I have a question- I'm looking into buying a strobe light for an on-location shoot I'm doing. We are doing the shoot on an island so that the city on the mainland will be in the background. The shoot will be at night so the city lights are visible... But obviously the subjects need to be illuminated since this will be at night. I've never used a strobe light before. How do they work? What exactly will I need for an on location shoot? Is there a better alternative for artificial light? What I really want is something that will have consistent light (like a lamp) rather than triggered light (like a flash). Thank you!
chasingDragonflies chasingDragonflies
22-25, F
1 Response Sep 1, 2014

wow i'm amazed that you posted this question three times and, in more than two months, nobody has tried to answer it.


OK here goes. the usual problem with a location shoot is the lack of any kind of power source. this means that whatever lights you use have to be battery powered. this tends to rule out many of the lighting options usually available. however, you can get small lights that are generally used for video work and these may do the job. a better option is an on-camera flash gun.


to answer any questions that you may have about how to actually take the shot, and get good results, it would be really helpful to know what camera you will be using and what your subject will actually be. you've mentioned the island and the cityscape in the background but not your subject. will it be a person?

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question!

I shoot with my Canon 60D. My subject will be a couple (it's for an engagement shoot)

I bought an external flash but I have yet to master it unfortunately. I can't figure out how to sync the speed with my camera.. And the manual ha been no help... Which is why I was searching for other options haha

the Canon 60D is a pretty good camera and you should have no problem getting the shot that you're after with it.


you shouldn't have to figure out how to sync the speed with your camera, it should be done automatically. unless you're trying to shoot outside of the range of say 1/60 to 1/200. any faster than 1/200 and you'll get a section of the frame unexposed. any slower than 1/60 and you'll get all sorts of movement blur problems (which can be quite creative btw). is your flash gun a Canon model? could it be that it's faulty? maybe I've misunderstood what you mean by "how to sync the speed with my camera".


assuming that all's well with your flash etc., this is how I would take the shot. place your camera onto a sturdy tripod with the flashgun mounted onto the hotshoe in the normal way. have both your camera and your flashgun set to manual with an ISO of say 400 to 600 depending on the level of ambient light. set your shutter speed to 1/15 or 1/30 and aperture to f11 or f16. the slow shutter speed will allow the background to be fully exposed while still lighting the happy couple. if possible, do a little test run before you get them to pose properly. this will do two things, a) it will help you select the best exposure combo because you'll be able to see the results in your monitor and b) it will help your couple to relax a bit and get into the shoot. don't be afraid to vary your exposures until you get the result that you're after.


two things that you need to watch out for. movement blur. make sure that your subjects are perfectly still when you're taking the shot. focusing. low light messes with a cameras autofocus system. not only that, you can't always see if the shot is out of focus because of the low light.


does any of this help?