Urban Night Photography Using Off Camera Flash

By Nigel Fleming Photography, Dungannon. Northern Ireland.

Night Photography & Gelled Off Camera Flash.


I’d been planing a night to try some off camera flash for a while now. On Thursday evening I went over to Armagh and invited a couple of other photographers along. 

We concentrated in and around the Market Place area of Armagh centre. This is a mix of old and contemporary buildings, re-landscaped in recent years. It was pretty quiet which gave us a free run of the place.

Thanks to Daisy who modelled for us for the evening at very short notice. 

Below is a selection of photos from the evening. 



Photography Off Camera Flash Workshop Armagh Northern Ireland

This was our starting point for the evening. It was around 9pm at this stage, and virtually dark. I photographed this at ISO 1600, f2.8 at 100th on my 70-200 lens (at 100mm zoom). 

These exposure settings were sufficient to pull in enough of the ambient light from buildings and street lights. There was also a little colour still visible in the sky at these settings, though this wasnt visible to the eye at the time. The sky was dark. 

I placed an off camera flash camera right, and gelled it to better match the colour temperature of the ambient street lights, and adjusted my in camera white balance accordingly to suit the colour temperature of the flash. 

Photography Off Camera Flash Workshop Armagh Northern Ireland

I saw this entrance just behind and to the left of the first location. I was much more interested in the cool blue toned light inside, and using it as a background for a headshot setup in the photo below. 



Photography Off Camera Flash Workshop Armagh Northern Ireland

This was a headshot using the blue toned light in the entranceway behind. Again the flash was gelled and the corresponding in camera white balance resulted in the blue background entrance light rendering even more deeply saturated in colour. 



Photography Off Camera Flash Workshop Armagh Northern Ireland

This was our next setup of the evening. There was a complete mix of light colours going on here. The main sandstone wall behind was warn in tone, with the sculpture lit a magenta colour. I stuck with the gelled flash and this was the result. 



Photography Off Camera Flash Workshop Armagh Northern Ireland

I had spotted these red window shutters across on the opposite side of the street and thought they would work well with Daisy’s red dress. This was one of the darkest spots in the area, and it was all but pointless trying to render much ambient light in the scene. The light was so low! As a result this was virtually entirely lit by off camera flash from camera left. 



Photography Off Camera Flash Workshop Armagh Northern Ireland

At the top of Market Place was the back of the Cathedral. It looked like a great background, but the immediate problem was severe lack of light on it. While it was lit, it was extremely low light. So much so that my exposure settings in camera were ISO 2000 at f2.8 and 40th second shutter. I was on a wider lens, and Daisy’s was in virtual darkness so I got away with these settings. 

The main off camera flash was placed camera right, and had to be extended up fully on the lighting stand to get it high enough to reach Daisy’s elevated position, relative to my camera and off camera flash position below. 

After some experimentation with this, we positioned a second off camera flash behind Daisy to help separate her away from the background. The main reason for this was because the background was so dimly lit. 



Photography Off Camera Flash Workshop Armagh Northern Ireland

This was close to the end of the evening. Again this was extremely low light. An off camera flash (gelled) in a soft box was placed camera left. 


I hope to be running an evening workshop in the very near future at this location, and the theme for the evening will be using off camera flash in low light to create urban portraits. 

If you would like to book a place for this please drop me a message below and I will get back to you on the date and details. 


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