10 Helpful Tips for Using Off-Camera Flash for Nighttime Portraits

Shooting off-camera flash is one of the most important skills you can learn as a photographer. In this video, you'll learn exactly how to do that during the evening and see some wonderful portraits made using the techniques contained herein. 

Coming to you from Francisco J. Hernandez Photography, this helpful video will give you some tips for working with off-camera flash at night. Most of the principles are very similar to those of the daytime, but there are some technical and artistic considerations you'll want to be aware of when the sun goes down. One cool advantage of shooting with flash at night is that you need significantly less power to compete with the ambient light — so much less that you can likely get away with just speedlights. When we think of portraiture with off-camera flash, we typically think of large, expensive monolights, so if you only own speedlights and are looking to try out off-camera lighting without breaking the bank, this is a great way to do it. As for modifiers, I personally use the Westcott Rapid Box and love it for its versatility and ease of use. Altogether, I think the nighttime off-camera flash portrait is a beautiful look and definitely worth trying out. 

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Another tip if you need to reduce power: throw a ND gel on your strobe. A large sheet costs about $7 and will knock off two stops of light. This will let you keep the large, soft light closer to the subject, while also keeping the narrow DoF and not killing the ambient.

Arun Hegden's picture

Francisco Joel Hernandez is his name, guess you got confused with the toy photographer. :)

Alex Cooke's picture

Ha, I actually was thinking how I needed to send Felix a message about another project when I was writing this and my brain crossed the wires. Thanks for catching that!

Arun Hegden's picture

Cool. Happens sometimes..:D

Francisco Hernandez's picture

Awesome write up! Did a shoot with a mini speedlite the other night and have a video on that as well. =)

Thomas Starlit's picture

Good, practical tips from someone who has obviously tried this quite a few times. Great!