Off Camera flash


Got a 580ex II flashgun the other day along with an 85 1.8 lens. Flash is the one thing I’ve never really considered in my photos, but the more I see inspiring work the more I learn that lighting is often involved, whether it be in the studio or on location, and so it’s something I’ve given myself the aim of learning more about. I know I can’t expect Leibovitz style results with one little flashgun but one has to start somewhere right? Any good websites or advice on naturalistic understated lighting? Stuff like you would assume is used in shots like these (again I realise that in these shots there are likely 1000’s of $$$ worth of lighting) Not too keen on brash gimmicky stuff that you often find on flickr etc. Thanks in advance!

12 Responses to “Off Camera flash”

  1. I believe you mean “can’t expect” but yeah, I was in the same situation some time ago and all I could find was strobist-like stuff that were.. well, no.

    After a while I realized it’s not my thing (or at least for now) and sold the flashgun.

  2. Sebastian said

    Haha are you watching Mad Men or how come you exactly linked January Jones, who acts in it? Great series.

    Anways, considering the flash .. I haven’t use it much myself, but I’d consider the Strobist blog a good resource – and as I see they have just featured a video about this shoot. Anyways, Strobist seems like a good starting point.

    Maybe a way of getting into it is getting a few cheap flashes off ebay and get a remote trigger set, I got a Kaktus V4 for little money from Hong Kong and it works fine. Matthias used it for some skate shots and it seems to work really well. Limitation of camera flashes seems to be that you don’t have fancy stuff like beauty dishes and soft boxes available.

    Alternative to all that can one of the cheap Elinchrom sets or AlienBee that seem to be cheap too.

  3. Magda said

    you’re right about the light – if i only had some nice flash i’d surely use it. and the lens you got… i feel something strange about 85mm, i just would love to try it, and i haven’t had a chance yet.
    and this portrait is great. i guess you have a talent to inspiring portraits of friends:)

  4. Thanks for the swift comments guys, Yeah Strobist seems the most obvious and active online flash resources so I will have a search through for some of the more decent articles.

    Sebastian – Havent seen Mad Men no, but January Jones is pretty hot – I remember her from American Pie 3 or something aha!

    Yeah next on the list are some wireless triggers – I might save up and get elinchrom skyports which are a nice middle group between those Kaktus’s and Pocket Wizards.

    Thanks again guys!

  5. Sebastian said

    Was thinking bout Elinchrome too, but Kaktus was just way cheaper. They seem to work pretty well, just haven’t used them often. Friend did, seems he’s getting good results. Only disadvantage is that the flashes turn off after a while when you use them. No TTL sync too, all manual. Paid 67 euros for 1 sender + 3 receivers + shipping. Cheap enough to just get them for playing around – and if you don’t like them I’m sure you can still sell them on eBay with little loss.

  6. Spencer said

    Doesn’t the 5dmk2 work wirelessly with the 580 without triggers? I’m pretty sure I read somewhere it does

  7. Spencer: Don’t think the 5D2 works wirelessly but feel free to prove me wrong!

    Simone/Sonny: Thanks for the links guys, that PDF especially looks great, having a look now

  8. Well worth the 6 quid or whatever, great photos, diagrams and really helpful – thanks again Sonny!

  9. Maria said

    Hey Jam, maybe you’ve heard of him before but John Keatley has pretty awesome lighting techniques too. Doesn’t always share his setups or whatnot but I still learn a lot from his blog.

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