Handheld Off Camera Flash for Interesting Light in a Jiffy

Updated: Apr 6, 2018

Sometimes I want to capture photos of baby Sully quickly without setting up light stands and modifiers. I created this dramatic baby photo by simply holding my speedlite in my left hand above and pointing down at Sully.


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SETTINGS: 1/60 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100

GEAR: Canon 6D, Canon 50mm 1.4, Canon 430EX III-RT, Yongnuo YN-E3-RT


Sully was hanging out on his boppy in our living room. I wanted to get some fun photos quickly while he was in a good mood. I didn't have time to drag out light stands and modifiers but I wanted more interesting light than simple speedlite in the hot shoe. I put my Yongnuo YN-E3-RT in the hot shoe to control my Canon 430EX III-RT speedlite in my hand. With my camera in my right hand, I held the flash in my left hand above and facing downward toward Sully. After a few moments of gentle cajoling, I had an interesting shot of Sully looking pleasantly amused.


Taotronics LED lights on our entertainment center provided the sparkly background. The Canon 50mm 1.4 transformed them with beautiful bokeh.


I used Adobe Lightroom to touch up skin, apply the matte style, and darken some of the distractions in the background. Check out this post for more details about how I do this in Lightroom.

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