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Strobist style off-camera flash photography

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Uncle Frank, May 9, 2007.

  1. I've been trying to figure out how to set up a "portable studio", which means using my flash off-camera... something every Nikon CLS enabled camera is designed to do. Every time I requested advice, someone would suggest I check out Strobist.com. I finally did, and it's an awesome place to learn about off-camera flash. Here's a link to their mission statement.


    I've since completed Lighting 101, and think it's a worthwhile review, even for experienced flash users. Here's a link.


    My only problem with the Strobist is that they refer you to a Flickr site to discuss lesson plans and results. I'm hoping that there are enough of us with an interest in this topic to maintain a lively Strobist thread right here on the Cafe's lighting forum.

    Thanks to a great recommendation by greyflash, I've purchased an SU800, and it's made controlling multiple off-camera flashes a breeze. Here's my first finished product... a shot of my bride. My setup was

    Main light was an sb800 on a stand to the right of the camera. It was also in ttl mode, and fired through a white umbrella.

    Fill light was an sb800 on a stand directly behiind the camera. It was also ttl mode, set at -1.0ev, and fired though a diffuser dome.

    Hair light was an sb600 mounted on a light stand. It was set in manual mode at (I'm guessing) 1/64th power, and bounced off the white ceiling.


    Please feel free to join in, show your results using off-camera flash(s)... along with a description of your setup... and discuss Strobist off-camera style photography.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2007
  2. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    It's a great site for sure. I was directed there last year, and I go back for updates or inspiration quite a bit.

    This is one of my Strobist inspired photos. My good friend and former roommate, Adrien, needed some promo shots for some shows he was doing. We got a lot of great material, but this one is still my favorite.

    D200, with a SB800 as a commander. One SB600 zoomed a bit to facilitate a bit of 'snoot' action on his face, and the other zoomed in on the bent fork in his hands....again the head zoomed to tighten the light a bit. I havent found that I need homemade portrait snoots yet...zooming the head manually does the trick just fine. A little bit of a hairlight would have been nice...but I am still learning... not bad for a first effort in my opinion.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2007
  3. Here is a photo I took recently with a two flash setup and an SU800 as a controller. My first SB800 was located to the right (my left) of the subject and was enclosed in a 50 inch softbox. The second flash was located to the subjects left with an umbrella at two stops under the main. I used a black backdrop that was draped behind and under the subject. My camera was in manual and my two SB800's in TTL.

    NIKON D2H    ---    45mm    f/5.0    1/60s    ISO 200

    This next image was my first attempt with a three flash arrangement. I used a similar set up as above but this time I used an SB600 as a hair light. The hairlight was set on manual at 1/64 power. From this shot I learned that the hair light was too bright and so I now have moved the hairlight further away and or cut the power down to 1/128 power and it works much better. I also have started using a cardboard snoot that I made in order to control the spill onto the face.

    NIKON D2H    ---    85mm    f/6.3    1/80s    ISO 200
  4. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    I have been using a strobist style of off camera flash work for some time now.

    Most recent with 3 speedlights.

    Single speedlight bounced off a monitor to her right.
    NIKON D2X    ---    50mm    f/8.0    1/30s    ISO 200

    My personal favorite. 1 speedlight bounced from umbrella and 1 bounced around the room for fill.

    Can't forget biker chick. 1 shot thru white umbrella and another spotted on the floor behind her.

    It can be used for other things too. This one used a single snooted speedlight, long exposure, and an areisol to show the laser.
  5. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    Charles, I saw your recent Truck Driver posted earlier, and I thought it was fabulous. Were you able to fire the strobes with Nikon CLS, or was it with Radio Slaves? Super job on all of them....
  6. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    This one was shot over Easter...one sb600 facing the subject, and a little bit of fill from my sb800 on the camera.


    and a little something without people in it...

    NIKON D70    ---    68mm    f/7.1    1/250s    ISO 200

    I jammed my sb600 into the cavity behind this Conch Shell. I made a tunnel out of aluminum foil to keep light from leaking out. Fill flash from onbaord the camera...
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2007
  7. littlewing6283


    Jun 7, 2006
    ahhhh we have more nikon flashers. awesome !

    I started shooting in commander mode. just stepped up to some pocket wizards and I absolutely love them. best money spent yet. here are some shots shot w/ a couple sb600's

    i wrote a little lighting tutorial base don what i learned from strobist


    Heres some totally random shots

    NIKON D200    ---    36mm    f/5.0    1/100s    ISO 160

    NIKON D200    ---    28mm    f/4.0    1/80s    ISO 100



    you can also light cars w/ shoe mounts

  8. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    I used the Su-800 on all of them. Placement of the light in the truck was an issue and PW's would have been nice for that. Ended up just putting the SB800 on the dash an then removing it in photoshop.
  9. [​IMG]

    Camera on tripod, Skunk holding SB800 to the left of the frame.
  10. bep207


    Nov 27, 2006
    Columbia, MO
    I bet you can't guess where the SB-800 is in this shot.


  11. Great work, Gordon. I need to get a softbox, but can't figure out what I need to hook it up to my flash. Do any of you have a link to a setup that will fit on an sb800? I prefer shopping at B&H Photo or Adorama.
  12. I've been organizing my better shots into a "Strobist" gallery, to document my progress, and this this is my best outdoor off-camera flash (OCF) result so far. I used an sb800 on a stand at frame left for the main, sunlight for fill, and fired the flash with the su800.

  13. Brent M

    Brent M

    Aug 13, 2006
    There is some outstanding work posted here.

    Two of my son with an SB800 in a 60" Softlighter with a foam core reflector for fill:

    NIKON D70s    ---    105mm    f/5.6    1/50s   

    NIKON D70s    ---    105mm    f/5.6    1/50s   

    This one using an off-camera SB800 with my dad as a light stand.

    NIKON D70s    ---    16mm    f/11.0    1/3s   
  14. ROFL!

    Hey, tell me more about your softbox. How do you attach it to an sb800 on a traditional lightstand?
  15. Brent M

    Brent M

    Aug 13, 2006
    The Softlighter is basically an umbrella, with a translucent fabric covering to diffuse the bounced light. It, and your flash, attach to a light stand using a swivel bracket just like an umbrella.
  16. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    I'll second that Brent. The Softliter II is what I used for this shot. I really like it for it's ability to deliver soft diffused light.

  17. Frank, I use a 50" Wescott Apollo Jr as my softbox. It mounts to a sturdy stand much like an umbrella does. I purchased this softbox after reading about it in the Strobist. I must admit that it is pretty large and a bit unwieldy to use any place but in a studio or your home. The flash is inside the softbox and mounts with the standard umbrella setup you would normally use. It can be found at B&H here. It does give a very nice light to your subjects and I have no problems triggering it with my SU800. They have other softboxes with similar mounts that are smaller.
  18. How are you triggering your flash, Brent? Cord or wireless? If wireless, what are you using as the Commander?
  19. Good thread here

    I'll throw in another vote for the Photek softlighter II. This easy to use umbrella with a white nylon cover is truly a good option as the poor man's softbox.

    This was taken with a single SB800 in the softlighter.

  20. Brent M

    Brent M

    Aug 13, 2006
    I'm using the commander mode of the D70s. Even under the nylon cover of the Softlighter II I don't know that it's ever failed to fire. At least in my living room proto-studio it's fine.

    I use the EV-lock button as a flash value lock when taking pictures of my son to try and separate getting my iTTL meter reading from taking the exposure. With as much as he moves around I've found that to be my best solution. Plus it reduces the blinking problem of using CLS without an SU800.
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