STE P BY STE P Get moody
How to set up an off-camera Speedlight, and set your camera and flash for spot-on exposures
01 Work out the ambient exposure
Set Manual mode on your camera and select a shutter speed of 1/200 sec or less (most flashes won’t work at speeds higher than this). Take a test shot to work out the correct aperture and ISO for the ambient light – we set a shutter speed of 1/125 sec at f/2.8 and ISO400.
03 Diffuse the flash
Light from a small source like a Speedlight can be quite hard. If you can reflect the light or direct it through a diffusing material, it will be much more flattering. You can use a white brolly attached to a stand or the diffusing panel from a five-in-one reflector held in front of the flash.
05 Set the power
Set your Speedlight to Manual mode, then take a few test shots while adjusting the power (either by changing the output settings on the flash, or by changing the distance of the flash from the subject). We settled on a flash output of ¼ power with the flash positioned to the right.
02 Under-expose the ambient light
The next step is to under-expose the ambient light, in our case by decreasing the aperture setting to f/5.6. This gives a darkened image which is, in effect, the base exposure for the image. From here, you can use your Speedlight to pick out your subject.
04 Set up the flash
Attach the flash to a stand or tripod, or get someone to hold it – if your flash isn’t triggered wirelessly by your camera’s built-in flash, now’s the time to attach your sync cord or wireless flash trigger (see your trigger’s manual for details on how to set up the transmitter and transceiver).
06 Work the angles
Experiment by lighting the subject from different angles. Here we’ve moved the Speedlight up behind the tree for attractive backlighting that highlights the model’s fantastic hair. Combined with the dappled sunlight through the tree, the flash light looks entirely natural.