One is a great number.

As you know, for a good flash picture you need many flashes. Or at least several.


Sometimes you want to do it the dramatic way. In that case, the number of flashes is not very important; the location of the flash, however, is.

And the worst possible location is “on your camera”.

So you take your single light source off the camera. If you own a Nikon camera, or a Canon 60D – or the Canon 7D I took this picture with in yesterday’s Canon 7D class in Toronto, it’s simple.

  1. Using your camera’s menu, you make its pop-up flash into the “master” (Canon) or “commander” (Nikon).
  2. Ensure that you disable the “master’s” own flash function: it should only fire commands (“Morse code”) at the remote flash (430EX, 580EX, SB600, SB800, SB900, etc) that you are holding in your left hand…
  3. …which you have set to “slave” (Canon)/”remote” (Nikon) mode.
  4. You then ensure that the cell on the slave flash (on the front of a Canon, on the side of a Nikon) can see the command flashes emitted by the master.

A lot of words. What it means is that with just the right camera and a simple single hand-held flash you can create dramatic side-lit images like this, of a student in last night’s Toronto course:

And this, of another student:

Aren’t those great images? They show, I hope, that you can indeed take interesting images with a single flash aimed straight at your subject. As long as that single flash is not positioned on top of your camera.

About the settings. I set the camera in Manual exposure mode, and I made my settings right to create a dark background – i.e. I wanted to basically see only the flash light in the image.That meant 400 ISO, 1/125th second, f/5.6 on my 50mm f/1.2 lens. Razor sharp and dramatic light.

A note. I just want to remind you all that to learn these and many other advanced techniques, you have one chance to learn from me and, all the way from Los Angeles, my special guest star David Honl (the inventor of the great range of Honl Photo modifiers) on March 19, in Toronto. Just click here to book – in one day, just three weeks away, learn how to use flash, the most exciting light. There is still space, but to be assured of a spot, you need to book now. I promise you will be delighted with what you learn.

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