Skip to main content

Lighting 101

Lesson 7 of 65

Flash-Strobe vs. Ambient-Constant Light

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

Lighting 101

SLR Lounge, Pye Jirsa

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

7. Flash-Strobe vs. Ambient-Constant Light


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Chapter 1 Introduction Duration:01:26
2 Why Just One On-Camera Flash Duration:04:22
3 5 Reasons to Use Flash Duration:10:37
4 Common Flash Myths Duration:06:51
6 Chapter 2 Introduction Duration:01:36
9 Flash vs. Ambient Demo Duration:06:42
13 Understanding Flash Duration Duration:08:37
14 Chapter 3 Introduction Duration:01:34
15 5 Common Key Light Patterns Duration:08:38
18 3 Primary Subject Patterns Duration:05:27
19 Light Qualities Duration:09:56
20 The Inverse Square Law Duration:07:50
21 Inverse Square Law in Practice Duration:08:21
22 Corrective White Balance Duration:10:02
23 Creative White Balance Duration:05:47
24 Chapter 4 Introduction Duration:01:58
25 On Board vs. Hot Shoe Flash Duration:05:57
27 TTL vs. Manual Control Duration:08:12
28 TTL vs. Manual Recycle Times Duration:04:43
29 Flash Power & Zoom Duration:09:18
30 HHS vs. ND Filters Duration:12:29
31 FCS vs. RCS Duration:07:11
32 Chapter 5 Introduction Duration:01:38
34 Bare Bulbing Done Right Duration:11:42
35 Grid Snoot + Direct Flash Duration:06:43
36 Mini Beauty + Direct Flash Duration:06:08
37 Ring + Direct Flash Duration:07:52
38 Understanding Modifiers Duration:09:24
39 Direct Flash + Shutter Flash Duration:09:07
40 Chapter 6 Introduction Duration:01:55
42 Silver Bounce Duration:14:27
43 More Light Silver Duration:11:02
44 Soft White Bounce Duration:15:41
45 Overhead Bounce Duration:11:39
46 Overhead Bounce + Fill Duration:09:42
47 Event Bounce Duration:12:42
48 Chapter 7 Introduction Duration:01:38
49 Natural vs. Dramatic Light Duration:17:43
53 Chapter 8 Introduction Duration:00:43
54 Case Study 1 - Dramatic Sunset Duration:09:45
55 Case Study 2 - Desert Sunset Duration:10:04
57 Case Study 4 - Family Portrait Duration:08:21
59 Case Study 6 - Working Angles Duration:07:22
61 Case Study 8 - Less is More Duration:07:16
62 The Good Karma Jar Duration:01:41
63 Favorite Feature Flashes Duration:05:52
64 Favorite Manual Flashes Duration:21:35

Lesson Info

Flash-Strobe vs. Ambient-Constant Light

Okay, so let's jump in tow. Flash or strobe versus ambient or constant light. This is the primary foundation, cause you need to understand the differences between these two types of light sources. Now, let's start simply from number one. OK? Visibility to the I A flash or a strobe is on Lee visible for the split second that is turned on okay for the split second that it fires. So that is the primary difference between a strobe versus constant light. Okay, one we can see it's visible to the eye. The other one isn't a strobe is not okay unless it's firing and you can see when it's firing, but not other times. Now, what about this? What about these terms? Okay, so, flash or a strobe, What is that? We'll all that defines is simply basically the power of the flash. But all these are the same thing. So let me show you, for example, generally with this guy, the LP 1 80 small flashes like this. We call flashes or recalls pockets, tropes. Now larger flashes like this guy. This is an Einstein 6 ...

40 watt second. This is a studio flash which referred to as a studio strobe or a full strobe or a strobe or what if you want to call it. But typically these air called strobes. Typically these called flashes. The lights operate the exact same. The only difference between these two lights is just that this puts out more power. Okay, that would be the sets. The primary difference. This will put out maybe 6 70 times amount of power that this little guy will. But of course, this isn't that convenient. Has to be plugged into the wall. Or you have to have a self contained batter that you take along with you. It's larger, it's heavier and so forth. So while you get more power, you also require a lot more. We're gonna be talking more about these guys in lighting to one and 301 But for now, let's focus on kind of the on camera flash or the pocket strobe. Now, I wanted to show this guy just to show you that there's all sorts of strobes that kind of go in between as well. This is the bolt VB 22. So with this guy, this is kind of an in between flash or pocket strobe what I want to call it, but basically it puts out more power than a pocket strobe like this flash right here. The LP 1 80 It puts out more power in that guy, maybe 3 to 4 times more power. But it puts out less power than the large studio stroke. The difference being is that this is a little more convenience. The more portable. It still has its own kind of separate battery pack, which makes it less convenient in a pocket strobe. But it makes it more convenient, more portable than a studio stroke. So there's tons of different flashes on the market, each with different kind of various functions and so forth. But primarily they all operate the exact same way. They put out light for an incident of a second, and then they remain off these air strobes. Alright, constant lines or Ambien like now, basically, when you walk into a room, if you like the way that the light looks in that room, oftentimes I would say, Oh, I love the ambient light and the light is composed of really anything or any type of constantly like you mentioned these air constant lights these air constant lights. The sun is a constant light. So if you like Ambien light, you simply like the existing light in a scene which is made up of constantly. Why? Because we can see them constantly. Okay, so we understand that. Let's talk about Point number two, which is the light intensity. There's another major difference between strobe versus constant lights. For the size of the actual light in comparison to the light output, you get far, far, far more light, intensity, more power out of this guy. Then you would out of this guy. This is a light panel chrome. Okay, so I can turn this guy on right here, and it's fantastic. It's wonderful for lighting indoor sets for lighting and scenes that are a little bit darker. It's It's great for that, okay has varying power levels and so forth. But if I took this outdoors in mid day sun, you would not even able to see this. I mean, if you brought it like maybe one inch away from the subject. Yeah, it might work as a fill light. Okay, if it was super close, it would be a feel like but a simple pocket Strobe like this loon pro LP 1 80 This can actually overpower the sun. Now it can Onley overpower the sun for a split second. Okay, for that fraction of a second firing, Which means that we can do all sorts of creative things in this shot right here. You see us brightening up our model, and we're not even using it directly were actually bouncing it. If we use the directly, we can even brighter more. But we're brightening up the model so that she has the same kind of exposure, the same brightness as midday sun. All right, let's move on to point number three, which is the white balance now, the white balance for ambient or constant lights. It varies. Okay, So for this light, for example, the light panel chroma is the one that we have on set that we're using to light the set. They have varying light temperatures. So what you see right now, this is daylight wipe out. So it looks probably really blue to you guys, but I can actually warm this up. I can warm it up by adding in a little bit of tungsten to it. And so we can get anywhere in between where we have a kind of this, you know, tungsten daylight mixture, which is probably around 4200 degrees Kelvin. And we can also warming up, down to like around 30 to 3600 degrees Kelvin with using only the tungsten light. These types of lights led light panels generally very in temperature, which is fantastic because you can use them to match the temperature of whatever scene that you're shooting within other types of constant lights. They might not vary. They might just be set at a certain basically temperature. We're gonna talk about this in more detail later on. But for example, these lights in the background, these tungsten lights, they come basically at that temperature. We can't change it, and thats probably around like, say, degrees kelvin. So it's a very yellow, very warm light. Other lights like the sodium kind of fluorescent life. They're getting more green and so forth, but flashes these air a little bit different, regardless of what kind of flashy by whether it's a pocket strobe, whether it's a studio strobe, whether it's somewhere in between, every flash is gonna come defaulted at around degrees Kelvin. We would modify this light color by adding what we'd call it gel to it. And again, we're gonna talk about that little later on. But otherwise they're basically gonna always fire a 55 100 degrees kelvin, which is right around that midday sun color temperature. One small interesting note. Depending on the quality of the flash, it's gonna give you a certain consistency in the light color. Okay, so the light color and the output actually. But, for example, a nice flash might always give you a flash that's in between 45 50 degrees Kelvin and 45 40 44 50 between 45 50 Kelvin, meaning it's 100 degree variance between flashes are might be even more precise. A less expensive flash might have a 408 100 degree variance between fire. So when you shoot, it's gonna be a little bit different in color. Not for most people. You're not gonna notice a huge difference. But if you're a professional photographer and you're relying on power and color consistency, that's one thing to note is that a higher quality flash will give you better consistency as faras output, power output and also the color temperature between shots. Okay, so just one quick note there. Last thing I want to mention is the camera exposure. OK, the fourth difference between stroke versus constantly is that the camera exposure is gonna vary just a little bit. Something stay the same. But some things will actually vary. And the reason why is because, like we talked about strobes only put out light for 1/ of a second. Okay, a fraction of a second. Which means that if my shutter speed is set to 1 200 of a second, if it's set to 1/10 of a second, if it's set to seconds, it doesn't matter, because the amount of light coming out of this strobe is always gonna be the same in that period. The shutter is open, and that creates kind of differences in the way that flash is exposed. Vs constantly because, as we know, with constant light, however long the shutters open will that determines how much light is gonna come in. We're gonna discuss that in more detail as we go through. One really hammered this point home. So let's go ahead and move in the next video. Now

Class Description

Lighting 101 follows in Photography 101's footsteps. Photography 101 takes students up through Manual Mode mastery and provides a foundation in natural light techniques and modifications. Lighting 101 picks up by teaching all about flash and light modification. But, just like Photography 101, we want Lighting 101 to be the most accessible lighting course available. So we teach you everything about flash lighting, light modification, ambient to flash balance, lighting patterns, off-camera lighting and even multi-point off-camera light setups. But, what makes Lighting 101 truly special is that we do all of this with nothing but your on-camera hot shoe flash. Every image shown and created in this course was created with a DSLR and just a single on-camera hot shoe speed light. 

Graduate to the next level of exposure mastery with Lighting 201, Lighting 301, and Lighting 401 with Pye Jirsa.



The best class for understanding light and lighting there is bar none. Pye is an excellent teacher and the quality of the material provides for a rich and very informative experience. Pye breaks down the fundamentals in easy to digest packets and then elaborates as needed. If there is one class that you watch this is it! Worth purchasing and saving for future use. I would also HIGHLY recommend downloading the saving the PDF of slides that accompany the videos. Again, and can't say it enough, this is THE BEST video to lighting on Creative Live. A must watch for the novice and the expert.

Simon Metselaar

This is the best thing that happened to me since I've been into photography. What a lifesaver. Unfortunately I already payed for some courses that are not Pye, but Pye just nails it. Amazing, and kind of a life hack. Thanks again :)

George Gan was well worth your training. I have learned some key lighting techniques from this training. His voice and training is clear except for his attempt at making jokes and should hire a new script writer for your Jokes...ha ha ha ha. With that said, if you are not a professional in lighting, you do gain a lot going through this training from front to end. Remember this is lighting 101 so don't expect too want more technical and complexity, wait for Lighting 201, 301 or 401 ...