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Tips & Tutorials >> All Tips & Tutorials In Focus: The Basics of External Flash Photography- Part11

Wireless Firing

Wireless firing is a feature that enables remote firing of a flash that is placed away from the camera. This function helps to widen the scope of photographic expression considerably, as it allows the subject to be brightened from a distance as well as at an angle of your preference. In this article, I will introduce how the wireless firing feature can be utilised in different genres such as landscape, portrait, and still photography. (Reported by: Koji Ueda)

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Reproducing Landscapes in Vivid Colours on a Clear Day

In landscape photography, firing the flash helps to reproduce the subject in bright colours. In this example, I directed the flash at the trees in the foreground to express both the blueness of the sky and the vividness of the trees. Bringing out the main theme (church) with the use of the sub-theme (trees) adds a contrasting touch to the image.

EOS 600D/ EF-S10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM/ Program AE (1/200 sec., f/25)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto/ Flash: Wireless
Photo: Ryosuke Takahashi


  • Hold the flash in your hand and adjust the emission angle
  • Direct the flash light at the shadow area in a backlit condition

Wireless Flash Settings

Flash mode: E-TTL/ Firing mode: Master flash (built-in flash, flash OFF) + Slave 1 (Speedlite 320EX)/ Flash exposure compensation: Slave 1 (Speedlite 320EX): -1EV/ Flash angle: Slave 1 (Speedlite 320EX): 24mm

Shooting Condition

The camera is secured on a tripod. With the slave flash held in my right hand, I adjusted the flash angle, and took a shot with the use of the remote shutter release.

Position of the subject, camera and Speedlite

A: Master flash (OFF)

B: Approx. 2m

C: Approx. 0.8m

D: Slave 1

Casting a Dark Shadow in the Background of a Portrait

To create a large shadow of the portrait subject on the wall in the background, I fired the flash at full output. The flash coverage is set to 105mm on the telephoto side to cast a strong light on the subject. Also, to produce a result similar to that of direct oblique sunlight, I set up a Speedlite unit at an angle of 45° diagonally above the main theme and fired it via wireless control. How the shadow is created is affected by the light axis and height of the flash, so pay attention to the position of the flash unit and adjust accordingly while taking a shot. If you want to cast a larger shadow, simply move away from the subject.

EOS 600D/ EF35mm f/2/ Manual exposure (1/200 sec., f/11)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto/ Flash: Wireless


  • Cast a shadow intentionally using the flash light
  • Adjust how the shadow appears by altering the position and angle of the flash

Wireless Flash Settings

Flash mode: Manual flash/ / Firing mode: Master flash (built-in flash, flash OFF) + Slave 1 (Speedlite 430EX II, 1/1)/ Flash angle: Slave 1 (Speedlite 430EX II): 105mm

Shooting Condition

I had the subject stand against a wall when taking this shot. To create a more dramatic impression using the wall and the flash unit, I fired the flash at full output to cast a shadow on the wall. The distance between the subject and the wall was about 0.4m.

Position of the subject, camera and Speedlite

A: Slave 1

B: Approx. 3m

C: Approx. 3m

D: Master flash (OFF)

Capturing Liquids Attractively with Penetrated Light

Using a bounce flash coming from the back of the subject helps to enhance the colour of liquids when light penetrates through them. I made use of the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 to prevent light of the master flash signal from being reflected in the glasses.

EOS 60D/ EF-S60mm f/2.8 Macro USM/ Manual exposure (1/60 sec., f/5.6)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto/ Flash: Wireless


  • Enhance the colour of the liquids with penetrated light
  • Prevent light reflection from the subject using bounce flash

Wireless Flash Settings

Flash mode: Manual flash/ Firing mode: Master flash (Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2) + Slave 1 (Speedlite 580EX II, 1/4)/ Flash angle: Slave 1 (Speedlite 580EX II): 24mm

Shooting Condition

I placed a few glasses side by side, each filled with liquid of a different colour. The colours appear dull when flash is not fired. To emphasise the vivid colours, I bounced the flash from the wall behind the glasses for light to penetrate them.

Position of the subject, camera and Speedlite

A: Approx. 0.8m

B: Slave 1

C: Master flash (OFF)

D: Approx. 0.3m

E: Approx. 0.9m

Koji Ueda

Born in Hiroshima in 1982, Ueda started his career as an assistant for photographer Shinichi Hanawa. He later became a freelance photographer, and is now engaged in a wide range of work from magazines to commercials while shooting different cities and landscapes all around the world. He is also a writer and a lecturer at photography lectures and workshops.