Wireless flash triggers: how to set up and shoot with off-camera flash

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

Flash photography (and particularly off-camera flash) can be one of the more daunting elements of photography. It’s certainly the most technical and there are many little things you need to remember. But it’s not rocket science. Our technique editor Chris Rutter takes a look at how incorporating wireless flash triggers into your flash photography techniques can help transform your images.

Wireless Flash Triggers Video Transcript


There are lots of things to think about when using off-camera flash, so it can seem as difficult and even scary. But it’s really fairly simple, you just need to master some basic skills. So let’s take a look at how some cheap wireless triggers can help transform your flash photography.

Before I start I need to make sure that the trigger and receiver can talk to each other.

These Hahnel triggers have little switches inside the battery compartment, which need to be set exactly the same on both the transmitter and receiver. Some other models have a channel switch or LCD display, which needs to be set to the same channel number on both.

Now attach the transmitter to the top of the camera, and the receiver onto the flashgun.

Many models of receiver have a socket so you can attach it to a standard tripod, otherwise you’ll need a bracket or adapter to allow you to fix the flash to a tripod or lighting stand.

With the camera set to ISO 200 I need to select manual mode. Then set the shutter speed to the fastest speed that will work with flash.

On this Nikon D7000 that’s 1/250 second, but it may be slower on your camera. Then set the aperture to f/8.

On the flashgun I also need to set it to manual, and then change the ISO and the aperture so they are the same as I set on the camera.

Now I can position the flash about 45 degrees from the camera and finally set the power level.

The flash is around one metre from the subject, so if I change the power settings you’ll see the distance display change. On this flash 1/16 power will give the correct exposure at one meter.

Now I can simply put the flash in position and take a test shot.

If the subject is too bright move the flash a little further away from the subject, or if it’s too dark you can either move the flash closer or increase the power of the flash.

Remember it’s the distance between the flash and the subject that affects the exposure, rather than the camera.


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