5 Tips for Shooting Off-Camera Flash – Part 1

Occasionally I like to delve a little beyond the basics for some of the more advanced and forward-thinking folks in the photography audience, and this week, I’d like to do just that.  We’re going to talk in detail about off-camera flash!  Before you go running and screaming into the night, rest assured, I am not going off the deep end here.  Rather, I’d like to just delve a teensy bit into the gear.  For those of you that use your flash off-camera, congratulations!  If you’ve also got an umbrella, kudos – you’ve taken things even a step further.  Today, I am going to share with you the first tip to make sure you are using your light stand and umbrella correctly…

Tip #1.  Positioning the Umbrella

You’ll notice on a standard light stand that the umbrella will have to be inserted at an angle…you can either angle it upward or downward.  I see so many folks that are totally confused by this and I’ve got a great mnemonic to help you remember the right way:  I call it “Up For Luck!”  Take a look at the following side-by-side shots:

See how there is so much more light missing the umbrella from my strobe in the first shot? It’s falling out of the top and not really being controlled all that much.   Compare that to the second shot, where the umbrella is nicely filled out with light…a great softening effect for sure!  This is just one of five tips I am going to share with you over the next five weeks on lighting your shoots from an off-camera flash with nothing more than a single light stand and shoot through umbrella!  Ready for more?  Got your own ideas and tips/tricks to share?  Sound off in the comments, or tune back in next week for another tip to help soften and diffuse things even more!

For more photography articles from Jason, please visit his site at http://canonblogger.com

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9 Responses

  1. Yoopy says:

    I've also seen people put the umbrella adapter on the light stand upside down. The umbrella should be on the flash side of the adapter so that the umbrella pivots with the flash.

  2. Gerardo says:

    Maybe wouldn't be such a valuable advice for those how already work with Canon or Nikon cameras and strobes, but I really would appreciate an advice about how to use a Panasonic Lumix GX-1 camera and out of camera strobes. I haven't been able to set them to transmit TTL between them, neither to control by groups. Thanks!

    • kgarrison says:

      I am actually not sure you can do off-camera TTL with that camera. Once you go off-camera you are often better off in manual flash settings because TTL is going to try to balance everything. My Ninja Wireless triggers are a great way to get off-camera on a budget.

  3. Dave says:

    The Ninjas are great, I use them pretty much every wedding I photograph (thumbs up)

  1. September 11, 2012

    […] week, I started the series with a demonstration of how to correctly mount your umbrella to a light stand.  The clue was “up for luck” as a mnemonic.  Today, we’re going to add […]

  2. September 17, 2012

    […] 5 Tips for Shooting Off-Camera Flash – Part 1 (Camera Dojo) […]

  3. September 19, 2012

    […] the assistance of only a light stand and a shoot through umbrella.  As you may recall, in Week 1, we focused (if you’ll pardon the pun) on how to correctly attach the umbrella to the light […]

  4. October 9, 2012

    […] for how to get the most out of it!  Here’s what we’ve done so far: 1.  Attached the umbrella correctly 2.  Positioned the light as far away from the shoot-through as possible […]

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