Off Camera Flash Photography by Andrew Miller
Off camera flash photography is a concept everyone may not be a familiar with, but the effect achieved by using this technique, you can turn good wedding photographs into great wedding photographs. By changing the aspect of where the lighting is coming from, it can create extremely interesting light and shadow that can really bring a picture to life. Off Camera Flash is often abbreviated to OCF by the way!
By providing artificial light, using a source away from the camera itself, a subtle ‘glow’ effect can be produced across the face of the subject, giving the moment captured added depth and richness of colour.
A wonderful byproduct of off-camera flash photography is the interesting shadows that are cast, complementing and offering the contrast to the subtle lighting.
Off Camera Flash Photography – How the Effect is Created
Using a ‘master and slave’ setup, whereby remotely controlled flash units are activated via a controller, fitted to the hot-shoe of the camera, each device is able to communicate with each other via infrared. Signals are sent at the exact moment of exposure, activating the flash units and creating this beautiful and unusual effect.
The equipment required to create this effect looks expensive – but it can be quite cheap. A simple trigger and receiver setup combined with a cheap speed light will suffice. Off course if you are a Bristol Wedding Photographer like I am then you can and should purchase the bigger, more powerful kit – it gives you more options basically. The exact brand you buy will depend on your camera model.
If you want o buy and bring your won you can – however I have a wide selection of Godox lights and triggers you are more than welcome to use. It can be a bit expensive to buy your own kit if you are not sure what you are doing at first!
Triggers – you will need two of these. One for your camera and one for your flash unit. Some more expensive flash units have receivers built in. This Off Camera Flash Set from Amazon is the great value. It has a flash unit, two triggers plus a few extra goodies! That is all you need to get started, and all you need to come to my workshops if you want to learn how to use the kit you have purchased yourself. I provide kit if you don’t have it by the way.
If your budget can not stretch to wireless triggers you can easily go for a cheaper / lower cost option and use “sync cables“. Every camera and flash will have a what is known as a sync port on them. The trick, however, is making sure you get the right cable as sync ports come in many sizes – 2.5mm, 3.5mm etc. You may need an adapter to connector one end of a sync cable to the camera and to the flash itself.
Light stand – you need to put the flash unit on something to be able to move it around. Again, it’s a cheap one – but will do the trick. Click here for the Amazon link
You really need to be careful about the light stand. Make sure it is stable enough to hold the weight of the flash you have, the flash holder and any light modifiers (see below). Get one that is too flimsy and it will break too easily. Get one that is built like a tank and you won’t want to use it.
You can also get specially made bags, that you fill with sand, to place on the bottom of the light stand and keep it weighted down. Personally, I prefer to use my camera bag, or when I am photographing weddings I ask a bridesmaid or usher along to help me.
Softbox and Flash holder. This setup isn’t really the cheapest – but it is the most versatile! Click for the link from Amazon
This video is on my YouTube channel and is a (very!) rough and dirty example on the Off-Camera Flash Photography that I use! I am using Canon cameras there, but the principles are exactly the same, regardless of camera brand or even if you use film or digital.
Adding mood using Off Camera Flash
The best examples of off-camera lighting will add depth, mood and dimension through clever interplay of highlight and shadow and it is the savvy choice for anyone wanting to create lasting memories that just ‘pop’ off the page and take the viewer right back to that special moment.
Using multiple Lights
You are not stuck with just one off-camera flash unit – you can use as many as you want. They can be controlled, via wireless, in groups. So you could have 2 or 3 in Group A and 2 or 3 in group B. Each group would have it’s own particular power settings and each light could have it’s own individual light modifiers. And as expected this would add greater drama and effect to your images.
The image above was shot, at a real wedding, using multiple light settings, with both lights gelled with a CTO. This gives it a warm cast and after some manipulation gives a real fine art quality to the wedding photograph.
Off Camer Flash Photography
If you want to continue to work when it gets dark, if you want to learn how to utilise a wedding venue to the best, if you are worried about what to do when it rains you NEED to learn how to use off camera flash photography – and this workshop is just for you.
What it Costs
The whole day will cost £195 which includes drinks, meals etc. If you wish to bring a second photographer along the price is £350 for the both of you.
Partners (husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends etc) are an important part of making a successful business as a photographer, even if they do nothing more than support you emotionally. So as a result of that partners are welcome to join for the day’s workshop for £25 (to cover drinks & meals).
I like to keep things small so EVERYONE gets a chance to get some real benefit from it and goes away not just being inspired but with real practical tips on sales techniques and closing the deal.
Off Camera Flash Photography
1-1 Dates arranged as required, please get in touch.
Fully Qualified Professional & Internationally Experienced Training Consultant
- UK Military Train the Trainer (TTT) programme (6-week intensive course)
- Degree level Adult-Adult (1-1 / 1-many) training qualification
- Masters Level qualification in Coaching & Mentoring with the Institute of Leadership & Management
- Qualified to administer and use psychometric assessments from the British Psychological Society (BPS)
- 25 years of training experience within the British Military and National & International Blue Chip Organisations.
- Includes 16 years of corporate training within the UK, USA, Europe, Middle East and the Far East.
- Degree Level Photography Course (via British Army)
Andrew’s Training & Development Experience
Andrew is a fully qualified and professional trainer with 25 years of adult training & development experience gained within the British Army and his corporate life before becoming a photographer. (His last full-time role was a Group Learning & Development Manager in charge of development of the CEO, senior management teams and individual Directors for a FTSE 100 company)
That means he knows how to get complex messages across in an easy to understand way. He knows how different people learn, not just at different rates but in different ways. In short, he knows what he is doing in a training environment.
Saturday & Sunday: 11:00AM–3:00PM