Using Flash Photography Remote Systems

Try a New Angle With Your Flash Photography

Using a wireless or remote flash photography system is superb. It really does open up the possibilities for, not just night photography, but:

  • Portraiture
  • Creative
  • Nature
  • Wedding fact just about all types of photography!

Using Multiple Speedlights

Think about it for a second or two. If you could fire multiple external flashguns, placed anywhere, how could you take advantage of this? From now on we shall call the remote unit the "Slave".

  • Interiors - If you don’t have a studio set-up, or you do and need a bit of extra light, a slave unit could just save that shot. I have on a few occasions, placed a slave unit inside a dark room that I wanted to lighten up, when shooting interiors. This was leading off from the room I am photographing and it makes an incredible difference! It is fired from the main lights via the built in sensor or an external adapter.
Remote Flash Photography of Two Young Children
  • Portraiture - A slave unit is excellent for adding highlights in the hair or back-lighting to your subject. Again whether or not you have studio lights. The slave unit, for this shot, was placed behind me, and aimed straight at the back of my head.
Portrait of Man in Sunglasses
  • Wildlife Photography - If you want to shoot birds for example(photographically of course), a second or third “slave” unit could come in very useful. With wildlife, you need to be downwind, out of view and pretty much invisible to the subject you are photographing. This works if you are shooting at night. Maybe you just want to lighten the subject? A slave unit or two could be placed near to say, the bird table, which won't disturb the birds.

For Example...

This would then be triggered by the on-camera unit which would be either in a hide or indoors out of view. You can even fire the camera remotely from a computer if you have one. The Canon EOS range for example, have this capability. It is excellent if you have a laptop and want to shoot wildlife! The Canon EOS 7D and later DSLR's even have a built in system for firing the 580 EXII remotely.

The camera and flashguns could all be placed surrounding the subject. With a long enough cable, wi-fi, infra-red or radio triggers, you could take all your pictures from behind a tree. All done without even looking directly at your subject as you see what you take from your laptop or remote shooting device such as the Aputure Gigtube!

The possibilities are endless so it may well be worth you considering the slave capabilities when buying your flash speedlight. If you already have an older speedlight without the slave function (such as the Metz 45 CL-4) but your unit does have a pc sync connection, fear not, there is an answer.

Slave Unit for Hotshoe Flash Photography

This handy accessory is always in my kit. You simply attach the PC cable from your speedlight to this slave adapter and voila, you have a flashgun with slave capabilities! The adapter has a hotshoe which can be placed on any suitable device. The flashgun can then be placed anywhere within reach of your main flashlight…brilliant!

It cost about $10.00 and is available at good camera merchants like Amazon. Well worth the money. In all my 30+ years of photography and using flash whenever needed, the best flash photography remote system I have found at the time of writing is the Pocket Wizard system.

I currently use two Flex TT5’s and one Mini TT1 transmitter. I plan to add a few more in time as these work exceptionally well!

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