Flash Beyond the Basics

Move past the fundamentals of flash photography and learn how to combine flash with ambient light in this three-class series that includes online instruction and an on-location shoot.
Upcoming Workshop

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Some people only shoot in available light. To those who blend flash into their photos, any light source that is “available” is a creative tool to be used.

In this follow-up to our Basics of Flash Photography class, we’ll tackle the challenges of mixing flash with ambient light. By understanding the fundamentals of how they complement each other, which modifiers are best suited for the shot and how to handle exposure, you’ll increase the production value of your photos.

  • Blending flash and ambient on location.
  • Exposure control, f stop vs. shutter speed (understanding light ratios).
  • Adding a second flash and using multiple flashes.
  • High speed sync vs. ND filters for background control.
  • Special effects like stroboscopic and pop/blur.
  • More details about modifiers and Strobe placement.
  • Students will be encouraged to use and test the gear they have in different setups.

The second class will be an on-location shoot in the Trinity Groves area in Dallas with hands-on exercises that demonstrate what we learned in the first class. The class will take place late afternoon to dusk to take full advantage of the natural light as it changes fast. A model will be there to allow everyone to have an experience of working on location with flashes. The instructor will provide a set of flashes and light modifiers. This is also an opportunity to ask questions about your specific remote triggers or flash units.

You must wear a mask during the shoot and remain as socially distant as possible from your peers and the instructor. There are no exceptions. If you don’t plan to wear a mask, then please do not register for this class.


In this online image review, we will review students’ photos taken during the shoot. We’ll end the class with a virtual gallery exhibit of everyone’s images.

How to submit your images for the image review:

Submit your images for the third class via WeTransfer. You don’t need an account or any login information, just add your photos. Enter our email address submissions@dallascenterforphotography.org and enter your return email address. Hit Transfer and you’re all set. Your images must be submitted no later than 24 hours before the class starts.

  • Cost per person is $75 early registration, $85 late registration.
  • Login in to the Zoom meeting at least 15 minutes before the class starts to become familiar with the program and work out any technical issues that may occur.
  • The first class will be ONLINE via Zoom from 6:00pm-8:00pm CDT.
  • For the on-location shoot, you’ll meet up with the instructor at a specified location around Trinity Groves in Dallas. Details will be shared during the first online session. We’ll spend two hours practicing flash and shooting photos as a class. The shoot will be from 6:00pm-8:00pm.
  • The image review will be ONLINE via Zoom from 6:00pm-7:30pm CDT.
  • Advance registration and payment is required.
  • Maximum number of students is 15.

Q: Do I need to wear a mask for the on-location shoot?
A: Yes! Safety of our students is our utmost priority. You must wear a mask during the shoot and remain as socially distant as possible from your peers and the instructor.

Q: How will the online sessions be different from being in the classroom?
A: Like in the classroom, the online sessions are demonstration classes where you do not need to have flash gear during the class.

Attendees will be on mute but can ask questions through various methods on Zoom, such as the chat feature. If there is a specific question the instructor can answer those questions after the session has ended or by email.

We encourage you to use the video feature when you join the Zoom class! It will help us feel connected and engaged as a class, even though we aren’t all in one place. To use the video feature, you will need a webcam.

Q: Where is the class held?
A: The first and third classes will be held online using Zoom. The second class is an in-person shoot in Dallas. The instructor will provide more information about the specific location that you will meet.

Q: How will I know if the class makes or not?
A: If the class doesn’t make and has to be canceled, you will receive an email no later than the day before the scheduled class date.

Q: What if I have to cancel?
A: If you cancel 3-7 days ahead of the scheduled date of the class, you will receive no refund or 50% transfer credit toward another similar class within 3 months of the cancellation date. There is no refund or transfer credit for cancellations within 48 hours of start time of the class or workshop. Full details on cancellations are on our Policies page.

Mike McLean

A Dallas-based freelance photojournalist McLean’s foundation of storytelling skills comes from his strong news background at the Dallas Times Herald. As a staff photographer for the Dallas Times Herald he served on a reporting team that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the crash of Delta flight 191 at the DFW airport. McLean is a frequent speaker and workshop instructor for Journalism associations, Universities and Media organizations throughout the country. He is a co-author of “Get The Picture” and “Grow your know in Photography.” McLean developed and taught an online digital photojournalism curriculum for a University based in Colorado. He recently developed a Photojournalism course sequence for “A Backpack Journalist” which is an educational services and event support company, providing curriculum, workshops and training for the US Military and their families. Presently McLean is a photography content expert for Jostens Publishing and for the past three years he has worked as a visual content lead and instructor in photography at the West Point US Military Academy and the US Naval Academy.

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