Some of my favorite items in my bag are my speedlights (flashes). When flashes first emerged, they were nothing more than a literal explosion right in front of the subject. A little dangerous… Since then, we have come a long way. Now I can remove my flashes from my camera and fire them remotely. This allows for some amazing shots with minimal effort. With my Nikon sb600 and sb700 I simply switch them to remote mode and start shooting. My on camera pop-up flash actually sends my speedlights instructions on how bright to flash so I can change my exposure settings from my camera without having to walk over to the actual flash. There are many uses for off camera flashes, I will show you a few of my favorite.
Dramatic effect- Place a flash to the side of your subject for a dramatic effect. This is very simple and always produces interesting results.
Stop motion- Set up a flash or two and close up your aperture so you don't catch any ambient light and you can stop pretty much anything in motion.
I took these pictures just for this blog, it took about 15 minutes to set up, shoot, then clean up my mess before my wife found out I used her coffee beans and spilled water everywhere.
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Along with lighting from the back, you can also light the background with fun (and cheap) gel filters :)
If you are an emerging photographer, you might not have several hundred dollars to spend on flashes, but that is ok, you can still get these amazing shots!! You can buy a flash online for less than $50 and you can buy a remote trigger for less than $5. With these amazing little gadgets, you can fire your flash off camera! Simply mount your flash to the hot shoe, use your camera flash, and get amazing results, all for about $50!
The drawbacks of this method is that ANY flash will fire the flashes! Which means if you try and use this method to shoot a wedding or event, every time ANYONE uses their flash, they will trigger your flash! Also, you have to adjust the flash output on the flash not from your camera.Experiment with your flash off camera and see what happens!