Nikon® Wireless Flash for Creative Photography

Lesson 11/15 - Setting Up Wireless Flash System


Nikon® Wireless Flash for Creative Photography


Lesson Info

Setting Up Wireless Flash System

Let's, talk about setting up the wireless remote, okay, so just to recap, so the system works with a commander flash and that commander flash generally lives on top of your camera. A case of the commander general generally lives here and that commander khun b and sb nine ten it can be an espy five thousand it can be an espy seven hundred. It can even be an s p eight hundred. Ok, so that's the commander and it has to send out signals into the field to the remotes and the remote flashes. Just about all the flashes in the nikon system can operate as remote flashes. Now, if their legacy flashes, they have to be line of sight. Third, the new s p five thousand and you want to use those remote flashes? Well, then they can be a radio radio trigger and they don't have to be line of sight. So that's, what I want to talk about next is I want to go through each of the flashes and talk through how to set them up for remote, so I'll start with the nine hundred don't go seven hundred on, then I'll do...

the eight hundred to six hundred and finally the sb five thousand, so let's start with espn nine hundred in nineteen there almost exactly the same in terms of their overall approach. so here's the sb nine ten I'm going to rotate the power switch to the word remote kind of obvious no now that it's in remote mode I have to determine what channel and group we're going to be in and as I mentioned before the four channels allow four different photographers to be in the room at the same time shooting together so here what I can do is down below as aiken type the select key knows that's function but number one our function but number two so push that group a beer see and then I push okay and then I can go to I'm sorry hits select again and then I could go to channel channel one two three or four all right so this one currently is set for one a and let me just talk through a little bit about why you would choose a b or c I'm kind of a methodical guy you might have noticed that in my teaching you know I think very linearly and methodically so I like to work from left to right so I generally and I don't always do this but generally I will set up my a flash or my a group to be over here on the left side and then I set up my be flash to be on the right side and then my c flash I generally used as my back ground flashes ok so a is the left side sometimes I've missed mix this up a little bit and I think a flash is the key light and we're going to talk about the key light in a little bit but the key light is what is kind of the predominant flash and so is the first in line in the alphabet so it's the predominant flash so that's the number one and then the b light oftentimes think of is the phil and then the c light is the background light so in a in a little while when we set up the actual studio I'll use my key light as channel one a so that's the s b nineteen and the s p nine hundred is almost identical in actual button pushes that you used to set it up so now let's talk about the sb seven hundred so they asked me seven hundred a little bit different it it's a less less sophisticated flash it costs a little bit cost maybe three hundred three fifty somewhere in that range but it the cool thing about it is it does have that actual switch so you just rotate the switch to remote one little tidbit for you for you nikon shooters these older switches are very hard to operate I don't know if you guys have had to say experience before I see a lot of people trying to pick at it with their fingernails trying to turn it it's actually designed to use your thumb so push your thumb on the on the little button here and then rotate the whole switch like that that'll save you a lot of frustration especially if you're outside you're in the wintertime you're using gloves push with your thumb and then rotate all right so there's the remote I'm in remote mode and now I have to push the select button and go between selecting the group or the channel so let's just pretend that we want to be in channel one so you know I can rotate this dial down the bottom channel one and that hits select again and that goes to group a b or c so we already set up in a so let's set up this one to be a b and then you push you ok and now we're set and ready to go the thing is now ready to listen for instructions channel one b just a quickie on this on this flash I didn't talk about this flash earlier in the earlier segment there's some other switches here on the s p seven hundred on the side t t l m and guide number these on ly pertain to the flash when it's mounted on the camera okay so when you're on the camera that's when you set tl mode or manual mode or guide number mode these don't pertain when you're in remote mode because when it's in remote mode is literally just a slave it's just sitting there waiting for instructions so ah there's another question that people have well how does it know what to do well knows what to do because the commander is sending instructions the commander actually says hey sb seven hundred your a t t l flash or sometimes we go hey sb seven hundred you're emanuel flash so when you're in remote mode there's no other control you need to do on these on these flashes next let's talk some of this back here let's talk the sb six hundred and the sb eight hundred so truly these are legacy flashes and these are these are old school back in the days when they didn't have a great graphical user interface so the newer flashes a really easy just rotate the switch he's older flashes take a certain number of button pushes to get there so power this one on here's the six hundred doing powered on down here you'll see these two buttons zoom in the minus key they're linked together with the csm csm stands for customs settings menu so you actually have to push both of those buttons simultaneously for two seconds one thousand one one thousand two at which point you go into the little menu system plus and minus changes the state of the menu item and then mode changes between the different menus I'm sorry plus and minus changes between the different menus do what I do know what I say so plus and minus changed between the different menus and then the mod turns that many on and off so I'm looking for the menu with the squiggly arrow so there's a little squiggly arrow that means wireless remote now I pushed the mode button to turn it off or on now I got to get out of that so the quickest way to do it is just to push the power button here we go and now I have to pick my channel in my group so mode starts blinking the channel so pick channel one there and then group you hit mode again and group a b or c so for this one let's just pretend that this is gonna be the background light so I'll put that one on sea already now the s p eight hundred is almost is complicated again it died on me so I can't show it but I would power it on I would push the select button for about two seconds select burn and then remember the squiggly arrow box so we're going to that squiggly arrow box and I never get there with the multi selector then I pushed to the right and they choose remote then it pushed the power button and then we get to that familiar scene again where we have to choose the channel and the group so that's the sb eight hundred last one is the s p five thousand right here so the s p five thousand that's the newest flash from nikon and what we need to do there is literally just flip the switch to remote and for those of you who are ergonomic nerds like I am this is awesome because the switch is so easy to use they got rid of that little tiny little button push that you had to do and now you just literally rotate the switch so easy to operate okay so now we're in remote mode and the s p five thousand has a bunch of new buttons on it it's kind of a different look and feel overall takes some time to get used to but this right here this button switches and toggles between the different remote modes the s p five thousand actually has three different remote modes the first mode is what we're used to so far that's just the optical trigger remote mode and you know it's the optical trigger remote because of the little squiggly era a little lightning bolts um symbol so we're a channel and group there right then the next one is you push it you push it again and this is called remote direct that's a new not really a new mo but it's operated from the s p five thousand camera we won't really talk about that mode today it's not really that useful and then finally we've got the remote which is the radio and you see once we go to that screen then the link the little link light starts lighting up hey I'm looking for ah radio commander is are you out there and this allows us now um it says group a b c d e and f and then also says channel five ten or fifteen and this is confusing because I've been talking about channel one two three and four well those are those are different than these channel five ten and fifteen five ten fifteen is from the little radio pairing unit so we have to pick what channel you want to be on so five ten or fifteen so in this case today we're on channel five and group a great and now it's just sitting here it's on standby it's waiting for commands from the system maybe it's waiting for the radio trigger it's in standby mode and pushing all the buttons it's not responding so turn it off and back on again there we go in optical trigger it won't go into stand by mode that's what I wanted to show you an optical trigger it's always waiting for the optical commands to come in all right I think there's there's one more thing I wanted to show yeah actually there's one more flash I want to show actually one more kind of flash that I want to show right here we have the sb five hundred and then we also have the r one c one kit which is the s p r two hundred ok so the s p r two hundred I'll talk that one first this is the nikon a macro system the little macro kid amounts on the front of the lenses and so you get two of these they met on the front lines and they're for doing flowers and bugs and that type of thing so this little fbr two hundred is quite simple it's on ly a remote flashy just powered on and then channel and group so it's just like the old days when you actually turned dials and knobs to get stuff done I really like that it's very hard to mess that up so channel one in group c whatever we're not going to use these today in the studio there just not powerful enough to do human photography unless you're pretty close to the person and then the last one is this little guy you know I bought this flash because I wrote it I wrote a book on the nikon flash system so I bought it just for that purpose but I actually end up using this little flash because it is so small and lightweight and it's actually quite flexible it's quite usable in the real world s o to set this up as a remote what we do is we just push this button and we rotate this up tio the a or the b so this can but this only works in channel three so I may have to steal your channel today you okay with that all right so she's allowed me to be on channel three for a little while so that's interesting about this you don't get any other options than channel three group a or b and so if you configure your commander to speak in channel three than it will operate this as the remote okay so there is setting up the flashes remotes I'm going to warmer slide and see if we have any detailed questions from the audience about setting up the flashes before I get into gear so a couple of more details I just want to reiterate some of these points the optically triggered flash is you have to be line of sight especially if you're outside you know I do a lot of on location work and so I'm added it outdoor environment maybe doing a portrait out there a wedding or maybe just photograph from friends and family if you're outside the commander flash doesn't really have any way to bounce off the scene you know to bounce off a wall and get back to the remote so definitely outside has to be line of sight in a studio like this the commander light can bounce off all of these walls and eventually find them so their way the command to the get my english correct here the bouncing light will eventually find its way to the remote so it's not as critical indoors it is outdoors so make sure its line of sight twist the body you know twist the flash body so that the little sensors that little round button there little around window there turned that so that it can see the commander and then the radio stuff the radio cheerier flashes the last pretty cool because we can be behind walls we can be behind trees we could be behind couches you know so let's say that we're taking a portrait of me right here and I wanted a little bit of a kicker or rim light well I can actually hide anything that's the radio triggered flash I can hide it behind my laptop here and it will still trigger and hit me because of the radio signal so that's cool you get a lot more flexibility out of radio flashes than you do with the optical and then the last thing I really want to touch on is all of the commands stem from the commander flash in other words you're going to make all of the changes and brightness evaluations from the camera in the flash itself no longer do you actually have to walk over to the flash and make a change you know back in the day if I wanted to this flash brighter I have to come over here make the adjustment and make it brighter but now I can just set it leave it and it just responds and listens for the commands from the commander flashing it so that's really the power of the nikon creative lighting system is it allows you to just be creative from back here I can now just have this great interaction and relationship with my model not having to physically go in touch every one of my lights out in the field so before I get into talking about detailed lighting equipment and the gear let's go to questions okay great just wanted to run people how to ask questions there is a spot under the on air tab where it's a big box that says ask and that is where you can get in your particular questions for mike about what we are talking about so a question from new wanda who says can you set up a d six hundred or a d seven fifty with a third party transmit the transmitter to the espy nine ten so ok using a d six hundred eighty seven fifty I'm with you yes o d six hundred the seven fifty both of them work in the nikon wireless flash system no problem if your remote flash I think she said her remote flashes an sb nine ten right so the way to trigger that there's two ways to trigger it one way is to use your papa flash okay so your papa flash khun triggered that remotely you don't need any other technology other than what you currently own all right remember go to pencil menu or customs settings menu e three on both of those cameras que e three now you there are other transmitters there's a lot of other third party companies in the market now and you'll find him all over the internet all over amazon and ebay whatever on some of her from china and taiwan some of them work in the nikon creative lighting system in some of them don't I have to be honest with you I haven't tested all of them out so I don't really have a great answer I tend to use just the nikon stuff I have a company actually send me one of their flashes of chinese flash and they said hey my cake and you wrote the book would you test this out and write about it so I did but that flash didn't really operate in the system and just work like an old school you know nineteen seventies nineteen eighties flash in my system so the answer to her question really is you have to buy it and try it because I don't know I'd have to know the specific model my recommendation of use the pop up or just by another commander from nikon it's just money we can always make more money when in doubt go into your local camera store and they're happy to help you out exactly right can you have seen this question coming a couple of times and it might go back a little bit but tim our athens was asking about exposure compensation and how does affected by flash compensation in tts alright I was smiling because I love this question is a great question and it just shows you how much of a nerd I really am questions like this just get my blood flow and get outside about all right so exposure compensation matters and impacts your flash exposure let me explain okay so I'm gonna pull my camera around here now this is a nikon d eight hundred okay so it's a number of years old now and what I'm going to do is I'm going to fire up the info screen here powered up fire up info and now I'm going to push the exposure compensation button on the top of the camera so I'll just show you where I'm gonna push right here the exploder comp and then I'll just show in the back so the camera can see it right so exploded conversation so now let's say I'm I'm at the scene and I add exposure comp or I take away exposure complicates and I'm adding and I'm taking away so what is the impact well ideally the idea for exposure conversation is it's impacting the ambient exposure so if you're outside it's the sun it's the cloudy day if you're inside it's your incandescent lights but you know what on the the older nikon cameras that exposure compensation actually also impacts flash output so if I'm looking at my picture and I see that the background is a little bit dark you may go oh I'll hit it with exposure compensation and I'll go plus hopes I'll go plus so now the background should get brighter right yeah it will but you know what it also impacts the flash output that's a little bit frustrating for some photographers because they're like you know what I like my flash output where it's at now and I only want the ambient light or the background like tio get brighter so how do we manage that well the first answer is by a newer camera okay the newer cameras like the d seven fifty the d five thousand the d eight ten the newer cameras actually have a menu item that allows me to separate exposure compensation from flash output there's an actual menu item in the newer cameras and it says exposure compensation adjust what flash plus ambient or just background or just ambien so the newer cameras like to do that that's the first method the second method is to just shoot all manual go to manual exposure mode there we go manual exposure mode and then if you want your background light which is represented by this line this is your exposure line if you groups uh come on like here we go if you want your background light to the brighter then you could just modify your shutter speed and now that on lee is adjusting the ambient light in your flash output will stay the same ok so two answers to her question first won by a new camera second one use manual mode on really the third one is just use exposure compensation which will brighten up everything and then dial your power down you know so maybe that's the third super awesome question I love it

Class Description

Locations and studio setups don’t always cooperate with your ideal vision for a shoot. Professional photographers use wireless flash systems to increase their mobility and expand their creative options. Flash systems also cut down on the amount of time photographers have to spend correcting images in post-processing.

Mike Hagen is a professional photographer and industry expert. He is a seasoned instructor and the Director of the Nikonians Academy. Join Mike for this class, and you’ll learn:

  • How to use Nikon’s wireless flash system on location and in the studio.
  • How to use on- and off-camera flashes.
  • How to set up your camera for a shoot and link it with multiple off-camera lights.
After this course, you will be able to manage flash systems and shape light to your needs. You’ll be able to set up synchronization modes that alternate different kinds of flashes, and incorporate light modifiers like umbrellas and soft boxes. Start improving your shoots now!  


Fred Morton

So, here's the deal. If you can't get to a Mike Hagan course in person this is the best next thing. I have know Mike for 6 years and he never disappoints. I took this course through Nikonians about four years ago and found this to be not only a great review but a significant update from what I l learned in the previous class. Mike is one who never rests on his laurels and as a teacher he is constantly updating and improving his work. Speed lights are so much more complex then most people understand and Mike use his knowledge to take that complexity and reduce it to a set of clear and understandable methods. So glad to see that Creative Live has included him in their line up of instructors.

Marlon Ornek

Mike is a great easy to follow instructor who you can tell knows his subject. Thank you. A great course that I would recommend to anyone with Nikon gear.

Greg Chilton

Probably one of the best Flash courses on Creative Live. Would like to see more Nikon Flash oriented courses on Creative Live, particularly Strobist type work. Well done