Off-Camera Lighting For Events

Pro-Tip: Use a second speedlight in slave mode to help fight the ugliness of on-camera flash lighting during event photography. Position the speedlight within striking distance of where you will be shooting and don’t be afraid to move it if the light is in the wrong spot. Use your on-camera light to control the slaved speedlight.

I took this wide shot just so you can see where in the room I placed the off-camera strobe. The door was very solidly braced, so there was no risk of the speedlight falling to the ground.


I specifically positioned the light so that it was not to the left of this beam in the ceiling. That way it had the best possible light spread considering the beam’d nature of the ceiling.

The door was actually pretty thick and I felt up there before placing the speedlight in position. I didn’t want to drop it in front of 100 people enjoying their cocktails.
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This man’s face was completely dark without the strobe set up off to the side to add some dimension to his face. The off-camera light set up on top of a nearby door helped greatly here.
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This woman was close to the door where the off-camera strobe was positioned. I set the light to iTTL so that the camera still communicated with it and turned it off once enough light had hit her face to expose it correctly.
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Here’s another shot from a different event. The speedlight in this case was on a stand in the far back side of the room, off to my left.

In this case, the light in the room is coming completely from the windows. Hardly any light was bouncing into the face of the speaker, so the off-camera light really helped fill in the shadows cast by the rear window.

Look at the audience members outlined on the left side by the light in the corner. It really helped deliniate them. Otherwise, the audience would mostly be just a pool of darkness because of the bright windows on the right.

That’s it.  I hope you found this little tip useful.  Not every event will allow you to use this technique, but for those that do, it can make a world of difference in the quality of your images.

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