Flash vs. Strobe
Photo Tip Friday, November 29
My apologies for not having a Photo Tip Friday section for the last two weeks. I’ve been kept busy with setting up the rental department as well as with private lessons – but a promise is a promise and so here we go with Photo Tip Friday!
Flash versus strobe – which is better?
This is a popular question among photographers and probably one of the hottest arguments as well! Let me shed some light (yes, pun intended) on this often debated subject.
The variables for flash and for strobe are similar: they have comparable duration and colour temperature, with adjustable power settings. The best way to understand the main difference between flash and strobe is with a few examples. In this article we’ll look at how the light behaves, from flash and strobe as sources.
For both photos the camera is on a tripod and the camera settings are the same: 1/100s, f 8, ISO 200, White Balance to “Flash”. I powered down the strobe to 1/8 of its power to match the flash output. Flash and strobe were fired using a radio trigger.
It’s easy to see the light from the flash created a very contrasty image with harsh shadows and highlights, whereas the light from strobe created a much softer image with more of the light wrapping around the subject. Just look at these close-up images.
What is the reason for this dramatic difference?
It is all about the size: the larger the light source the more even light it creates. That is why photographers love overcast days; the clouds act as a large diffuser for the sun and provide beautiful wrap-around lighting.
Do you want flattering, natural looking light? Consider using a strobe instead of flash!
Don’t let our attractive model distract you! I took this photo using a strobe with a 40” Octobox and this simple light plan. Just one large octobox can create a fabulous portrait!
Do you need to rent a studio lighting system? Stay tuned for more exciting news about our rental department opening in January 2014.
Do you want to learn more about Studio lighting? Be sure to register for our studio lighting workshop.