4 Reasons Why I Use Strobes, Even On Sunny Days

I first began using strobes with film in the winter.

I live in Seattle, and it’s really dark here most of the time.  I knew that if I was going to shoot film all year long,  I was going to have to learn how to use artificial light.   And I wanted to shoot film, so I got to work.

The more I worked with the strobes, the easier it became.  What was once scary and risky became the new normal, and soon, I was as comfortable shooting with strobes as I was shooting with window light.

Then the summer came, and my beautiful daylight studio was filled with light once again. 

I was excited to turn off the strobes and go back to my first love, window light.

What I discovered when I turned them off however, surprised me.  

I found that I didn’t love shooting with natural light the way I had before.   I had actually grown to prefer the strobes, even on super sunny days. 

Here’s why:

1. Strobes are consistent.  When my strobes are on, my meter readings are always the same!  I meter once at a shoot.  Thats it.  Having that consistency really helps with my workflow and allows me to fully concentrate on my client.  My sessions are more efficient and I’m able to work with 100% confidence, knowing that all my exposures will be spot on.

2. I love the tones I get with strobes.  Strobes are daylight balanced, so they are a little warmer than window light.  You see, even on sunny days, window light has a cool quality to it (much like a shadow),  That is why in the photo below, the natural light photo looks a little blue, especially in the whites.  The strobe image however has bright white whites, and adds a little shine to the baby’s hair.  I love it!

Strobes on the left.  Natural light on the right.

3. I'm in control.  Yep, I'm a control freak, especially when at work.  And when I'm working with strobes I'm in control of my light 100% of the time.  I make the light do what ever I want it to.   When I work with window light, the window light dictates what I can and can't do.  When I work with strobes, I make those decisions.... and I freaking love it!

4. Film loves light.  And when I’m shooting with strobes I know that I can give my film as much light as it wants, all the time!

Film with Studio Strobes, Sandra Coan on Little Bellows


Interested in learning how to shoot with strobes?  Let me teach you!
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