that is how we're going to approach things I wanted to start off with giving people an idea of why you would true to strobes on location but also what you're looking for when you're looking for a studio stroke because I know what I was thinking about taking strokes out on location I was like okay well do I need something to take what I already have in my studio out or do I need a new system altogether what's the difference how much do I need to spend there are bonus materials for this class if anyone purchases where I go through all of the different types of lighting gear that exists for studio strokes on location so I talk aboutthe hansel party twelve hundred I talk about the brown color move pack I talk about I think about ellen crumb I thought about it as many as I could think of so today's class we're going to be talking about mostly concepts how do you make a exposure on location where you're balancing the ambien and the stroke and when do modifiers make a difference and what how does your light meter come into play all of that stuff so if you have any questions I would keep it not gear specific but I did want to say that I'm going to start off by talking about gear a little bit but in general like just general concept mrs instead of specific brands so let's jump in and we talked about natural light all day yesterday but there are definitely times where natural light just kind of isn't quite cutting it like at sunset right and you have beautiful color in the sky but if you just pop a reflector and you're not going to get all that color you need more light output so they're definitely times where it's she's not going to cut it or maybe it's a huge group of people where you want nice contrast and even illumination and maybe reflector just isn't cutting it maybe you don't have the right type of light maybe it's an overcast day and I can't pop enough light and so here's some times when you would want a studio strobes one of the reasons I for first robes with one of the reasons I like strobes on location is comfort I don't know about you but I uh in my studio I have pro photo de winners and on location a lot I shoot to be ones they're fundamentally the same thing like they function the same so if you shoot a lot in the studio I know for example when I take it this is my subject when I take my d one head from here to here exactly what the exposure changes like you know you just kind of start to get comfortable with it intrinsically so I like that I don't have to think about different things I know exactly what quality of late my beauty dish in the studio gives so when I take it out on location I know what quality light instead of having to research okay is there something different that's kind of similar to a beauty this show it's comfort for me because I know I'll just give a little bit of that studio flare that studio lighting out on location uh the next thing one of the other reasons he would want studio strokes is power you can get a lot more power output so in that situation where maybe there's a giant cavernous church that you're lighting for a wedding and you want a latex it's just so damn it's not showing up in the pictures sometimes pilates don't cut it they just don't have enough power or maybe I've actually had a shoot like this I have my subject and they're standing out on the edge of a cliff posing right and with my speed lights to be able to reach them I've got to get it close it's in my frame I can't shoot wide it's annoying but if I shoot one studio strobes I throw on the right modifier I could easily pull it back and it will still reach my subject so that's definitely benefit that's one of the reasons I say aye would shoot it often and fashion photography is well is that kind of flexibility on dh then lastly is the cheryl you know you could go really subtle really drastic yeah you can do that with speed lights but it's just a little bit easier with studio strobes often so these are some of the reasons he would want to take your studio on location all right so there are studio strobe pack head kits that costs twelve thousand dollars to go on location and yeah there are actually times when maybe you do a very specific type of photography where you would need that and they're also once at the whole entire set up together cost like six hundred so I wanted to talk about what you're looking at like what are the difference between these systems so you can make a decision for yourself so let's just talk about some of these things what your needs so you'll have different names for different type of location lighting strobes if you shoot lots of movement high frame rates you're going to need something different less expensive usually means not as fast recycle times you can't get that much frame rate so this probably means you're gonna have to go more expensive ah the next one if you require really accurate color uh something that happens is if you're taking a whole bunch of pictures at once like many many flash images in a row with less expensive studio strobes what happens is they're just based on the capacity okay view really what happens not getting the technical of it is the color changes the color temperature because it hasn't totally recycled it hasn't filled up on its power the color changes so if you're shooting maybe catalogue where the clothes need to look a certain color and it really needs to be color accurate then maybe one of the less expensive solutions won't work if it doesn't matter if you're just doing portrait you go ahead you grab a picture of a color checker or you fix it imposed no problem and you could go ahead with the less expensive solution do you need something that's very lightweight do you work on your own for example thea there's the pencil system that I've tried out it's twelve hundred watt seconds tons of power that is massive but that thing is heavy I think like the whole thing together is like twenty six pounds like if you count the head and the pack it's crazy so if you're working alone that's not definitely not going to be practical but if you need that power output you drive it there you make someone else carry it that that is okay um do you want a lighting solution that works in the studio and on location do not want to have to buy more than one and then lastly how much money do you have because that's gonna be an important part and so uh the studio strobes that we will be well the location lighting strips it will be using today are the pro photo be ones I mentioned that on dh they're pretty much the exact same thing fundamentally as the d ones the model blocks we'll talk about that that I use in my studio they just run on the battery downside is the head itself is two thousand dollars for one light so it's like it's it's awesome I'm super comfortable with that I love that I can use my profile photo modifiers on it it's uh got really long battery life great power outputs five hundred watt seconds for the one I have but if two thousand dollars for one heads not and your sister and your budget then there are definitely other solutions as well so we'll look at that all right so these your considerations how much is that way how portable is it take a look at that in my bonus materials I go through you know the main systems and what they way um there are different types of systems and you might hear these and I want to explain it what will be working with today is called a model block and that just means that it's a self contained unit like everything you need to make it flash is in the head itself it's got all the power controls on the back of it you don't need separate things it's self contained and it'll work on okay asian in general those are um the downsides of those we'll talk about later is like if you need to boom it out over a scene really really high high because it's it's going to be a little heavier in the head so that might not be is efficient we'll talk about it so mono blocks pack and head system means there's a pack that the head plugs into all the power all the recycle time all of that is based in the pack itself this is usually heavier but usually better recycle times more power output general and then you have your external battery sources and there are several different company of companies that make these but that means you can take your studio stroke the one you use inside your studio and just plug it into a battery pack and external battery source so then you don't need to buy something else I'm going to go through all the pros and cons of these and just a little bit all right so power output this is the questioning to ask yourself how much power output do I really need if you decide that's the look that aesthetic that you love is overpowering the son you love when you shoot in the middle of the day and you pop on that studio strobe and the whole environment looked under expose what the subject is perfectly let you're going to need more wattage when I do that on location I need it I mean I can barely do it well with five hundred watt seconds I'm trying to go high noon right later in the day it's easier because it's dimmer but yeah so if you have maybe an alien be in your studio and you think ok I'm going to take it on location probably is going to be a little bit more difficult to get that look if that's what you're going for same thing too if maybe you're lighting a huge cathedral big church probably one of the smaller strobes won't do it if you have multiple then you could get away with it but if you have one with lots of watt seconds you could like the entire place so you're kind of considering that as well and then also take a look at something called the stop range basically how far down can you dial it and how high up can you turn it like how how much ranged you have less expensive strobes you can't necessarily dialing down as far as you want and they're not even that strong so it just gives you this little range sometimes it's three stops sometimes it's five or six it was more obviously the more expensive you go you should you get better things but depends on what you need on the last thing I did want to warn you of when you're looking for wattage what seconds some brands purpose like nothing they purposely mislead but the name will say like something eight hundred and that does not mean it's eight hundred watt seconds like it might be six forty or three twenty so just know like what the name says might not be what it really is so just watch out for that one okay recycle time so recycle time is the amount of time that it takes for the flash once it fires to recharge to full power um a lot of studio a lot of these strobes won't like the higher end ones won't fire until it reaches full power some less expensive ones as soon as you click it'll fire again but it might be at a half power where a quarter power which means your picture will be underexposed that thing you might want to test her look into but other ones that do wait until it's fully recharged let's say that you're photographing action some strobes at full power khun take six seconds to recharge before it'll fire again that's gonna be really unuseful really really unuseful as a note if recycle times are very important to if you're photographing a lot of action if you dial down the power of your studio strobe on location have faster recycle time because it doesn't have to fill up with is much energy before it can fire again so that's just something if you're on location like wow this this is a really slow recycle time if you can lower the power and then compensate in your camera settings you'll get faster recycle times out of it there are some pack and head systems and oprah photo has one where you can shoot like eight to ten flashes a second and I actually saw one of the one of the guys over there he did a video where it was stroke aske opic and they were just firing that pack and strove system and that is what led the entire music video it's kind of crazy and it didn't explode I asked someone like there's no way you didn't explain that it was pretty cool um okay so sick look at full power flashes per charge another thing you want to look at is if you go ahead you take this out on location take your studio strobes outside how long before you run out of battery how many full power flashes is something you're looking at for example I know that the b one is two hundred twenty full power flashes with the modeling light on that that's what they advertise so I got to know how much do I shoot in a session and how many extra batteries would I need to buy and do a shoot full power you know it well obviously from shooting half power quarter power when have a lot more flashes but come out they're overpowering the sun so I'm going to be shooting full power maybe I need to buy two or three batteries and then you have check how expensive those are the new studio strom's the modeling lights most of them are ladies that are intended for location because they require less power still in the studio most of mine are tungsten but when you go out on location many of them are now ladies so they don't really drain a lot of battery and then they can actually be brighter and actually be useful on location okay next one's obvious price you get a look at the different things you're buying it might look like okay you know the pack and head system is cheaper until you realize ok what that was just the pack and I needed that head and then all the other you think so things it will cost you extra money packs heads extra batteries triggers modifiers and of course when you're making a choice a lot of people what they'll try to do is we'll try to stay in the same brand to the same family as what they already have in their studio said all the modifier two the same there are also plenty of third party companies like faux ticks for example that makes a lot of modifiers that you can put on bolan's melons you can put on airs and westcott makes them that could go on pro foot about so you can get modifiers that are less expensive from third party companies if you don't stick in the same family are other considerations okay you got it by triggering mechanisms this flash duration thing this is not a one o one class but it has to do with actually how long the flash is firing for not recycle time like how long the light is on four and that has to do with freezing particles freezing action for most of us that's not going to be something important especially for one o one class okay so we talked about mental blocks we talked about pack and head systems and battery sources so here the pros and cons so try to run through your head what's important to you do you want super portable do you want a lot of high output do you want really fast recycle times so you can kind of figure out maybe where you are on the scale of what you actually need to buy s o mano block pros it's one unit for example of the bee ones I said armando block and it's really cool because what I what I have since steven and sydney when they went with me on location in the cave okay there's a lot of other heavy gear to carry and actually the least of their worries were those two heads because they both fit in a backpack that they put on their backs so it's just very portable it's very very light so that is good eh so it could be later but and usually they're less expensive that's not necessarily true like in the case of the b one but a lot of times mono blocks are less expensive of the downsides if you uh when I'm on location a lot we have an extension pole so we can put this strobe on top and extend it wherever we want it to be but when all of the weight is in that head it's then heavy and it's a little bit unwieldy so often if you look at higher and shoots they have a pack and then they have the head out on that pole and there's no other way so it's very very light if that's something you do a lot of for example you might look at an ellen chrome system because their heads way like one point two pounds or something like it's almost nothing so those air very convenient alright so pack and head systems the pros lightweight head the khan's heavy pack so like it's not actually light pack and head systems have better recycle times for sure just in general they definitely will have better recycle times there's higher ends of each of these that kind a crossover but as a generalization usually a better color consistency some of the pax let you hook up multiple heads into one so you kind of saving money because you get a pack and the heads of the less expensive part versus like a single model block itself might be more expensive um let's go over to battery source is so for a battery source the pro of it is that the big one is you just take what you already have and take it outside we already have you don't have to buy anything new um what you already have in your studio that's like that's a huge pro but then there are a lot of the definitely are a lot of downsides the really really big downside is a slower recycle time there is definitely by taking these other races batteries and you plug your what you would plug into the wall you plug it right into the battery source itself um for example the one that I have over there have one of the new vagabond the policy buff fag amon and uh many lithium extreme and it's awesome to take out on location because the night you could take your alien bees you can take your white lightning joined signs you know you're less expensive strokes out on location the downside is is if you plug in two of their higher wattage you could be waiting a couple seconds like several seconds four five six seconds before they recycle and uh there was something I was looking at is you don't have to just plug alien bees into them you can plug anything because it's it's just an outlet I was looking at something that says if you plug a twelve hundred watt second light into it takes like sixteen seconds or something crazy like you'd be waiting forever so they don't have a cz much output as if you had a pack that was intended for twelve hundred watt seconds versus plugging in twelve hundred watt second into the battery source but I'm not saying that's bad I actually think that that is a really great solution if you just want to find a way to get studio strobes out on location and it's really really inexpensive way to start yeah the packing head system ifyou're out turn over power too soon but you have multiple hey is that you're using I mean is what is it going to diminish per I mean are you going to have the same what second across the board with all three always wanted to be more powerful than the other or so okay good questions so it does depend on the system ah lot of times what happens is when you do pull put a second strobe in it splits the power between the two in many systems and other ones it's across the board but most the time the more you add like you're not you're not helping yourself by adding another head into that system if you're trying to overpower the sun you'd be better off with one light with more wattage than trying to into the same pack that can only give that set amount of wattage so you look at that probably by multiple pecs for is if you trained over part of the sun you just want to look for something with a high wattage one thousand watt seconds would be fine just one thousand one second unless you're trying to make it look like night you know and put on like this is another discussion but if you're putting on neutral density filters and shooting an f sixteen and your darkening down everything maybe one thousand wouldn't be enough but for most of us overpower son thousand watt second is totally fine

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Keynote 3
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This class was amazing. Lindsay Adler is a great presenter...I learned so much.....I love that she spoke about natural light..strobes and speedlites. Wonderful information. I purchased this and I am glad I did. Great job Lindsay. Jean


Lindsey Adler is one of the best and most engaging photography instructors in the USA. I highly recommend this lighting course. It felt more like a 101 and a 102 course than just a basic course. She teaches in a way that makes learning alot of fun and the amount of time & effort that she puts into her video and class presentations are second to none. Her classes are well worth their weight in gold and you will walk away with a wealth of knowledge!


Lindsay is amazing , I love the way she explains everything!! This course is filled with GREAT information and helps you better understand natural lighting,strobe and flash. Thank You Lindsay, please keep your classes coming!

Student Work