Today I'm going to talk about the effects you can produce by positioning yourself at different angles in relation to your off-camera flash (OCF). For a number of images I share in this post I will also be sharing my settings.

It's fun to experiment by moving around the subject and seeing what kind of images you can come up with when shooting with OCF. My typical set-up includes two speedlites - one on-camera and one on a lightstand. So in 99% of my images both are firing. But the above image was shot with just an OCF - no on-camera flash for fill. As you can tell, the light stand was about 100 degrees clockwise from me. This angle offers a very dramatic, high-contrast effect. It can be tricky to capture images like this because the subjects are moving and you need to get them on the rotation when the light will hit their faces. But it's fabulous when it works out!

Awhile back I did a behind the image post on the above image, so click here to find out everything there is to know about it!

This next image is one where the OCF was at a similar angle to the top image - maybe more like 70 degrees clockwise from me. But in this instance the on-camera flash fired as well. I love the way the flash is lighting up the bride's face and how three-dimensional the resulting image is. I also love that the guests in the background are highlighted as well.
And one more example where the light stand was about 100 degrees clockwise from me. Such beautiful three-dimensionality:
Typically I find that the best place for me to be when shooting with OCF is within the 180 degree rotation where I am facing the OCF and no closer than 90 degrees from it either way. So rarely do I shoot with the OCF behind me. The reasons for this are two-fold. First, I shoot with the OCF bare-bulb, so it can be harsh light. Second, with it being bare-bulb, the light is also very directional and it often ends up casting shadows on the subject from something in its path. This next image is an example of what I'm talking about. It was shot with a Canon 70-200 2.8 lens at a focal length of 153, ISO 800, f2.8, 1/100 sec. The light stand is about 70 degrees counter clockwise from me. You can see that the groom's hand is casting a shadow on the bride's shoulder.
Thankfully the groom wasn't leaning forward otherwise the bride's face, which is a focal point of the image, would be in shadow. In this case, I was lucky and the little shadow doesn't bother me enough to make me not absolutely love this image. Still, I rarely ever shoot from this angle and I think I only did so in this instance because I couldn't go physically move the light stand at the time.

The most common angle that I use when shooting with OCF, places me from about 120 - 240 degrees from the light stand. I love to incorporate the bare bulb of the OCF in the composition because it adds a little fun and flare to the festivities :).
For this next image my settings were ISO 400, f5.0 1/80 sec. The OCF flash power was probably set at 1/32 power since the flash was a ways off the dance floor. I'm guessing my on-camera flash compensation was set to +2/3 power to compensate for the ambient lights in the background. When moving around the subject, I don't find that I ever need to change my settings. Once I figure out the combination that works, I am pretty much able to stick with it throughout the reception until something like the room lights or the location of the action changes.
Just like when you're shooting into the sun, you can get some flare at different angles when the OCF fires into your lens. My settings for this next image were ISO 320, f2.8, 1/160 sec. The OCF was much closer to the dance floor, so I'm guessing it was set at 1/64 or 1/128 power.
Here's another example of flare even though the OCF is slightly outside the composition to the right. Settings: ISO 320, f2.8, 1/100 sec.
Another thing I like to do is to block the OCF with the subject to achieve this type of glow (Settings: ISO 400, f2.2, 1/50 sec):
Here are a few more examples of this fun technique:
My settings for this next image were: ISO 400, f2.8, 1/50 sec.
In this next image, you can see the OCF peeking out from behind the bride's head:
See how much fun it can be to experiment with off-camera flash!? I love the effects and different types of images you are able to accomplish with it.

If you found this post helpful, and are interested in learning more, click here to opt-in for my free video series -- 6 Hacks to Eliminate Boring Low-Light Photos and Get You Creating Reception Images you LOVE! In it I share my best 6 tips for shooting with flash. If you are intimidated by flash and wanting to conquer it once and for all, this is a great place to start!
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