Today, I’ve got an off camera manual flash tutorial for you!
The first thing you got to do is get the flash off of the camera, and you can do that using a wireless triggering system.
For this tutorial we’re taking a self portrait, and when you’re working with flash, the most important thing you need to understand is that you’re going to be managing multiple lights. Even if you’re only using one flash for Your photograph, you’re still managing multiple light sources because there’s always some sort of ambient light in the scene.
So when working with flash, the very first thing you need to do is set your ambient light exposure. For this particular portrait, I want to kill the ambient light, which means I don’t want any of the studio light here to show up in the photograph that I’m going to take.
To achieve that I want to set my camera settings to underexpose the ambient light in the scene by two to three stops.
Once you’ve managed your ambient exposure you can move on to your flash exposure, and w hat you want to do in this situation is work one light at a time.
In this particular photograph, I’m actually going to use three lights, but I’m going to set up the first light and make sure that that is exactly where I want it before I set up the second light.
The reason you want to do this is because if you set up multiple lights all at once, and then you take a picture, and you look at it and you go, I don’t like the light, there’s something wrong with the light, when you see something you don’t like, you won’t be able to identify exactly where it’s coming from, because you’ll have three potential light sources that are causing the problem.
So with that in mind, what we’re going to do is set up our background lights first, and I want to add this nice magenta onto the background to complement my hat. In order to get that magenta light on the background, we have to take a flash and use it to illuminate that background.
I’m using a Godox AD200, which will be pointing directly at the backdrop, and when I pose for the photograph I’m going to be standing right in front of it for the camera.
With the light set in place you just need to get your power setting dialed in, and once that first light is set we can move on to the next light, and that’s going to be the main light, another Godox AD200.
What I’m going to do is I’m going to elevate this up, and I’m going to add an umbrella, but I’m not going to open it up all of the way, because I don’t want full diffusion, and then I’m going to get the power level dialed in.
And that’s the basic process! Off camera Manual mode flash is not difficult. It can be a little bit time consuming to get your setup just right, but all it amounts to is working one line at a time, starting with your ambient, then adding your first flash and getting those settings just right, and if you’re using more flashes, adding one more flash at a time until you have the lighting exactly where you want it!
I used to be scared of my flash, and I understand how intimidating flash photography can be, but a flash is just a tool. Once you understand how that tool works you’ll be using your flash to create photos that used to seem impossible.
If you want to master your flash and take those amazing photos, check out my Understanding Flash Photography Video Course.