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

Lighting portraits with off-camera flash

Adding texture with off-camera flash

Adding texture with off-camera flash

Shot with on-camera flash

When you’re taking close-up photographs with a pop-up flash you run the risk of a subject not being evenly lit, such as our image above.

SEE MORE: In-camera flash settings: exploring your built-in flash options

The lens or lens hood might cast a shadow over the subject, as has happened here, where a 100mm macro lens was used for this leaf shot.

Even if the subject isn’t obscured by shadow, shooting with front-on flash does little to add any depth.

Adding texture with off-camera flash

Shot with off-camera flash

Off-camera flash allows you to light a close-up subject more effectively. You can ensure the subject is lit evenly across the frame, and also reveal texture and form by positioning the flash low and to the side. Similar to low, raking sunlight, this will reveal the surface texture of the subject.

Here, we used an off-camera cord and held the flash close to the top edge of the frame, then relied on TTL metering and a small aperture setting to prevent overexposure.

PAGE 1: Common questions about off-camera flash
PAGE 2: Shoot with off-camera flash using cords
PAGE 3: Adding texture with off-camera flash
PAGE 4: Improve your vertical shots with off-camera flash
PAGE 5: Lighting portraits with off-camera flash

READ MORE

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