Free your flash

Take your flash­gun off-cam­era and it’ll im­prove your por­traits in­stantly. Fol­low our walk­through and see for your­self!

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When we get started in pho­tog­ra­phy, we all buy the essentials: a cam­era body, a stan­dard zoom lens, and maybe a tri­pod. Then we start snap­ping away and learn­ing about the cam­era. But (in our opin­ion) 90 per cent of pho­tog­ra­phy is not about find­ing the right sub­ject, or even getting the com­po­si­tion spot on, it’s ac­tu­ally learn­ing about the light – its qual­ity, po­si­tion, in­ten­sity and colour.

As pho­tog­ra­phers, we don’t have to wait for the light to be right, or make the best of what we’ve got, we can take con­trol of it. Most of us have a flash­gun ly­ing around, but never use it. We’re go­ing to change that, so dust yours off, buy some cheap wire­less flash trig­gers and put your flash­gun to work.

This is­sue we’ll start with sim­ply tak­ing it off-cam­era. We’ll show you how to set your flash­gun up, get it fir­ing and balance its power with your cam­era set­tings for a stun­ning por­trait. You don’t need any fancy equip­ment. A kit lens such as the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 will be fine for this, as it’s the light that makes the shot. We’ve used a max­i­mum aper­ture of f/5.6, so you can see that super-wide aper­ture isn’t es­sen­tial for tak­ing great pho­tos. And there are no light me­ters here – we’re go­ing guerilla-style to use our off-cam­era flash in the sim­plest way pos­si­ble.

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