MY ACCOUNT
cart
cart
photographers
SHOP

Youtube

Simple Off-Camera Flash Setup

One OCF Setup for Wedding Photography

filed in:

I'm Katelyn James Alsop, a photographer, educator and momma who believes any photographer can have a profitable AND purposeful business.

WELCOME

Top Categories

Browse All

read more

WEDDINGS

Browse All

EDUCATION

Browse All

PERSONAL

A wintery boston wedding

w/ inside, dark ceremony

KJ ALL ACCESS

WATCH ME SHOOT weddings
Come join over 3,000 other photographers from around the world & become my virtual third shooter! 
FREE TRIAL
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ

Browse Series

 Baby James Story

Our Home

Our Kids

Ask Anything

If you’re a photographer that despises Off-Camera-Flash (OCF), this blog post is for you! Ugh. I feel you. I used to hate it too… and it honestly still isn’t my favorite but it’s necessary in order to rise in your professionalism on wedding days after dark!! Off camera flash seems intimidating when you’re trying it for the first time.

It requires you to control and understand light in a new way. Instead of not having control over the light source (you can’t change the sun!), you are now in charge of everything about the light source!  From placement to power to height to direction…. It’s all up to you! It can be a lot to future out but today, I’m sharing some information about how to setup and properly use ONE off-camera flash during your receptions!!

If you’re not using OCF, chances are… your images from receptions look somewhat like this…..

Dark background

Flat and dull

Just kinda…. Blah. 

 

But with just ONE Off Camera Flash and some basic flash setting knowledge, you can transform your reception shots to look more like this!! : 

When you’re using Off Camera Flash, the first thing you have to do is recognize that there is a system for setting it up! 

 

Now, this is just ONE of the setups that I recommend when using just ONE Off-Camera-Flash! 

 

This is the setup that I recommend for specialty dances (not party-dancing!). This is important to pay attention to! If you want to hear my setups with ONE OCF for cake-cutting and toasts and party-dancing, I’m explaining it all in this YOUTUBE EPISODE!! (link) 

 

Ok, so for the first dance, father/daughter and mother/son dances, here is what I recommend:

 

FIRST – DETERMINE YOUR BACKGROUND (your direction) :

When I’m setting up my one-CFP setup, I am normally doing it on the dance floor and I’m deciding what I want in the background. Unlike shooting outdoors with natural light, I have CONTROL over where the light source is going to come from! So I normally choose to have my background free of the DJ and his equipment. 

 

SECOND – PLACE YOUR FLASH 45 DEGREES (to your right or left) :

This is important! You don’t want your flash in the background of your shot, we are using your OCF to expose the FRONT of your subjects. Your on-camera bounce card will provide some extra light but the main light source is your OCF placed 45 degrees from you to your couple! 

 

THIRD – TAKE A TEST SHOT AND DETERMINE YOUR SETTINGS:

This is the technical part that gets a little tricky! I explain it more in-depth in this Youtube video! Overall, I don’t want a crazy amount of flash power coming from my one OCF. If it’s too powerful, my clients will be over-exposed and if I try to adjust my camera settings to fixed the over-exposure issue, the background will literally become black and dark! Not good! So, I prefer a lower flash power (1/64 is a good place to start) and a higher ISO! This allows the flash hitting my couple to be softer and the background glow to show up! I also recommend not shooting higher than a 2.8 aperture with this setup! 

 

There is so much more to share! If you want more OCF insight and education, here’s a 14 minute Youtube Video that breaks down what I just shared and much more!! 

 

In this Youtube Video you’ll find:

  • Why OCF matters and the difference it makes in your images!


  • My simple ONE OCF SETUP that I used when I first began using OCF! 


  • How to use this setup in different scenarios: Dances, Cake Cutting and even Toasts!!! 

 

Enjoy and if you want to watch me shoot a REAL WEDDING day for FREE, click HERE!!! This is an amazing opportunity to what this FLASH education in action in a real situation! KJ All Access as been called “A Visual Learner’s DREAM!” CLICK HERE!

Thanks for reading!

— Katelyn

Student Spotlight July 2021

Ah! It’s our FINAL STUDENT SPOTLIGHT!!! This July post has been a long time coming but it’s HERE and it’s LIVE and I want you to help me celebrate these amazing photographers who are making their dreams happen!!!

READ MORE
Education

This six month update feels like it’s weirdly disproportionate compared to other monthly updates! Why is that? Well, last month I posted a couple of sets of images that were actually at the beginning of his sixth month and THEN we photographed multiple weddings, had several trips away from home for a few days and the dads were for several days!

READ MORE

Rhett’s Sixth Month

Blog

Hope + Jesse A Gillbrook Farms Wedding

Hope and Jesse are the sweetest couple. You can just feel it when you’re with them! You can see it when you watch them interact. You can hear it in the stories that their family members and best friends shared about them. They are truly soulmates and best friends. They have an undeniable love for one another and that is why even a rainy, misty wedding day could be incredibly vibrant, warm and joyful!!

READ MORE
Blog

Rhett’s Fifth Month

Rhett’s fifth month was full of fun. It’s crazy to me that I know I only take my big camera to about 10% of the things we do in a month and yet each month is SO full.

READ MORE
Personal

This beautiful wedding day took place in the rolling hills of West Virginia, just past the Virginia state line. Wild Goose Farm is a venue that I’ve never photographed before and let me tell you, it was a treat! We didn’t even have the sun join us for most of the day and yet we were able to capture beautiful portraits! Between the horses, old fences, stunning estate home, lily pad covered pond, old stone walls, rustic barn, open fields and a historic stone arch, I was in photographer heaven!

READ MORE

Brian + Shannon A Wild Goose Farm Wedding

Weddings

Tim + Megan | Engaged Countryside Engagement Portraits | Harrisonburg

This session was just as sweet as it looks. We spent the evening with Megan and Tim in the country outside of Harrisonburg, Virginia. We were tucked away in the rolling hills in between beautiful fields and family farms. It reminded me all over again why I just love Virginia. We really have it all… beaches, mountains, history, and great schools! JMU, while it did play a role in Tim and Megan’s story, isn’t actually where it started!

READ MORE
Engaged

READER FAVORITES

"Best money I have EVER spent on education! ... and I've spent a lot!”

- Kara Abbey, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"I love all the lessons I'm learning from KJ All Access! Thanks Katelyn!”

- Shannon Drummond, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"I find very few educational resources worth it ... this one is!”

- Kate gansneder, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"Recently signed up for KJ All Access and it's EVERYTHING!”

- Kassidy Mowery, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"Being able to see behind-the-scenes of Katelyn interacting with her clients has been SO impactful!”

- Angie mcpherson, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"Recently signed up for KJ All Access and it's EVERYTHING!”

- Kassidy Mowery, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER

"SO worth it! It's amazing the amount of knowledge you get out of them!”

- Brittany Lowe, ALl ACCESS MEMBER

"I learned just as much in one All Access as I did in a whole course! SO GOOD!"

- Joanna Krueger, ALL-ACCESS MEMBER
10 Steps to Starting Your Photography Business
Helping a friend survive a season of Infant Loss
How to photograph a first look in Harsh Light
OUR KJ COUPLES REUNION
A Lake Como Destination Wedding - Greg and Kate
A Letter to the Go-Getters fearful of Motherhood

The KJ blog
must-reads

The KJ Blog is where you get to know me, where you meet our KJ Couples and see their beautiful wedding days, where I have been building an archive of education for over a decade and where I let you see a peek into our life, our home, and hear about our purpose! 
don't miss the
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ
Arrow KJ

YOUTUBE

Join 24,000+ others and learn, grow and get connected via our Youtube Channel! This is where I'm constantly sharing new content, talking all things gear, business, tips, tricks and letting you into the behind-the-scenes of our everyday life! 
MORE FREE EDUCATION + CUTE BABIES ON
WATCH NOW

"I have invested in all of KJ’s education!

The way she teaches makes so much sense and I’m so grateful for her! My business will be forever changed!"

- Renee Nicolo

"KJ education has been life-changing

 It has elevated my work so I could quit my day job and work from home with our baby boy!"

- joanna k.

"I'VE INVESTED IN SO MANY RESOURCES... 

and none compare to what I get from KJ!"

- LAUREN M.