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Off Camera Flash

Q: I am a little confused about something you wrote concerning the flash. You said you hold it in your left hand when it's off camera. Please explain that a little more. Is it off camera but supported by a bracket?

A: I use a Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash and a Canon STE2 Speedlite Transmitter when doing nightclub photography. I hold the camera with my right hand and hold the flash unit in my left hand. That is, I don't use a bracket. By the way, the flash is on slave mode.

The Canon STE2 Speedlite Transmitter is a wireless flash controller for the Canon 420EX. It goes on the camera body's hotshoe where the external flash unit would normally go. This means that I'm free to hold or put my flash anywhere as long as the transmitter and the flash are within range of each other and not obstructed by anything that would prevent them from communicating with each other. I find that this technique is more versatile than using a bracket.


Q:Hi there, I am an amateur photographer in Australia doing mostly studio photo-shoots for clients, however, I have been recently asked to do event photography for a 21st birthday. It is going to be very low light. I have a speedlight, a 55mm f1.8 prime lens, and a 17-70m f2.8 zoom lens. I'm not very familiar with this type of photography and know I will need to use my external flash but am not sure how to set it up in regards to the settings. I am just wondering if you could help me or have any tips!

A: Check out the following page for insights on the camera and flash settings: Nightclub Photography Tips: Camera and Flash Settings

My suggestion would be to use the 17-70mm f/2.8 lens and bounce the flash on the ceiling or walls (try out different angles).

You should position yourself so that the light is behind the subject. Use a slow shutter speed (around 1/4 to 1/2 sec) and set your flash to 2nd or rear curtain sync. This will allow you to catch any colorful backgrounds. You should also try moving your camera around so that there's movement in the light.


Q:I have a few questions regarding this.

First: are the speedlights hard to set up for different occasions?

Second: what should the settings be like?

Third: is the Canon 17-40mm f/4L an alright beginning lens?


  1. The speedlight is not hard to set up for different occasions. I either have it on the camera and I'm bouncing it on the ceiling or walls at various angles or I'm shooting with the speedlight off camera and I'm holding it with my left hand at different positions with the the flash pointed directly at the subject.
  2. Flash Settings: TTL

    I don't use any flash exposure compensation. You might want to try rear/2nd curtain sync if your flash/camera body is capable of doing it. The results you'd get would be different from 1st curtain sync.

  3. The Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L Lens is an awesome lens! It's one of my go to lenses for nightclub photography.