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Outdoor Lighting Equipment

Lesson 10 from: Editorial Portrait Photography for High School Seniors

Dan Brouillette

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Lesson Info

10. Outdoor Lighting Equipment


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


How to Make Senior Photos Stand Out


What is Lighting in Layers?


Build a Lighting Foundation


Layer One: Main Light


Layer Two: Fill Light


Layer Three: Accent Light


Layer Four: Additional Light


Lesson Info

Outdoor Lighting Equipment

In this section, I wanna cover General Outdoor Lighting Goals, so there's three goals I talk about. We'll get into those in a second. Outdoor lighting equipment, it's what I bring when I am lighting outside. The camera settings, that's very important. And usually the source of confusion for a lot of people when they're lighting outside is you start getting too many things going on, similar to introducing too many lights, so I wanna simplify camera settings, so that way, you can get consistent results over and over, and know why you're setting the camera for the shot and how you can fix it if things aren't going right or if you wanna change the look. Using sun as a back light, using sun as a fill light, and using sun as your main light. So let's start with using studio strobes outdoors to achieve several goals. That's the whole idea when you're using your strobes outside. It's, "Do we want to use them to fill the light?" Again, do we wanna use 'em as a main light or do we wanna polish u...

p the existing light? If you wanna make an image appear surreal, you need to know that you need enough light power to overpower the sun, right? So, that's another thing you need to think about. Do I wanna use a light with a silver source or a white source? How are you gonna make that light bright enough and appear the way you want? And are you just gonna use it to fill in shadows? Because the sun is creating natural shadows, sometimes you enjoy what the sun's doing, but it needs to be polished up. A lot of times, we do that with a reflector, similar to studio. I know we talked about adding fill in studio, but other times, you want a different look and that's where you start to introduce the lighting. The equipment that I use outdoors, it's typically the exact same stuff that I use indoors. It's the B1 or B2. I rarely use more than one light outside, because you already have one light outside and that's the ambient light. So, it's just a matter of how you wanna use that ambient light and how you wanna introduce your strobe. Do you want to use the strobe to overpower or not, and we'll get into that as far settings. I also use the umbrellas a lot outside because when you're having people move and walk around and do different activities within a light, you can't have a real specific area where the light's hitting, I need a little wider source. So a lot of times, if I'm having people walk, and other things like that, we'll use the umbrellas because they have a wider spread. And I wanna have a little more room for error in case they're off by a few inches or a foot or so, so that way, they're still in the light. And the beauty dish or magnum, again, we talked earlier about that magnum reflector, if it's a day where the sun is moving in and out of the clouds or it's a totally cloudy day, or we're in open shade, a lot of times, I'll take that magnum reflector and put an orange type warming gel on it and put that pretty high in the sky, far away, and just blast it, and that's how we'll recreate the sun. And I've even had to do shoots where, there's one in particular, I'll show you the breakdown later, where they showed me a photo that was taken wide open in the day, but we had to recreate it inside a gym. So they've said, "We want it to look like this," which was a total ambient lit shot and I thought, "But it's now January, "there's snow on the ground, "we can't do this outside thing." "So, can you create that?" So, that's where you'll take something like a magnum reflector and recreate the sun. And then I also will use bare strobe heads and ring flashes to do other effects outside.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Lighting Gear List

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lighting Terms Guide

Ratings and Reviews

pete hopkins

awesome teacher and awesome technique. after soooo many webinars, it's really great to see someone break it down to the bare bones of lighting with exceptional quality results. i can listen to Dan all day. no pretense, no over the top emotional pleas, no drama! did i say awesome!!!! Plus, I'm a huge fan of the B! and B2 systems. Freedom is key. Now I can shoot anywhere, anytime. Thanks Dan.


This is by far the best class on senior photography I have found on creativelive. Dan explains the technical aspects in an easy to understand format. He does a great job going through studio shots, outdoor shots, editing and marketing. He's given me some great ideas and inspired me to be more creative. I am going to rewatch the lighting set up for the "hero shot". It's super cool!

Tristanne Endrina

Dan was great. His class was very comprehensive but easy to follow. The slides he used weren't flashy. Instead, they were simple and he went at a good pace. I left feeling like I could really pull off the lighting techniques he taught. I'm excited to put what I learned into my photography. :) Thanks, Dan.

Student Work