Take your flash off camera

The best way to improve your flash images is to take your flash off the camera.

As I did here in last night’s Mastering Flash class:

Student, lit with flash (Photo: Michael Willems)

You see, that is direct flash – unmodified. Off-camera, using remote TTL (or I could have used a cable).

So yes, it can easily be done – as long as the flash light axis is not the same as your lens axis. Straight into a woman’s face from above is light we love – but crucially, straight into her face does not mean straight from your camera’s perspective!

Now, do not get me wrong: modified is great. Like with a small softbox:

Which from the front looks like this (note the dark circle that prevents light spots):

Which, when combined with a second flash camera right to add edge/hair light, gets me this, of another kind student volunteer in last night’s class:

Student, lit with flash (Photo: Michael Willems)

Simple, no? Just remember:

  • Axis of light <> axis of lens.
  • TTL is fine, if you know how it works.
  • Wireless TTL works very well indeed indoors (and with clever management can be used outdoors also).
  • Keeping it simple often works well.

Simple. With just one or two flashes and a modern cameera you can produce excellent work. (Once you know how it all works, and that is we come in!)


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