Photography: The Correct Way to do Mixed Lighting on Models

Using flash outdoors is a classic method photographers employ to create separation between the subject and background. A tricky technique to get started off on if you are a beginner, mixed lighting can give some fabulous results. We’ve put together an analysis of ten such images. We hope it will serve as inspiration and also to salute the photographers who have made these incredible images.

Succesful Lighting #1

Image 1
author: gilbertosudre

Where there is flash, there is freezing of an action, as demonstrated in this image. We simply loved the saturated background, with a spot on exposure on the model.

Succesful Lighting #2

author: jmdesign

A good example of creative lighting outdoors, the photographer here has done well with soft diffused light on the model, capturing the ambience of the place with natural light in the background.

Succesful Lighting #3

author: eddytan

This is a thoughtfully composed image, with diagonal lines leading the eyes to the model. Booth the building in the background and the edge of the vehicle provide these diagonals. You also see color contrast between the ca rear view mirror and the model’s skirt. And then, the sheer combination of natural light with ambient light makes this an image to remember.

Succesful Lighting #4

author: Andres Jk

Color contrast? Yes Depth of field at work? Yes. Rule of thirds at work? Yes! Apart from the other thoughtfully composed elements of this image, flash lighting tremendously separates subject and background, giving this image a very post card-like feel.

Succesful Lighting #5

author: Andres Jk

The lighting here is simple but very effective. A diffused flash light on the model gives the exposure on her face, while ambient light provides a saturated background.

Succesful Lighting #6

author: oleovergaard

Compositions framed within an existing rectangle make for interesting viewing, such as demonstrated in this photograph. Again, soft and intense light flash on the model crates pleasing skin tones while the background saturates because of mild under exposure.

Succesful Lighting #7

author: eyewitness4560

The use of flash is very artfully done in this image. Without the flash, you would have seen a silhouette of the model. With an intense flash, one would see a very harsh separation between model and background. With a low intensity flash of the right color temperature (color temperature possibly adjusted during post processing), we get a very natural looking image.

Succesful Lighting #8

author: gogauze

This is a pretty straightforward image as far as lighting in concerned, but effective nonetheless. One powerful flash provides the key light. What makes it interesting is the direction of light. The same image photographed with a flatter light source would have killed the shadows and made a very ordinary image. Also, notice the subtle detail in the background, thanks to ambient light.

Succesful Lighting #9

author: preciouskhyatt

We just love this image because of its story book feel! Shallow depth of field, flash overpowering the sunlight make this a pleasing portrait with interesting lighting.

Succesful Lighting #10

author: JakeinMaryland

Here we see a subtle use of the flash. The ambient light creates interesting highlights (the edges of the jacket), while fill flash eliminates natural shadows on the face. Using flash outdoors is not something that a beginner to photography would think of, especially in broad daylight. However, this is something to really ponder over if you are serious about your photography. All the best!


Siddhartha is a professional photographer, writer and photo editor. His portfolio can be found at

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One Response:

  1. Logo Design Blog says:

    WoW!! Really nice photography.. looks totally professional!!

    ( 2 years and 2097 days ago )