Unlocking the Light: Maximizing Off-Camera Flash Techniques

Flashes, as the majority of us are familiar with them are tiny devices designed to fit inside the camera’s hot shoe. They come with a mounting foot at the bottom to serve precisely that purpose. You put it in to fix it, switch on the flash and take a picture. However, most of the time the results aren’t great.

A typical photograph taken using an on-camera flash similar to this. The camera’s view was of your gorgeous wife or gorgeous husband. In the photograph, they’ve transformed into a shining vampire, with blood-red eyes! The photo quickly is deleted in case you get their ire.

Today, I’m going to show you that this gruesome outcome doesn’t have to be the reality you live with – I’ll demonstrate how to let go of the light using flash off-camera.

NIKON Z 6 + Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED @ 105mm, ISO 100, 1/250, f/1.8

The photos I used in this post during the quarantine time of the pandemic. my family and I sought refuge in our forest cabin. As an educator I was working remotely, instead of being in-person. I was compelled to imagine these months of teaching in the woods. Thus, a picture series that used off-camera flashes was created.

Why You Should Consider Using Your Flash Off-Camera

The most efficient way to increase the luminescence of an LED is tilting the head of the flash so that the beam bounces off your wall or ceiling. This is a good idea as that you’re in a room. Although it does reduce the esoteric nature of light, it’s still not very exciting. This article is all about liberating your flash to move it in towards a new direction!

If you take the flash off of the camera’s hot shoe you are granted a huge amount of creative freedom. You have total control over the side that the light source will be as well as how far away it will be, and the number of sources of light you’d like for your photograph.

Even if you only have one flash instead of a multi-flash set-up, using off-camera shots could be an eye-opener. You can be sure that the images included in the article were shot using only one flash.

NIKON Z 6 + NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S @ 35mm, ISO 160, 1/50, f/6.3

Necessary Equipment for Off-Camera Flash

What are the essentials for this type of photography? The primary ingredient would be the light source itself. It is ideal to have a stronger model. Personally, I prefer the previous model of the Nikon SB-5000 flash. Godox also produces excellent flashes with a fantastic price/performance ratio. The power of the flash is useful as you’ll use a diffuser to diffuse the light (more on that later). A flash with a lot of power allows you to take advantage of a sunny afternoon easier.

The next step is to sync the flash to the photo you shoot. We can leave the cables behind and let us remove the flashes you? Another option is to utilize two flashes, one for command, and the other as an receiver. I refer to this as flashception. The commander flash is placed on your camera and it causes the off-camera flash when you snap a photo.

But the combination of a radio transmitters and receivers can be even more efficient. In contrast to the previous method that used flashes, these can be located further apart while the two lights don’t need in order to “see” each one. Their performance in the sun is more stable. Certain flashes, including that of the Nikon SB-5000 or the above-linked Godox VING V860IIN come with a receiver.

To create the light of the flash soft, I would suggest using one of the various kinds of diffusers. As Nicholas explained in his article about diffusers, you can’t expect to get any softness from a tiny diffuser. A bigger area will offer more light and will work best for larger subject matter (AKA individuals). Remember that a diffuser can dim down the brightness of the flash, which is why I recommend a strong flash. Also, unless you have a willing helper, you’ll have buy an sturdy light stand to keep the diffuser and flash in place.

NIKON D5 + Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED @ 105mm, ISO 100, 1/160, f/1.6

Quality of Light and Recommended Settings

Now that you have the necessary components – the flash, transmitter/receiver, diffuser, and light stand – most of your work is done, in terms of buying equipment. However, you may need to purchase some gels for your flash to alter the colour of light. This way, you’ll be able to adapt the flash’s color to the light in the surrounding (or generate interesting atmospheres by using different flash shades).

When it comes to setting your camera’s settings, this is pretty easy. However, you’ll need to feel at ease using manual modes. take a look at the Photography Fundamentals Guide if require help with this. When you are in manual mode, you set your aperture to provide you with the depth of field you want and then set both your ISO and shutter speed. The speed of your shutter will either brighten or dim just the “ambient light” part that is exposed. In addition, your ISO will either darken or brighten equally the “ambient light” as well as”flash light “flash light” part of your exposure (so does the aperture).

One trick I prefer to use is to shoot the image without flash first and see if I feel about the effect of the light from the surrounding. Typically, this involves subexposing the photo with 1 or 2 EV so that the flash some space to add to the exposure.

It’s time to alter the flashes! This is typically done using your radio transmitter. It is possible to use TTL flash meters, i.e. an automatic flash mode. However, I’ve found that I achieve more consistent results when I adjust the power of the flash by hand. The basic principle is. 1/1 is the complete flash power, and 1/128 is generally the lowest power. In daylight my values are typically close to the 100% power.

You can also alter the intensity and tone of the light that is emitted by altering the distance that the flash is away from your subject. The closer you get, the more intense and soft the light will reflect upon your subject. This is it will also create a more “spotlight” effect you’ll experience even in darker environments.

NIKON Z 6 + NIKKOR Z 24mm f/1.8 S @ 24mm, ISO 100, 1/500, f/1.8


Are you ready to allow flash off-camera? You can play with your imagination. I hope that you will be able to see through the pictures of this post that it is possible to achieve impossible things using the flash that is off camera… Well, impossible when you have the flash connected in cameras..

It’s not required to be costly also. Third-party brands like Godox using some of their transmitters for radio may be much less expensive than the cost of a brand name Nikon and Canon flash. You can also purchase the equipment to reduce costs. In the end, what’s most important factor is the process of creativity – and wherever there’s a desire there’s an opportunity.

I hope this article can help you in the process of liberating the light. No matter if you have one off-camera or multiple they’ve changed from a passive position of accepting light into the active task of controlling it. I wish you lots of enjoyment with this method, and excellent (artificial) lighting!