Adding one light for more drama

If you’ve gone to the trouble of getting a model, gathering props for a location shoot, you should always ask yourself what else you can try before you call it quits.

Most of the time, you’ll work till your light is gone especially if you’re having a great time.

But it’s a good habit to ask what else you can try to push the envelope.

Look at it this way, you already have the shot you want “in the can,” why not experiment?


One flash about 2 feet away–I photographed my student Dan Schaefer posing with classmate Ana Pinheiro’s guitar with my Canon Powershot G3, a rangefinder, exposure was f8 @ 1/1250 sec ISO 100. My point & shoot camera has a hot shoe and it can sync at any shutter speed because it is a rangefinder. I used my Canon 580EX Speedlite on 1/8th power connected to my Cybersync radio slave. The exposure for the flash was about f8.

What do you stand to lose? Some time?

It will only take a few more minutes. After all, you already have all the elements there.

The model, the light and the equipment are already in place. Don’t get lazy.

Though the lesson for my class was about shooting silhouettes, I thought it was important that my students to see what adding one small bare flash can do their earlier silhouettes.

Of course I waited till everyone had their fill of silhouettes and also for the sun to move lower down the horizon before I broke out the Cybersync radio slaves, my Canon Speedlites and my light stands. Take a look at the general setup in available light.


Off-camera flash used to be something only professionals use because radio slaves were very pricey. Not anymore. Those cheap made in China ebay radio slaves are so affordable, anyone can try them out.

Even the Cybersync radio slaves I use are affordable.

They’re well made though they don’t have the range of Pocket Wizards.

Radio slaves are nothing more than a transmitter and a receiver.

The transmitter fits over any hot shoe except Sony cameras which uses a proprietary hot shoe.

The receiver connects to any flash, so even old flash units that you used for film cameras will work.

Ana being a good sport–Being at home in front of the camera is Ana Pinheiro. We made her try the sombrero. The single flash unit is on the right just outside the frame on a light stand. See the scene shot in available light and the setup.