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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.
So even though the specifics are going to vary from brand to brand, and even camera to camera, I want to show you what I have been looking at as I have been working with this Canon camera and this flash during our photo shoots. So, the first thing that I am going to do is start with the flash itself. So we want to turn it on. Once we turn it on, we want to make sure that it's in Slave mode, right down here. And then finally, what I want to do is I want to check to make sure that the Group and the Channel are set to A and to 1.
These are the default settings, but you always want to note them just in case you accidentally push a button and change them. The other thing I want to point out is that the flash automatically goes to E-TTL mode. That's the Dedicated flash communication. You don't have to worry about it; as long as that light's on, you are in great shape. Now I am going to go to the speed light transmitter that's on top of the Canon camera, and I am going to go and turn it on.
Make sure that when you turn it on, you only go to the middle button here. Don't go over to Hold because that will prevent you from making other setting changes if you need to. Then I check the Channel, right here, to make sure that it's on 1. Ratio should be off, but E-TTL should be on. If it isn't on, all you have to do is press the shutter button on your camera part way to activate your camera, and now that indicates that the camera and the transmitter are communicating with one another.
Now we have the camera and the flash together, and you can see that we are on Channel 1 right here, Group A with our flash. Up here, we are on Channel 1 with our transmitter. E-TTL is on. We are ready to take pictures. Keep in mind that these settings will look a little different depending on the brand, even depending on the camera model, but this gives you the basic terminology and the things to look for when you are setting up your off-camera communication.
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