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Dani Diamond: Mastering Natural & Artificial Lighting

Fashion and portrait photographer Dani Diamond has a distinct and instantly recognizable style. Whether you have read his numerous Fstoppers articles, seen one of his informative YouTube videos, or have followed him and his stunning portraits on Instagram;Dani has constantly been sharing inspiring work and motivating others to learn and grow.

We were so excited to talk with him about his creative process, what motivates him, and how his style and lighting have changed over time.

"The most noticeable element of my work is the connections I build with my subjects which translates to powerful expressions and natural poses."

“I bought my first camera 11 years ago. YouTube and experience is the only education I have. My ambition and curiosity is my most valued traits and ingredients that have helped me gain my goals over the years.”

"My following inspires me, knowing they appreciate what they see makes me want to do it more. Money definitely motivates me as well, now that I have a family and a wife in college I definitely need to think twice before doing TFP work like I used to. At this point it is about stepping up the styling and location game. I'm always looking for the next best idea or client to work with."

"I push myself to try new techniques especially with lighting on location. I do enjoy the the challenges that come with each shoot and sometimes it's not technical. It's an upset child or client that I need to talk to or figure out the logistics. This is what I believe sets apart an experienced and inexperienced photographer."

"I mastered natural light for many years and eventually introduced artificial light. I believe this the only way every photographer should learn photography. When you are only using available light you are forced to work hard and walk around exploring. This teaches you a lot about environment, composition and mainly lighting."

"Once you have a lot of experience you can pop in a flash at any time and it's a breeze to incorporate it and balance it with ambient."

"I find that a lot of the photographers that start off using artificial light right away never get to fully experience their surroundings on location. When you set up right away, you don't move around nearly as much. I still have a preference to use natural light but I always have my lighting equipment with me at all times and use it when I need to."

"Over the years I've built my arsenal of modifiers which consists primarily of the Rotalux softboxes. After a lot of research I settled on my first which was the 53 inch Octa. It is the perfect size to start with and I like how easy it is to open and close, the quality of light, it's carrying case, and its price. It's actually hard to beat that combination. Since then I have got almost all the other Rotalux line up."

When we asked Dani about his advice to photographers he told us: "Spend more time shooting and less time on social media; I used to waste so much of my time on Facebook and I only really started to grow once I got out and started shooting.”

“The most important thing I can share is how I balance ambient and artificial light. Firstly I use HSS to keep my settings exactly how it would be if I wasusing ambient only. I setup my shot exactly how I'd want it to look if I was using natural light only in terms of light aside from the light on the skin. Meaning the background has even soft light. Then I bring in my light and put it at its lowest power. If I need more light I raise power if I need even less light I back up the light. This way I get just a soft kiss of light on my subjects skin. This makes the lighting in my shots a lot more believable and realistic. Some like that strobed look, I find it extremely distracting.”

To see more of Dani’s work and to keep up on his future projects, find him on Instagram at @danidiamondphotography on his website at or check out his latest youtube video at:

Dani Diamond’s current lighting kit is:

  • Rotalux Octabox 135 cm (53")

    $289.95More infoAdd to cart

    Rotalux Octabox 135 cm (53")


    Very popular among beauty and fashion photographers, as they prefer the round catchlight given by this softbox. When using Elinchrom Lights you can make yourself a great folding beauty dish just by removing the front and inner diffusers and adding one of the optional deflectors avialable in the popular Elinchrom deflector kit.

    Another innovative feature which distinguishes Elinchrom softboxes from others is the lightweight dedicated speedring, which utilizes knurled, spring-action sockets to connect the stainless rods which form the frame of the box, to the ring. This allows easy assembly of the box in a de-tensioned state. The user then simply pivots the sockets 90 degrees until they lock into place to tension it for use. The 53" (135 cm) Octa shape features a large surface area which renders a "wrap-around" light quality especially when used at close range. It is ideal for shooting portraiture or fashion.


    The 53" (135 cm) Octa shape is ideal for head-and-shoulders portraiture for a group of people, as a hairlight for groups or for reflective products and glassware.

    Quick Setup, Breakdown

    Lightweight, dedicated speedrings utilize knurled, spring-action sockets to connect the 8 stainless rods which form the frame of the box.


    Fits assembled but de-tensioned in the included case, ready to set up again in seconds.

    Add to cart

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