The easy way to set up off-camera flash for perfectly lit shots

The easy way to set up off-camera flash for perfectly lit shots

Taking your flashgun off the top of your camera and using it to light your subject more creatively is one of the best ways to improve your flash photography, but it’s often seen as complicated, expensive and a bit daunting. However, the availability of cheap wireless triggers and the instant review on your camera mean that it’s never been cheaper or easier to experiment with off-camera flash. In this tutorial we’ll show you a really easy way to set up off-camera flash to achieve perfect results from your flash photography.

The easy way to set up off-camera flash for perfectly lit shots

If using a cheap wireless trigger you’ll have to set the exposure manually, so it takes a little practice, but – like many photography skills – it’s just a case of learning the basics, working methodically and using your skills creatively.

You may need to change the aperture and flash power settings depending on the distance between the flash and your subject, and the flashgun you’re using.

You can also fine-tune the flash exposure by moving the flash – 
move it a little closer to the subject to make it brighter, or further away to make it darker.

Master the basics and you can try a number of new techniques, including multiple off-camera flash set-ups and balancing ambient and flash exposures.

 SEE MORE: Off-camera flash – how to stop fearing your flashgun and take control of lighting

How to set up off-camera flash: step 1

01 Select the channel
Make sure that the transmitter and receiver are set to the same channel. On some models there is a simple switch or numbered display for the channel. On these Hähnel triggers there are dipswitches under the battery cover, which need to be set the same on trigger and receiver.


How to set up off-camera flash: step 2

02 Attach the trigger
Now you are ready to attach 
the transmitter to the top of the camera, and then the receiver to the base of the flashgun. You should also attach the flash to a tripod or lighting stand. Many receivers have a standard tripod bush on the bottom for this, or you can use an adapter.


How to set up off-camera flash: step 3

03 Set the exposure
Switch your camera to Manual and select ISO200, then choose a shutter speed that will work with flash – usually 1/250 sec or slower. Set the aperture – f/8 is a good starting point – then set your flash to manual and check the aperture and ISO are set to the same as the camera.


How to set up off-camera flash: step 4

04 Position the flash
For your first shots, position the flash at about 45° degrees from the camera. Next, change the power setting on the flash according to the aperture you set and the distance the flash is from the subject. Most flashguns have a rear display that indicates which setting you need.


How to eliminate harsh shadows when using flash
Master fill flash in 4 easy steps
Bounce flash photography techniques in 4 simple steps
49 awesome photography tips and time savers

  • arts

    “Most” flashguns today do not have a display on the back.

  • Darrien Kemp

    Why set the iso to 200? Never used flash but think it’s time.

  • Hugh Mobley

    Do exactly this all of the time with up to three or four flashes, however, just had three flashes overheat, and one crashed for good, I am trying multiple constant LED video lights to see what happens,