Off Camera Flash

Off camera flash is a great way to add a strong dynamic to your photographs. It is effective in adding highlights, flattening shadows and lighting areas that would normally be obscured by shadow. Off camera flash is often used in strong sunlight to accentuate colours and to make the subject pop out of the image or to balance light in moody images by illuminating the subject during long exposures in low light environments.

The great thing about using an off camera flash setup is it's very cost efficient, portable and the outcomes are simple to achieve. Many photographers have moved to using hot shoe flashes with triggers and stands rather than portable studio kits and batteries as they are compact, cheap and easy to use.

 Here’s what you’ll need

  • Canon Speedlite 530 EX or Nikon SB 5000

  • Remote trigger and receiver

  • A light stand

 Be aware. Not all hot shoe flashes will sync with each other even thou they are the same model and type. For example the Speedlite 430ex will not sync with each other. If you are planning to use more than one flash and use Canon equipment you will need to buy a couple of 530ex Speedlite.

Using an off camera flash system is ideal for portraiture in outdoor settings. Once you have put the trigger on your DSLR and the receiver and flash on the stand you are ready to go.

It is important to establish what you are trying to achieve. Balancing the ambient or existing light with the flash is the key to using this set up. To create the perfect exposer and flash intensity the camera and flash will need to be on ‘Manual’. You cannot use TTL for this type of photography. You need to able to control the intensity of the flash.

Set up the flash, receiver and trigger on a stand

  • Set the flash and camera to manual

  • Manually set the aperture and speed on the camera

  • Correctly expose the image

  • Place the flash in position

  • Take a test shot

  • Adjust the flash

(If the flash is set to its lowest setting and is still to bright, move the flash further away from the subject)