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Tips & Tricks

How We Shot It: Mixing strobes with cool ambient light

By Reynaldo Vento on October 18th 2012

Background and Vision

As photographers we quickly learn that the “golden hour” is available one hour after sunrise and one hour prior to sunset. Conversely, there is also a hour of blue light available prior to sunrise and after sunset that you can utilize for amazing ambient light.

For the image below I used a Einstein with a 1/4 CTO Gel and the blue ambient light that was present to create a surreal/fantasy portrait that has since become one of my favorites.

Since I was shooting with the Canon 5D Mk II I knew that I could raise the ISO to 500 instead of using a slower shutter speed to pull in the ambient as I did not have a steady hand to shoot with anything less than 1/160.

Something not to be overlooked is the positive impact that accessories can have on a portrait, such as the head wreath my model was wearing and as well for the cover image to Diana Elizabeth’s article

How it was shot

Shot with Canon 5D Mk II and Canon EF 70-200mm f/4
Focal length: 70mm
Shutter: 1/160
Aperture: F/5.6
ISO: 500

Post Production

Please view the video below for a quick post production walk through.

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is a on location portrait photographer based out of deep South Texas. His style can be described as being strobe driven with an emphasis on interesting lighting. Follow me on FB @

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Ed Rhodes

    nice photo, thanks for sharing your process

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  2. Chuck Eggen

    I have the Nik Suite and there are some very useful filters in Color Efex not to mention Define for noise reduction and Silver Efex for black and white.

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  3. Anonymous

    What’s this Kodak Ektachrom e100 G filter? Is that part of the Viveza? 

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