Category Archives: Flash

Photo Tips: Using Off Camera Flash

Photography is the Art, Science, and practice of creating durable images by recording light  (Wikipedia).  The word Photography is Greek in origin.  The word “Photo” mean Light.  The word “Graph” means to write or to record (as in recording History).  Thus,  Photography is the Art and Science of recording or capturing light.  This is a little definition that I always instruct to my students and club members whenever I begin to teach a Flash Photography or Studio Lighting class.

In this posting, I will describe 3 separate intended purposes on how Off Camera Flash can be used.  However, we need to briefly describe the necessary equipment needed to capture Off Camera Flash images.  First, a pair of Radio Triggering Devices are required, (1) Transmitter that mounts on top of the Hot Shoe base of the camera and (1) Receiver for each flash unit.  I personally use the Pocket Wizard brand of radio triggering devices.  These instruments are typically bought individually or they can be bought in pairs (Pocket Wizard – 2 pack).  One Sync cable will be required for each Receiver unit to plug into each Flash unit.



Second, each flash units will need to be mounted to a Light Stand by means of an Elbow Bracket.



Finally, Flash Modifiers are a personal preference based upon the quality of light that is desired on the subject.  There are a variety of modifiers like Shoot Through Umbrellas, Soft Boxes, and Beauty Dishes.



Next, when using Off Camera Flash, one must learn the 3 different intended purpose of Flash Photography.  This means when to use Flash and how to use it.

1).  Fill Light:  Fill Flash is used to lightly reduce shadows created on a subject within an environment that is already fully lit with ambient lighting.  The strength of the Fill Flash is powered less than the amount of ambient or natural light available.

Off Camera Flash-01

2.)  Balanced Lighting: In certain environments, such as “Dabble Lighting”, Fill Flash can be used, but at a stronger power.  With Balanced Lighting, the Flash is powered as equal to the ambient lighting.  If the Flash becomes more powerful than the ambient lighting, then the background areas with appear darker.


Off Camera Flash-02

3.)  Full Main Light: Finally, when environments are fully lit by direct sunlight, this causes shadows to become more harsh and darker.  Thus, the strength of the Fill Flash needs to become as strong, if not stronger, than the ambient light. Here it will completely over power the shadows


Off Camera Flash-03


We will soon post another topic regarding “How to control the power of the flash” and “How to meter flash”.

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