Flash photography made easy: using multiple flashguns to add depth and style
In this final section we’ll look at the creative side of using flash. We’ll explain how to use multiple flashguns to add depth and style to your pictures.
Once you’ve mastered all the techniques we’ve covered so far in this series, up your game and throw in another flashgun for the ultimate in cool off-camera techniques. Here, we used two flashguns, but you can use as many as you want.
One of our flashguns was tethered to our camera using the SC-17 cable. This was held away from the camera to light our subject from the side, as shown in our previous post on using off-camera flash.
However, in this set-up we’ve also added a second flashgun to create a backlight. As you can see from the before-and-after shots, the extra light helps to separate the subject from the background and create a sense of depth.
We switched the second flashgun to a remote mode. This essentially made it a ‘slave’ to the master flash, which was triggered by the camera when the shutter was pressed.
In Slave mode, the second flash will be triggered by the master flash and both will fire simultaneously.
Once again, while the automatic modes work well, we prefer working in Manual mode. It’s best to start by getting the position and power of one light right, then adding additional lights as you progress.
Unless you’ve got a lot of willing helpers, you’ll also need to get some sort of light stand or support for your second flashgun. Most flashguns come with a convenient hotshoe tripod adaptor that can be screwed into a tripod head, so if you’re hand-holding your camera, try using your tripod as a light stand.
Flash of inspiration
For funky effects, try covering one or more of your flashguns with a coloured gel. For the image we used here, for instance, we used a red gel to light the brick wall in the background. Be careful not to go over the top, though, as too many colours can start to look tacky.
Digital camera modes explained: choose the best shooting mode for your subject
DSLR Tips: the best settings to preserve detail in any situation
Getting sharp images: every photo technique you need to know starting out
Using radio triggers in your flash photography
If you’re really serious about taking pictures with multiple off-camera flash units, consider buying a set of radio triggers, or try a PocketWizard.
This nifty device will fire all your lights simultaneously.
While slaves and infrared triggers are fine in most situations, there will be times when the ‘connectivity’ between the various flashguns and your camera will fail.
A PocketWizard may be expensive (a basic set-up costs about £100), but will be worth every penny if you get a taste for multiple flash work.