Off-Camera Flash Tutorial (Wireless Flash/Remote Flash/PocketWizard)


Hi, I’m Tony Northrup and for chapters 3 and 6 of my book I want to tell you about using a remote flash. By taking your
external flash off camera you can get studio lighting effects on the cheap. So you’ll need a little bit of extra
equipment, the cheapest way to get into it is to use what they call an off-
camera shoe cord. These shoe cords aren’t expensive at all,
but they have a limited reach and if you get a longer cord there’s a good chance
somebody is going to trip over it. For that reason this type of cord is
primarily used by wedding photographers who happen to use a bracket to allow
them to move the flash from horizontal to vertical positions. A better solution
is to get a wireless shutter trigger. These triggers from cowboystudio will
only cost you about thirty dollars. You connect one to the flash and one to your
camera and any time you push the shutter the flash
will fire. These cheap versions are a little bit limited though. First, they’re not completely reliable,
they’ll flake out sometimes and they might even break on you. So they’re not good
for professional use but that might be okay for amateur use. Second, they
don’t communicate all the, what they call the ETTL information, from the flash to
the camera. So your camera might not be able to auto
expose your flash correctly. That means you’ll need to manually adjust the flash
up and down. If you’re comfortable doing that it’s actually a great way to learn
and it’s something I prefer anyway. If you have a little bit more in your
budget you can upgrade to a PocketWizard system. PocketWizard is the system that I use
and the system will cost you about 450 maybe 500 bucks for both the transmitter
and the receiver. However, they’re completely reliable and
they work just great. So, to demonstrate how you can use off camera flash, I’m going to start by
taking a picture of Chelsea there without any flash. Note that i’m using a
remote shutter trigger which allows me to trigger my camera without actually
standing next to it. This will allow me to move around with
the flash. This system only costs about thirty dollars, you can get an off-brand
for that and I’ve had great luck with it. So I’ll fire that first picture. That’s
without any flash at all, not a bad effect. Now we’ll try it with an
on-camera flash. The on-camera flash look isn’t bad but it’s really common and it’s very flat. It adds a catch light to the eyes but it
also hides a lot of the detail in the face and doesn’t bring out, say, the
cheekbones in a portrait. You can make that much better by taking
your flash off camera. The first thing I’ll do is I’ll take a
picture with Chelsea and I’ll hold the flash just a little bit higher than it
would normally be so you can see the difference. I think that’s already a much more
pleasing effect. But as long as you’ve got the flash off camera you can walk
anywhere with it and check out the difference between side lighting, back
lighting, or any other type of lighting that you want. I’ll walk around now and
take a few different pictures so you can see the variety of different effects
that are available. You can see the wide variety of effects just by
moving the light to different places around the model. I want to show you one more trick. We’ll move to a wider angle shot of Chelsea and I’ll show you that you can
remove yourself from the photo. So this allows you to stand closer to the model
making the light brighter and a little bit softer by adding those two layers in
photoshop later we’ll be able to remove you or your light stand from the picture. So, first a shot without me in the picture.
Now I will move into the frame so I can light Chelsea directly with the flash. By using multiple exposures we can add those two pictures as layers into
Photoshop. Then, using the eraser tool I can simply erase myself from the picture. It’s an old photographers trick, it actually happened in the film days using multiple
exposures. This was for chapters three and six in
my book Stunning Digital Photography. If you liked it please click Subscribe
above so you can see new videos that I make and click like down below. Check out my facebook page Tony Northrup Photography and remember when you want to take portraits don’t just take it, make it.

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