Professional photographer, Sal Cincotta guides us through this couples portrait using a one-light flash set up located at the mesmerizing Salt Flats in Bonneville, Utah. Demonstrating his knowledge and years of experience in portrait and wedding photography, Sal explains how to use lighting tools correctly in harshly lit landscapes during fast-changing environmental situations.

Arriving at the scene, Sal notes the severe reflection of white light bouncing off the ground and the unforgiving sunlight with no open shade. In situations with harsh ambient lighting like this, it is important to maximize the tools you are shooting with to capture the final images that you are envisioning. For this set up, Sal chooses an FJ400 strobe because of its 400 Ws output, the strobe is being used as a main light to light the subjects’ faces and the sunlight is being utilized as a hair light. Using the bare bulb on the flash, Sal is able to push the hard light in to help create a definitive edge light that makes his subjects’ pop on the white Salt Flats. He then pairs the FJ400 with a Rapid Box Switch Octa-S to diffuse the hard light for a softer edge fill on his subjects.

As the sun begins to set, for a few short minutes the sky shifts to a beautiful purple color. Sal makes use of the modifier by pointing it directly at the sky to feather the light. This trick avoids light spill on the ground and allows the light to evenly fall over the couple.

Materializing the perfect shot takes several attempts because of fast changing environmental factors. As Sal worked to photograph the couple with soft purple skies, he realized the sunset was forming a deep orange background. Using a single FJ400 strobe, he quickly fired off a single shot when the sunset peaked before it disappeared behind the mountains.


With its fast 0.05 to 0.9s recycle time and 480+ full-power flashes per battery charge, the FJ400 AC/DC strobe allowed Sal to capture all of the shots he was looking for during the full day shoot in the remote environment.

Shooting in harsh light? Watch Top Pro, Eli Infante captures HSS portraits in full sunlight with the FJ200 strobe.

Lighting Gear in Action

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