Can you use a SPEEDLIGHT to take dramatic portraits in bright sun?

Are you tired of struggling to capture dramatic portraits in bright sun? Do you find it difficult to achieve the perfect lighting and exposure in harsh sunlight? Fear not, as there is a solution that can help you overcome these challenges – using a speedlight. While many photographers may think speedlights are only necessary for indoor or low-light settings, they can actually be incredibly useful in bright sun as well. In this blog, we will explore how to use a speedlight to take dramatic portraits in bright sun, and how this simple addition to your gear can greatly improve your outdoor photography.


Using a Speedlight for Dramatic Outdoor Portraits

Introduction to Using Speedlight for Outdoor Portraits

In a sponsored video by Squarespace, the photographer demonstrates how to use a single speedlight to capture dramatic outdoor portraits in bright sunlight. The limitations and benefits of this technique are explained and showcased in the video.

Setting Up the Speedlight and Camera

The photographer starts by setting the speedlight in a bracket and adjusting the camera settings to 1/8000 second, F 1.4, and ISO 100. A test shot is taken without the flash to determine the initial exposure.

Using Speedlight in Bright Sunlight

The photographer then demonstrates the use of the speedlight in bright sunlight, showing how it successfully fills in the shadows on a bright day. The necessity of keeping the speedlight and modifier close to the model to achieve the desired effect is also highlighted.

Limitations of Using Speedlight in Bright Sunlight

It is noted that using the speedlight at full power during daylight can slow down the workflow due to the flash recycle time. Additionally, its power limitations restrict the ability to take environmental portraits on a bright day.

Using High-Speed Sync with Speedlight

Despite the limitations, the photographer explains that the speedlight can be used with high-speed sync outdoors in the bright sun, particularly on cloudy days. However, the light needs to be relatively close to the subject for optimal performance, limiting the type of shots that can be taken.

Options for Advanced Lighting

The photographer discusses options for more advanced lighting setups, including the use of triggers and larger lights such as the Godox 8400. The benefits and drawbacks of the speedlight in comparison to the larger light are also mentioned.

Sponsorship Message from Squarespace

In gratitude for the sponsorship from Squarespace, the photographer offers a 10% discount code for viewers interested in creating a website, blog, or online store using Squarespace. The ease of use and beautiful templates of Squarespace are highlighted.


The article concludes by emphasizing the value of the speedlight for outdoor portraits despite its limitations. The affordability and versatility of the speedlight are highlighted, providing viewers with an accessible starting point for experimenting with external lighting in outdoor photography.


FAQ: Can you use a SPEEDLIGHT to take dramatic portraits in bright sun?

Q: Can a speedlight be used to enhance portraits when shooting in bright sunlight?

A: Yes, a speedlight can be a great tool for creating dramatic portraits in bright sun. By using a speedlight to fill in shadows and add depth to the subject, you can achieve striking and dynamic portraits even in harsh lighting conditions.

Q: How can a speedlight be used effectively in bright sunlight?

A: To use a speedlight effectively in bright sunlight, you can position the light at different angles to create flattering and dramatic effects. You can also use modifiers such as diffusers and reflectors to soften the light and enhance the overall look of the portraits.

Q: What are some tips for using a speedlight in bright sun?

A: Some tips for using a speedlight in bright sun include adjusting the power and angle of the light to complement the natural sunlight, using high-speed sync to control the ambient light, and experimenting with different settings to achieve the desired results.

Q: Can a speedlight help to overcome the challenges of shooting in bright sun?

A: Yes, a speedlight can help to overcome the challenges of shooting in bright sun by providing additional light to the subject, filling in shadows, and creating a more balanced and visually appealing image.

I hope you find useful my article Can you use a SPEEDLIGHT to take dramatic portraits in bright sun?, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

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