Off-Camera Flash and How to Get Started

Great Light that’s Cheap, Portable and Easy to Set Up

In the world of photography, light matters! But sometimes, beautiful ambient light isn’t always available. No problem! We can create our own light and have more control over it too. Now you may think that portable lighting equipment costs an arm and a leg, but thanks to off-camera flash, there are much cheaper alternatives available!

Wait? What is Off-Camera Flash?

Off-camera flash (OFC), also referred to as “strobism”, is a lighting method where you remove the flash from your camera and use it on a light stand or external bracket instead. Why bother you may ask? Well, when using your flash on your camera the result is typically a flat, one-dimensional and harsh (“flashy”) light. You have little-to-no options in regards to the angle and quality of light:


Examples of the flat and harsh light created by on-camera flash.


When you take the flash off-camera you can manoeuvre it around your subject to create a variety of different effects. Not only that but you can also use a great variety of different light modifiers on your flash too — Softboxes, umbrellas, and beauty dishes etc. in all shapes and sizes. This gives you many creative options on how you want to craft your light:


A variety of lighting effects can be achieved by using different light modifiers and lighting angles


A few good reasons to go off-camera flash. Better quality and control of light! In the above examples, you can see the interplay between light and shadows and how each image has a different look and quality to it. Understanding how to craft light is imperative to creating good photographs and your options are incredibly limited with the flash on top of your camera.

Other Benefits:

As opposed to heavy studio strobes, flashes are lightweight, portable and easy to travel with.

What do you need?

  • You’ll need flash, preferably one with an adjustable flash output.
  • A device to trigger your flash off-camera (such as wireless triggers or sync cable)
  • A flash bracket that can be used with light modifiers
  • Light stand
  • Light modifier (such as umbrella, softbox or beauty dish)


Here are a few CameraStuff bundles to get you started:

Yongnuo Complete Beginner’s Off-Camera Flash Bundle

This kit has all the bare essentials: a flash, wireless flash trigger kit, light stand, umbrella holder and umbrella. The flash is the Yongnuo YN560-III — a manual-only flash. This means that you’ll need to adjust the flash output directly on the flash itself. There are no TTL (automatic) settings whatsoever. This may scare off a few prospective buyers but manual flashes, in comparison, are much cheaper than fully auto models. You can save some money in future for extra lighting accessories or even another flash.   SHOP ONLINE


Yongnuo Complete Intermediate Off-Camera Flash Bundle

This kit is similar to the beginner’s kit except that it includes a softbox and a flash controller. The YN560-TX Flash Controller is a device not only used to trigger your flash off-camera but also to remotely control its flash output. This allows you to adjust the flash settings directly from the controller itself. The softbox gives you an extra option on how you want to craft your light.  SHOP ONLINE


Yongnuo Complete Professional TTL/HSS Off-Camera Flash Bundle

This kit comprises the Yongnuo YN685 TTL flash and YN622-TX Flash Controller. The flash features full TTL, manual and HSS (high-speed sync) technology. Having all of these flash modes at your disposal gives you plenty of options on how you want to trigger your flash.  What is TTL and HSS you may ask? When using TTL your flash and camera will work out exactly the amount of flash you need for any photo. HSS (high-speed sync) is a feature that allows you to use your flash beyond your camera’s sync speed (which is normally around 1/200-1/250th of second).  So, if you want to trigger your flash at 1/8000th of a second, you can do that with an HSS flash. The YN622-TX flash controller can also be used to remotely adjust all of the flash modes and settings directly from the device itself.  SHOP ONLINE



Not happy with any of the above kits? No worries, you can create your own!