Learn Off Camera Flash Photography

Why Learn To Use Flash

You know that feeling you get when the light is just perfect in your photo? The sun in the perfect place or a beam of light from somewhere falling exactly where you would place it if you could. It usually takes what would have been a mundane photo and turns it into something you look at over and over. What if you could always have exactly the light you wanted in your images? That’s the biggest reason to learn how to use flash and off camera flash in particular. If you’re looking to learn, I’ve compiled five fantastic resources for learning to use flash in your photos. Put on some coffee or open a beer and spend a little time poking around, then get out there and start shooting with flash!

Strobist Blog

David Hobby is a master of flash and speedlights in particular. His Strobist Blog has been going strong since 2006 and is aimed at all levels of flash users from those with no experience to seasoned professionals. This blog was the single biggest source of information for me personally when I began shooting with flash. If you’re just starting out, his Lighting 101 section is a great place to dive in. But be warned, you may find yourself itching to spend a little bit of money after reading because you’re going to feel like you know exactly what to do with all that gear from day one, his teaching is that good. Follow up with his Lighting 102 and 103 sections.

A Beginners Guide To Working With Flash Off-Camera

If you’re looking for a single article that gives a quick overview of working with off camera flash, A Beginners Guide To Working With Flash Off-Camera from Digital Photography School is prefect. The article includes photos to illustrate the concepts they cover. One particular item that makes this article helpful is the author takes you through the process of how they made the photo in the article. Being given the insight into the thought process of working with flash is a valuable tool. If you prefer a crash course and want to dive right in, this is the place to go.

Zack Arias – Onelight

When you’re starting out with flash, you may not want to jump in with both feet on the money side of things; if you’re like me, that’s not an option even if you wanted to. I started with single, used, twenty year old Nikon SB-28 speedlight and an inexpensive radio trigger. What could I do with a single flash? Zack Arias had the answer in his OneLight Workshop. He is a gifted photographer and an even better teacher. You will be amazed at what can be done with just a single speedlight. If you’re in the Atlanta area, Zack teaches this workshop and has a couple dates coming up in the next few weeks. He also has a bit a rags-to-riches story you might appreciate if you’re a budding photographer, check it out here.

Adorama TV

Adorama TV is a great all around resource for photography tutorial videos. Mark Wallace, Bryan Peterson and Gavin Hoey break down subjects and make them easy to understand. Between the two of them there are dozens of videos dedicated to flash photography from beginners level to advanced. You may be able to learn every aspect of flash photography without ever leaving the page. A great place to start to see what’s possible with a single flash is One Flash, Three Looks. Mark Wallace shows you how easy it can be to get beautiful, dramatic light from a single speedlight.

The Hot Shoe Diaries

Joe McNally is another master of the flash and again in particular, speedlights. Joe has dozens of videos and books out there covering all levels of flash photography. A big influence on my early flash learning was The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes. The photos in the book are inspirational and Joe breaks down each one with a behind the scenes look at what went into them. Joe uses Nikon speedlights and talks a bit about the Nikon Creative Lighting System but the core lessons can be applied to any flash system. My particular favorites are Yongnuo 560 IV speedlights. I’m on a budget when it comes to gear but still want good equipment, these flashes deliver. I use two of them along with the Yongnuo 560-TX transmitter. A single flash and transmitter will set you back about $100 USD but will open up a whole new world of possibilities for you.

Flash is an amazing tool for photography and will allow you to make photos that pop with light and drama. There is a learning curve and it helps to understand manual exposure but if you commit yourself to learning, you’ll love the results. If you’re not familiar with manual exposure, keep an eye the posts here, I’ll be announcing a video series later this summer with a crash course in shooting in manual.

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