After my ‘natural light’ training session with Andrew at 36exp, the next session involved off-camera flash. It took place in a graffiti-covered underpass near Waterloo station in south London.


It was a fantastic setting, visually. Unfortunately, the morning of the shoot was a much colder one than the previous few days and the underpass was also a natural wind tunnel, amplifying the chill factor.


Arnaud, the model for the day, was a real pro. He did not complain once during the two-hour session, even though I could see the tip of his nose was getting a little red towards the end! He was so charming and enthusiastic, despite the fact he had to stand around at many points while I was being taught some of the more technical aspects of using flash units and umbrellas to best effect. He also saved the day (and my wallet) when a sudden, strong gust of wind came through the underpass and blew my lighting umbrella and flash light over. Before I had even realised what was going on, he lunged forward and grabbed it preventing my flash unit smashing on the concrete.


It has been some time since I last used my flash units in a creative way and Andrew taught me some really useful new ways to create more dramatic lighting effects.


I’d be interested to know if you have a favourite shot from the selection I’ve posted. And please don’t hesitate to say if any of the shots don’t work for you, too. Whether it’s a pose, or the lighting, or the composition, I’m always keen to understand more about what is having an impact and what isn’t.

Getting flashy

16 thoughts on “Getting flashy

  1. I like the 3rd one down. Appreciate your blog too – I’m not much of a photographer, but when I use flash (a separate unit that I place on top of the camera) bouncing it off walls, etc, really helps. I have mused about using flash separate to the camera itself, and while I may never get around to it, I like what you’ve done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terry, thanks for taking the time to comment and for letting me know which of the images you prefer.

      My journey with flash has been quite a slow one compared to other aspects of my photography, primarily because of the cost of the flash units and the other accessories.

      I too started with a dedicated flash unit on top of the camera. Bouncing it off walls and ceilings makes such a big difference compared to a direct flash, doesn’t it.

      I then progressed to buying a flash cord so I could have the flash off-camera and that made a bigger difference still. I now have two flash units which are triggered by infra-red, portable lighting stands and umbrellas. It’s a very portable kit, all fitting in, or on, my small backpack.

      This training session really started to open up the creative possibilities of flash and I’d love to experiment more.

      I’m not sure what kind of camera and flash you have and whether the flash needs a cord or can be triggered directly by the camera. But I’d encourage you to try it. It’s a bit of trial and error, but also a lot of fun.

      Best wishes



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s