“How To” Series: Off-Camera Flash


Margarita, Studio Portrait with Off-Camera Flash

Twelve articles (links below) to get you started with off-camera flash. The equipment you will need and how to use it.

Getting your flash off the camera opens up a whole new world of photographic possibilities. And the really good news: the equipment is way less expensive than it used to be. If you are ready to get started, I just finished writing (or re-writing) a series of articles on off-camera flash that covers the equipment you will need and shows you how to use it.

In the image above the shadows from Margarita’s eyelashes are only made possible by the off-camera flash high and to the right. You can see the catchlight it created in her yes. In the image below, the light and shadows on Rachel’s face are made possible by the off-camera flash as the main light, located high and to the left, plus an off-camera flash used as fill light, located low and to the right.

Rachel, Off-Camera Studio Flashes

Rachel, Studio Portrait with Off-Camera Flash

The emphasis in most of these articles is on off-camera speedlights. While you can easily spend $450 or more on a single speedlight, there are some good inexpensive speedlites out there for as little as $69-$120. You can also get radio transmitters for as low as $41-$87. You can use speedlites on location or in the studio. If you are going the low budget route, you need to know where to shop, what gear is the best to buy, and if there are any serious issues involved with low budget equipment. I cover all of that.

On the other hand, if you want to pull out all the stops, there is an article is on high powered yet economical studio lights.

If you have been wanting to do off-camera flash but have been scared off by what used to be really high prices, well, everything has changed. You too can jump into off-camera flash and all the lighting options it provides. So what are you waiting for?

This article was originally posted Dec. 13, 2015.  Revised and updated Dec. 10, 2016.

Article Links: Off-Camera Flash Series

“How To” Series: Off-Camera Flash – Series Introduction (this article)

Why Use Off Camera Flash?

Some of the Best Off-Camera Flash Equipment

Radio Controlled Speedlites: Yongnuo YN600EX-RT vs Canon 600EX-RT

Light Modifiers (Softeners) for Speedlites

Putting Together a “Studio in a Backpack”

How To Set Up a Halo Softbox or Umbrella with an Off Camera Speedlite

Photo Shoot: Using a Halo Softbox with a Yongnuo Radio Controlled Flash System

Environmental Portraits and Off-Camera Flash, Part 1

Environmental Portraits and Off-Camera Flash, Part 2

Environmental Portraits and Off-Camera Flash, Part 3

AlienBees: High Quality, Economical Studio Lights

Using the Histogram to Check Studio Flash Exposures

Book Links

To learn more about flash, TTL (through-the-lens) flash metering, manual flash, off-camera flash, studio flash, portrait photography and a whole lot more, read Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies. If is one of the highest rated photography books at Amazon.com. Learn more here and purchase it here.

Read the article Excellent “How To Photograph People” Books for the best books on people and portrait photography

Information Links

Ric Latham Photography: Yongnuo YN600EX-RT vs Canon 600EX-RT

The Best of the Best: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs and More. A series of articles that are a guide to the best of all things photographic.

Purchase Links

You can order off-camera flash equipment from Amazon.com via my Amazon powered photography store. Links follow. You get the same great Amazon prices, service,  guarantee, and return period, plus you help support my web sites and articles. Thanks!

Category Links

Wireless radio controlled speedlites for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Fuji, and Panasonic digital cameras. Some of these are manual exposure systems only.

Softbox, umbrella, and other accessories for off camera flash.

Canon speedlites and transmitter, Yongnuo speedlites and transmitter, and other off-camera flash accessories for Canon.

Nikon speedlites and transmitter, Yongnuo speedlites and transmitter, and other off-camera flash accessories for Nikon.

Links to Individual Items

LumoPro Umbrella Adapter for mounting a flash and softbox (or umbrella) on a tripod or light stand.

Tripods and Tripod Heads

CheetahStand C10 Portable Light Stand

Optical Slave System

Wein WP-HS Optical Slave (940-030)

Infrared Flash Systems

Canon ST-E2 Infrared Transmitter
Canon 580EX II Speedlite

Canon 430EX II Speedlite
Canon 550EX Speedlite

Nikon SU-800 Infrared Transmitter
Nikon SB-910 Speedlite

Nikon SB-900 Speedlite

Nikon SB-700 Speedlite

Nikon SB-400 Speedlite

Radio Controlled Flash Systems

Yongnuo YN560-TX transmitter made for Canon
Yongnuo YN560-TX transmitter made for Nikon

Yongnuo YN560 IV Speedlite
. The YN560 IV is compatible with other YN560 IV speedlites and also the YN560-TX transmitter. The YN560 IV will work with Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, Fujifilm, and Panasonic digital cameras.

Yongnuo YN-E3-RT ETTL Radio Transmitter for Canon
Yongnuo YN600EX-RT ETTL Radio Controlled Flash for Canon

Canon ST-E3-RT Radio Transmitter
Canon 600EX-RT Radio Controlled Speedlite

PocketWizard MiniTT1 Transmitter for Canon
PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver for Canon

PocketWizard MiniTT1 Transmitter for Nikon
PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver for Nikon
. You must have a FlexTT5 transceiver for each off-camera speedlite.