How to Make off-Camera Flash Look Natural

As photographer, we are explorers of lights. Understanding lighting and how to shape it is the best way to enhance the story you are trying to capture. Using off-camera flash has become a standard equipment to boost the sharpness of an image and brings them to professional quality. While many beginner photographer using artificial lights, and the image comes out very artificial and unnatural. It brings people away from the story of the background. And most of the time the purpose of using off-camera flashes outside is to bring people INTO the stories which photographers are trying to capture. And in portrait photography, sometimes it doesn’t matter too much. However, when you are trying to tell a story with the background then it matters how to make the off-camera flash look natural yet still bring up the quality of the images. Here is an example of off-camera flashes looks artificial on location with South Texas Portrait Photographer FJH Photography.

How to make off-camera flash looks natural becomes significantly important while trying to express a story and blend the image to the background. The most important part is to understand what’s the most dominate light in the scene. Here are a few example:

With this image that I took by an old truck, the most dominate light is the sunlight, so the off-camera flash which is lighting the model can’t be brighter than the sun itself. The off-camera creates a short light Rembrandt that indicate a light source from the right behind her. And it can be a street light or house lamp that fits the scene.

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At the Yellowstone national park, I did a quick photoshoot with Shawn to highlight the fishing gears. The brightest source of light in this image is still the mid day sunlight. If you look into his sunglasses, you can actually see the off-camera flash that I was using on the dock to create a subtle fill light to brighten up the shadow on his right side of face. However, the sunlight is still the dominate light.

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The image below is a photo I took of our instructor, Caryn Esplin. And in this image, I used a different technique which the off-camera flash was used to strengthen the late sunset sunlight. The sunlight comes from the left side behind her and the off-camera flash come in from the left front side of her to enhance the sunlight as well as using the sunlight as a kicker from the back.

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At the end, here is another article about how to make off-camera flashes look natural to portray the story better by Neil, Natural looking flash