How to Use Flash Zones to Simplify Lighting Setups

When using studio lights and off-camera flashes, things can get complicated pretty quickly. Mastering artificial lighting is a tough challenge in photography, and one that takes a lot of your time. Below is a video describing how to you flash zones (or groups) to streamline your lighting setup and get multiple shots without the hassle rearranging your whole setup:

Flash zones work by allowing you to control a certain group of lights of your choice. Most professional flashes like the new Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT have a list of zones (designated as A,B,C,D…) that you can choose from. So say you have three strobes. One is set on zone A, the second on zone B, and the third on zone C.

Using a master flash, wireless controller, or radio controller, you can select which zones you want to turn on and off. You can turn A, B, and C on, or A and C, or just B. It’s much like remote control cars with different channels. If your remote control is switched to “1” then you can control the car that’s on channel “1.” Switch it to “2” and your controlling car number “2.” Only with flash zones, you can control multiple flashes at once.

flash groups

Radio controller for using flash zones

The advantage is a streamlined setup that allows you flexibility of lighting situations, saves you the hassle of rearranging your lights for every different shot, and keeps your subject from get restless from waiting.

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