In our latest Professional Photographer to the Rescue post, famous portrait photographer Damien Lovegrove shares his best off camera flash photography tips for coping with difficult lighting when shooting portraits outdoors.
Meet our professional photographer
Damien Lovegrove is one of the UK’s most sought-after wedding and portrait photographers. Having learned his trade as a cameraman and lighting director at the BBC, he swapped moving imagery for stills ten years ago and has since built up a hugely successful photography business. He now shares his knowledge through workshops and seminars. See www.lovegroveconsulting.com.
Meet our apprentice
Richard Twiner works in a civilian role for the police and recently completed an A-level in Photography. His course taught him all the ins and outs of studio flash, but outdoor and off camera flash still puzzles him. He’d like advice on perfecting his photo composition and lighting skills outside of the studio environment.
Is Richard using his camera and flash gear in the best possible way?
Lock and load
So Richard could use the flashgun away from his DSLR, he attached the Canon Speedlite Transmitter to his 40D’s hotshoe. Damien told Richard to use the lock switch to stop it slipping off mid shoot.
“When you turn it on, the red pilot light should come on,” says Damien. “If it’s taking a while then it usually means the batteries are going flat, so always make sure you carry spares.” The ST-E2 Transmitter takes a 2CR5 Lithium battery. We set the transmitter to channel 1.
Switch to slave
For Richard’s flashgun to work off camera, he was told to switch it to ‘slave’ mode. On the Speedlite 580EX II, Damien told him to hold down the zoom button for a few seconds until a sub menu appeared. Richard then moved the select dial to turn the ‘slave’ on and pressed Set on the dial.
He then clicked twice on the zoom button until the channel selector (CH.) started flashing, and set the channel to 1. With flash and transmitter in sight of each other, Richard pressed the pilot light on the transmitter and the flash fired.
PAGE 1: Meet our professional photographer and apprentice
PAGE 2: Setting up to shoot off camera flash photography
PAGE 3: Final off camera flash tips from our professional photographer
PAGE 4: Our professional photographer’s recommended gear
PAGE 5: Shot of the Day
Flash photography made easy: master everything from pop-up flash to multiple flashguns
How camera flash works: free photography cheat sheet
Flash compensation: how to get perfectly balanced exposures
Professional Photographer to the Rescue: outdoor portraits that look like real life