5 Steps to Success for Using Off-Camera Flash

Improve your photos with these five tips for using off-camera flash. Then, learn even more essential off-camera flash techniques when you enroll in award-winning photographer Neil van Niekerk’s online Craftsy class Off-Camera Flash Photography.

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1. Make backup plans

As you move into off-camera flash and your equipment starts getting more complicated, it is important to have backup plans, especially for shoots with tight timelines. Look into backup power sources, spare flash bulbs and batteries, and additional triggers or wired backups.

2. Use sturdy light stands

Use sturdy, safe light stands that are appropriate for the amount of weight you intend to put on them. Get some sand bags to weigh the stands down if you are in breezy conditions or in a situation where a light may fall.

light-stands-off-camera-flash

Use sturdy light stands.

3. Decide on the look and feel you want

Before you get started, decide how you want things to turn out. This will help you decide how many lights to set up and which modifiers to put on them. Is it a harsh look? Maybe bare bulbs or grids will help. Is it a soft look? Maybe big umbrellas or softboxes. Having the right equipment for the job set up ahead of time will save you a lot of time and effort.

speedlight-tutorial

Decide on the look and feel of your portrait ahead of time.

4. Identify ambient light

Take note of the ambient light, whether it is from the sun, a lamp, or a window. The color temperature of your ambient light will help you decide whether you need to use gels on your off camera flashes. Matching color temperatures will give you a uniform look.

speedlight-portrait-photography

Match the ambient light.

5. Be realistic about your needs

We are all tempted to go overboard with our gear purchases. When looking to buy off-camera flashes, figure out whether you can still get your desired results with speedlights (which you may already have) or lights with a smaller amount of power.

speedlights-used-outdoors

You don’t necessarily need expensive lighting equipment.

Now you’re well on your way to getting the most from off-camera flash. Ready to really transform your snapshots into professional photos with just a bit of gear and the right technique? Sign up for the online Craftsy class Off-Camera Flash Photography. During this online class, expert Neil van Niekerk reveals techniques for shooting outdoors, using multiple speedlights, creating mood and much more. You’ll even get personalized advice and your photos critiqued.

What are some of your favorite tricks for working with off-camera flash?

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