New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash

Tips & Tricks

Simple Three Speedlight Set Up For Fashion Portraits With Zach Gray

By Chris Nachtwey on August 14th 2014

It’s no secret: I love off camera lighting. I honestly believe learning off camera lighting is one of the quickest ways to make your photography stand out in the crowd. The great thing is, with all the affordable speedlights, wireless triggers, and modifiers on the market, it’s very easy to add off camera lighting to your workflow when on location.


In the Westcott sponsored video below, Zach Gray shows you how to use three speedlights to create fashion style portraits on location.



Zach shows some very simple techniques you can use in your own work to create better portraits on location. His use of two speedlights in strip boxes 45 degrees to the right and left behind his subject create very nice soft hair lights.  His main light, which is just a small octa shaped soft box, provides very nice even light on the face of his subject.

I like how Zach uses a traditional lighting set up with the main light about 45 degrees to the left of his subject, then he uses it high and above his subject, very much like a beauty dish to change the look of the portrait. This is a great example because Zach is using the same gear in the same location, with just minor changes in the main light position to create different looks.


In my opinion, the image below proves my point that off camera lighting can really make an image pop, and make your work stand out in the crowd when done correctly.  The ambient light image on the right is nice, but the image on the left using off camera lighting really has a more professional look and feel to it.



I love videos like this, because this is the type of lighting that you should learn as you grow as a photographer. In my opinion, it’s a little advanced for a beginner, but that’s not to say you should not try to master techniques like this even if you’re just starting out. The faster you practice and master lighting off camera, the better you will be at it, and the faster your images will start to look more professional.

Check out Zach and Jody’s 4 FAST STEPS TO EASILY LIGHT YOUR BACKGROUNDS article for more lighting goodness.

Via: Westcott’s Youtube Channel

Images captured via screen grab. 



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Chris Nachtwey is a full-time wedding and portrait photographer based in Connecticut. He is the founder and creator of 35to220 a website dedicated to showcasing the best film photography in the world. Chris loves to hear from readers, feel free to drop him a line via the contact page on his website! You can see his work here: Chris Nachtwey Photography

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rafael Steffen

    Great article! This quick video adds a lot of examples on how to use off camera flash!

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  2. robert s

    not liking the colors. it almost looks like a light color shift as if the image was underexposed and tried to pull back detail. not that it was, just the color cast bothers my eyes.

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  3. Phil Bautista

    Yes, it is. He’s shooting in daylight and with strobes. If he’s already at 100 ISO and wants to shoot wide open or close to that, ND filters wold be a good way to cut down the light.

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  4. claude laramée

    Is that a ND filter on the camera ? I’m assuming it’s for shooting at the sweet spot of the lens … Any one could tell me ?

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    • Chris Nachtwey

      Yes, it sure looks like one to me. I wish he had explained the use of that in the video.

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  5. Phil Bautista

    Funny how he talks about the differences in lighting men and women – then sticks the chick in the dude’s shoot so they’re lit by the same set up.

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  6. Kurk Rouse

    I own a rapid box 26″ I believe it to be one of the best purchases i’ve made, was thinking of either going for another octa or the strip box but i can’t make up my mind. I really like to see how people make great images with this quick and simple yet powerful tool.

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  7. Brandon Dewey

    Great tips! I love BTS videos.

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