Off camera flash techniques by Ben Young


Ben Young III | shuttertastic

Here at Shuttertastic we want to cater to all levels of photography providing tips and techniques that will help you out.  We are going to try out this new weekly blog post that called “Pro Tip Wednesdays” Leave a comment and let us know if you are interested in learning these advance photography tips :)

This weeks image is brought to you by International Award Winning Destination Wedding Photographer Ben Young III from BY3 Studio.  Ben is based out of Davao City, Philippines but travels all around Asia and the world to photograph destination weddings.  You may recall his previous guest post “Off camera/Panoramic Image” posted a few weeks ago.  Ben has been so kind to share another off camera technique with us.  Enjoy!

image 1:

Ben Young III | shuttertastic

swimming pool with clouds reflection – 6:30am Philippine time

  • manual exposure – f4.5 1/8000 @ iso 100
  • cameraNikon D800
  • lensNikon 50 1.4
  • size – jpg large fine
  • wb – auto

image 2 is my image with a few corrections.. its a silhouette given with the settings above… I already like the image but with a few minor corrections…

Ben Young III | shuttertastic

Ben Young III | shuttertastic

I love silhouettes but since I’m a big fan of off camera flash I’d like to see how it would look and at the same time giving my clients more options to choose from :)..

Ben Young III | shuttertastic

off camera flash settings:

  • - manual mode
  • tri flash cold metal shoe Lastolite TriFlash Bracket
  • - flashes-  3- Nikon SB 910
  • - triggered by Radio Popper PX so 3 receivers and 1 transmitter via an Nikon SU800 commander to communicate/control the power output of my sb flashes.
  • - power output: all 3 flashes are set at 1/2 power but with different zooms from 85 to 120… because I am shooting at high speed 1/8000 i need more power from my flashes otherwise it will not register and you will still get a silhouette

My flashes are always a bit in front at an angle of the couple high above and pointing down – why?  because I wanted that shadows which slims them down and create textures…also my flashes don’t have their diffusers on them its bare flash which means harsher light.

Now, on my image with off camera flash, you can see that my assistant is there holding my flashes but thats too much work cloning and removing removing it in photoshop thus creating uneven and noticeable clone stamps and it is obvious that you have removed something from the image.

here’s my solution:

I take the photo like I normally would with my assistant in it.  I go through a checklist to make sure the lighting is perfect, the posing is flattering and the subject has the expression that I want to convey and I am sure that my image is tack sharp. Then, without moving my camera, either handheld or on my tripod,  I will ask my assistant to step away and I will take the exact same photo so now i have an image with out my assistant with “almost” the same clouds…

Photoshop:  Instead of using cloning and patching tools, which degrades the image and leaves obvious cloning and manipulation spots, I use masks. I open both image with and without my assistant.  I will then overlay the two images and aplly a layer mask as shown below.  I will then “paint” the layer mask in to remove my assistant.  As you can see, it results in a very clean image :).

Ben Young III | shuttertastic


Once I am done with removing my assistant, I still have to figure out how to clone the island since its really distracting and I can’t ask the island to move over heheheheh :)…  Like i said before, I don’t like cloning so instead, I took parts of the image and copy and pasted then on the islands which I then masked and painted in until I have a achieved a natural look and feel.  Notice how I left a little part of the island on the right corner, I feel like it points you back to the couple after your eye circles around the image..thats just me :)


I converted this image to black and white but I also cropped the top 1/4 of the photo because I felt like it was drawing your eye in due tot the fact that it is a bit brighter than my clouds…

Ben Young III | shuttertastic


Hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial – Peace

Leave a comment or question below!  Also, connect with Ben on the interwebs at:

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ben young iii