Always start with one light and then see how your scene can benefit with additional light sources. In Lighting 101 we gave you the fundamentals of how to modify and shape light with your flash on-camera, but the potential and capabilities of taking it off-camera are unlimited.

See how we used three off-camera flashes to create the editorial couples portrait you see above in just 4 simple steps.

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1. dial in your camera settings

For this location we were aiming for a more editorial look to our imagery. The architecture helped create the frame for this shot but we needed to match our settings and light to compliment the scene. I wanted to under expose the background a bit so that the subjects popped out for when we added flash.

Since our flash sync speed needed to be at 1/200th or slower and we are shooting in broad daylight we need to arrive at a darker overall exposure to get the drama we are trying to achieve. At ISO 100 we are maintaining the dynamic range of the image but ambient exposure of the image is still too bright which is why we chose to bump our aperture to f/7.1.

2. place your first light source

[REWIND: 10 ways to light and shoot the same scene]

It is crucial to start with one light first and then work in other light sources depending on what look you are trying to achieve. In this scene, there was a spot of sunlight coming through from camera left. In order to amplify that sunlight and balance the light in the scene we used an off-camera flash (#1) with a MagGrid and CTO gel coming from the same direction as the sun. The grid was used to control the light spill and the CTO Gel was used to match the warmth of the sunlight.

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3. add in additional light sources to make subjects pop

To push light in her direction we doubled up and placed another flash (#2) adjacent to the other flash angled more towards her face. To help carve her out of the background we added another gridded CTO gelled flash (#3) on camera right held by our assistant Sean to add a rim/hair light. to them.


4. select a flash modifier to help mold your light

Since we didn’t want our light to spill onto the background we chose to use MagGrids to help pin the light on our couple. In order to match the temperature of the natural sunlight hitting the subjects we then balanced our additional light sources with Color Temperature Orange gels. Our final image was post processed using the Standard Color Preset from the SLR Lounge Preset System.

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To learn more about off-camera lighting setups stream Lighting 201 in SLR Lounge Premium.