Four Reasons To Fall In Love With Strobes

learn how to use strobes Sandra Coan on creating a natural light look with studio lighting

This time of year is glorious in Seattle.  Our days are long, with the sun not setting until 9:00pm.  We have sunshine after months and months of dark gloomy days.  So why, you may ask, am I writing a blog post about using artificial light?  Here's why.

Why I Learned Studio Lighting

I first began using strobes just to get me through the winter.

I live in Seattle, and it’s really dark here most of the time.  I'm a film photographer and 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.   But I wanted to create a soft, natural light look with my strobes, so I got to work and spent about five months teaching myself how to do just that.

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.

Why I Still Use Lights, Even on Sunny Days

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. 

Sandra coan studio photography on film business marketing education


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.  That's 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!

Sandra coan studio strobes photography on film business marketing education


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 whatever 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. Photography is all about 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!  The same is true for you digital photographers.  No more bumping your ISO up to 6400!!

Interested in learning how to shoot with strobes?  Let me teach you!  My light guide, The Missing Link, is all about creating that natural light look with studio light.  And it's on sale!  Follow this link to find out more!