Using Strobes for Studio Photography

Strobes are large external flashes that can be specifically placed and angled towards the subject for soft, realistic lighting.

profoto studio strobe light

They provide more flexibility than built-in flashes, which will always go off from the same direction that the lens is pointed, often resulting in harsh shadows and flat, unrealistic lighting. Strobes are generally more powerful than other types of off-camera flashes and are very popular in studio photography. (We include Profoto flash heads with our studio rentals.)

You’ll have your strobe (or light head) attached to a light stand and a type of diffuser, such as a softbox or umbrella. The strobe is plugged into a power source and is triggered by a transmitter, which may be wireless or hooked up directly to the camera. (Fairway uses the wireless PocketWizard Transmitter, which allows you to move freely throughout the studio.)

You’ll want to adjust your camera’s aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings so that they work well with the additional lighting from the strobe. TutsPlus suggests starting with an aperture setting between f8 and f12, a shutter speed of about 1/200 second, and your ISO set between 100 and 400. In terms of positioning, TutsPlus recommends placing your light about 6 feet away from the camera. You can start within these guidelines and then experiment to see the different results you get.