So, this last year, I was determined that in order to get some more dynamic images, I was going to learn off camera flash.
Now, I in no way claim to be an expert. In fact, my knowledge base comes from a hodge-poge of information freely given to me by friends in the industry, so none of this is earth shattering, original information. However, it is relaying what I’ve learned in the past year, my extremely basic set up and how I ghetto fab-ed it, pretty much for 200$ or less.
Starting out, I have a set of alien bee lights gifted to me from a relative. I ADORE them. Especially for portrait sessions, etc. However, at a wedding, I don’t always have the time to set them up, take them down and set them back up in a spot just five feet across the room very quickly. I needed something quick, something battery powered, light weight. And honestly, something that wasn’t going to set me back if someone tripped over a leg and shattered one. <– because most likely, that person could/would be myself.
I purchased some 60$ awesomeness in a box. These YN 560 II speedlights are amazing. I already had a NIkon speedlight for my camera, so I just needed one. (ps– if you have a little extra do-re-me you can splurge on the YN 560 III which have a built in receiver <wags eyebrows> Only fourteen dolla more. )
I, then purchased some YN transceivers — here’s where it gets icky as far as off camera lighting goes. A lot of triggers/receiver sets are way expensive. But since I was just learning, I didn’t want to go all out. So– I took a gamble on these transceivers. They are 32.48 on amazon. What I ADORE about them, is the fact that they have hot shoe mounts on both sides, they both act as transmitters/receivers and there’s like, zero set up. I mount one to my mount on my camera, then slide my speedlight right on top. On the other light, I mount my transceiver to the stand via hot shoe mount adapter, then mount my speedlight on top. I flip a switch, turn them on, and boom. Both flahses fire at the press of my release.
Now, as far as stands go– I’ve learned a lot here by trial and error on what to get/what not to get. I found these amazing stands that very light weight, I can fit them in a small bag, and they expand to the size of a regular light stand, even far above my head. They’re stable, and collapse down small enough to fit in a bag the size of a walmart sack. (I mean, I don’t recommend taking a walmart sack to your next wedding, but you get the idea.) I only purchased one because I’m working with a two light set up (one on camera ((fill light)) and one off)
I used this adapter, to fit the hot shoe mount of my transceivers. It can also hold an umbrella should I need it — which gives me lots of versatility for 12 bucks.
That’s my entire setup.
1 Nikon Speedlight
1 YN 560 II
2 YN Transceivers
1 Portable light stand
1 Portable Stand Adapter
I also recently added a handheld video light to my bag. It does have a mount so it can be attached, but I choose to hand-hold mine via an assistantThe video light was $30.
My grand total was 190$ including the video light. I’ve found that by adding the video light, I now have much more dramatic detail shots and my bag won’t go to a wedding without it. We’re bffs now.
Here are a few images of the set up in action, more specifically details and receptions.
This ring shot, was taken with a 50 mm + reversing ring, and the video light held by my assistant above the ring, and slightly to the right.
Here, the video light was held by my assistant directly to the left of the cake and held pointing slightly downward so there’s dramatic effect with shadowing. You can see the brightest spot on the upper left hand side.
Here, during the reception dancing, the off camera flash is directly behind the bride and groom. Fill light, from an on camera speedlight was also used.
During this dancing segment, the light was positioned to the back left hand side of the bride and her father, at a 45 degree angle, along with fill light
Here, off camera flash was at a 45 degree angle to the side on the left, and fill flash for an even coverage.