Why I Use Off Camera Flash and What's The Best Flash?

What’s the best flash? The one you have on hand.

I was called a Strobist (off camera flash user) the other day by a fellow photographer and I was not sure how to take that. So I asked him what did he mean! He said that since I always shoot with my off camera flashes, I was Strobist.

I took a minute to think about it, I told him I was not a Stobiist but I was a “What is the minimum amount of gear can I take on shoot to accomplish my goal” -ist and I think there is a big difference.

Behind The Scenes with Model Becca Bowen

Okay follow me on this. I have both off camera flashes (speedlights) and studios flashes. Both have their pros and cons. Off camera flashes generally are cheaper and easier to carry around. I keep three of them in my camera bag. Small and portable they have been my go to for many of my shoots when I need to move around a lot or be quick. They will sit on lightweight light stand which are easier to carry and can fit in a duffel bag when traveling. Studio flashes are bigger, require a bigger light stand and pack more power but need a power source. Some studio newer studio flashes have a built in power pack vs an external power pack that require you plug the studio flash into them. My complete studio flash set up with a power pack will not fit in my camera bag which means I have to tote another bag.

For me it ultimately depends on what I plan on shooting, the environment, how long I am shooting, and style of pictures I want. Most of my shoots are outdoors and only last a few hours so my off camera flashes will do the trick most of the time to add fill flash and a rim light to separate the subject from the background. The studio flashes I currently use ( Paul C Bluff Alien Bees) have fan and vents that help them keep cool, for that reason I prefer not to take my studio flashes to places with moisture in the air like the beach or waterfalls.

Westcott Halo with Nikon SB-910 triggered by a Pocket Wizard FlexTT5

For me the ease of use and portability make using my off camera flashes my go to when I am traveling whether I am shooting indoors or outdoors.

I would tell any person starting out or an experience photographer to give off camera flashes a try. With the cost of an off camera flash starting at $60 along with an umbrella and light stand combination you can become a “What is the minimum amount of gear can I take on shoot to accomplish my goal” -ist.`

I currently use 3 Nikon SB-910 Speedlights with battery packs, Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 a with Westcott 45" Round Halo Light Modifier as my staple kit.

Photography Terms:

Often the term Off Camera Flash (when you take your On Camera Flash off your camera) , Speedlight, Speedlite, and Shoe Mounted Flash, Hot Shoe Flash, generally are all referring to the small flash that takes 4 AA batteries. See picture above for reference.

#Speedlights #OffCameraFlash #AlienBee #Strobist #Photography #Photographer #PocketWizards #Nikon #Westcott