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Photo Assignment: Off-Camera Flash

with Derrick Story

Video: Introduction

Shows how to get dramatic lighting results by using just one or two detached strobes that are triggered remotely by a digital SLR.
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Photo Assignment: Off-Camera Flash
Video duration: 0s 50m 3s Intermediate


In this installment of our popular Photo Assignment series, Derrick Story shows how to get professional lighting results by using just one or two strobes that are detached from the camera and triggered remotely by Canon or Nikon digital SLRs. Photo Assignment: Off-Camera Flash covers how to improve the appearance of photos taken indoors, and reduce the appearance of harsh shadows, and get soft, beautiful light that flatters any subject. Along the way, learn lighting fundamentals and how to assemble a kit of equipment essential to any digital photographer who shoots portraits.

Topics include:
  • Comparing off-camera flash to on-camera flash
  • Getting started with equipment
  • Triggering a remote flash
  • Shooting with off-camera lighting
  • Balancing the output from multiple flashes
  • Simplifying exposure with Canon and Nikon flash systems
  • Viewing the results from a shoot
  • Sharing favorite shots on Flickr


Hi! I'm Derrick Story, Professional Photographer and Senior Contributor for Macworld magazine. Welcome to the off- camera flash photo assignment. If you've ever looked at a beautiful indoor portrait, and wished that you could make that kind of photograph, this tutorial is for you. The key to success is moving the flash off your camera, then modifying its output to create lighting that's more flattering for your subject. Many enthusiasts never try this, because they're concerned that this type of photography requires thousands of dollars of additional lighting equipment.

Yes, you can spend that much, but I'm going to show you how to get started with just a couple of speed light flashes, stands, and simple modifiers for your strobes. Along the way, you'll discover lighting fundamentals that will immediately improve your photography. I'll show you setups as simple as a single light on a stand, then teach you how to further control your environment by balancing the output of multiple flashes. Soon you'll be assembling your own photographer's kit that you can take on location, or use at home. We'll focus on Canon and Nikon flash systems that simplify exposure, allowing you to concentrate on the artistic aspects of your work.

But the fact of the matter is the principles covered here can be applied to any brand of flash system. Once you try these techniques for yourself, you can share your favorite shots on our Flickr public group, moderated by me. So, let's have fun, keep it simple, and start making better photographs right now.

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