Off-Camera Flash (OCF)

Last night, our local photography club (Sacramento Smugmug group) had our monthly meeting, this month at Linda’s Pizzeria in Citrus Heights.  We enjoyed some really tasty Chicago style deep-dish pizza with a bunch of photographers and photography enthusiasts.  We were joined by Caroline and Daniel from Tinywater photography (check out their Facebook page) who spent quite a bit of time explaining to us how they achieve their signature look in the weddings they shoot.  They are true artists who take great pride in every step of the photographic process, from meeting the clients to delivering the end results, and everything in between.  They spent quite a bit of time explaining their lighting techniques and off-camera flash (OCF) with the group.

One of the things I love about photography is that there are so many things to learn, new techniques to try and things to play with to help you take your work to a new level.  For those who are interested in getting into OCF techniques, there are a lot of options.  While the Q-Flash system is something a lot of us would love to get – it’s almost as expensive as a new camera! S0, instead of spending a ton of money up front, it might be easier to do with a smaller budget.  There are a number of great resources to learn more about OCF, as well as a number of options of equipment that won’t break the bank.

  • EVERY photographer should be familiar with the Strobist Blog.  Start by going through some recent blog postings, and when you’re ready to start learning, check out Lighting 101.  The author of the blog, David Hobby, has spent a lot of time putting together articles and posts that help explain how to use basic speedlights for some amazing lighting techniques.
  • Check out Midwest Photo Exchange for all kinds of lighting products.  They even have a separate category of equipment for Strobists.
  • Spend some time looking at Flickr groups.  There’s one for Strobist postings and photos too.  Amazing work.

For equipment, you don’t need to spend a bazillion dollars … there are affordable options that give you some of the same functionality of the high-end equipment.

  • The Lumopro LP120 or LP160 is a great flash which was developed specifically with Strobists in mind.  They have multiple trigger ports and full manual controls.  At a fraction of the price of some of the Canon Speedlights, they’re an incredible bargain.
  • Check out some of the wireless remotes on eBay.  I’ve had great success with the Yongnuo RF-602 trigger system.  You can order a wireless flash trigger for your OCF specifically for your camera, for less than $50.  Sure, the Pocket Wizard II is the choice of professionals.. and I’d love to have some too.. but at over $300 for a transmitter/receiver pair. … the cost is a little prohibitive.

I’m no expert with OCF by any means… but I’ve done a bit of playing around with different techniques, and it’s all about trial and error.  Hopefully these links and my limited knowledge has helped you a little bit!

Mark