5 Tips for Shooting Off-Camera Flash

How to Position Your Umbrella Correctly

Occasionally I like to delve a little beyond the basics for some of the more advanced and forward-thinking folks in the photography audience, and this week, I’d like to do just that.  We’re going to talk in detail about off-camera flash!  Before you go running and screaming into the night, rest assured, I am not going off the deep end here.  Rather, I’d like to just delve a teensy bit into the gear.  For those of you that use your flash off-camera, congratulations!  If you’ve also got an umbrella, kudos – you’ve taken things even a step further.  Today, I am going to share with you the first tip to make sure you are using your light stand and umbrella correctly…

Tip #1.  Positioning the Umbrella

You’ll notice on a standard light stand that the umbrella will have to be inserted at an angle…you can either angle it upward or downward.  I see so many folks that are totally confused by this and I’ve got a great mnemonic to help you remember the right way:  I call it “Up For Luck!”  Take a look at the following side-by-side shots:

How to Position Your Umbrella Correctly

See how there is so much more light missing the umbrella from my strobe in the first shot? It’s falling out of the top and not really being controlled all that much.   Compare that to the second shot, where the umbrella is nicely filled out with light…a great softening effect for sure!  This is just one of five tips I am going to share with you this week on lighting your shoots from an off-camera flash with nothing more than a single light stand and shoot through umbrella!  Ready for more?  Got your own ideas and tips/tricks to share?  Sound off in the comments, or tune back in tomorrow for another tip to help soften and diffuse things even more!