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Reader Question: How to Trigger a Flash Wirelessly on a Canon DSLR

by Chris Gampat on 06/01/2011

We recently had a question posed to us on our Facebook wall asking us how to set your Canon 60D to trigger wireless flashes like a Canon 550 EX. To do this, we’re going to borrow a bit from our intro to Canon Wireless Flash posting. Since I don’t have a Canon 60D, I’m going to use my 7D and show you how to trigger a 430 EX II (the flash closest in functionality to the 550 EX) wirelessly using infrared control.

Hit the jump to check out the instructional video.

Gear Used

Canon 7D

Canon 35mm F/1.4 L

430 EX II

Olympus EP-2 with 17mm F/2.8 (used to shoot this video)

Triggering Your Flash Wirelessly

Results

You can read more about this particular shoot here.

This photo was also done by wirelessly triggering with the Orbis and 430 EX II coupled together. Part of the secret though is the amount of light that the Canon 35mm F/1.4 L can help the sensor soak up. You can read my review of that lens here. By angling the light in a specific way combined with your exposure settings and the way you’re posing your subjects, you can create some really nice light with an off-camera flash, flash modifier and great subject matter.

I shot all of these photos at last year’s Comic Con. Walking around with the 430 Ex II and Orbis allowed me to essentially turn anywhere I went into a mobile studio. It opened up so much potential for better photo opportunities since I was swimming in fun subjects.

Something that you often need to keep in mind when using wireless flash is the fact that the sensor on the front part of the flash needs to “see” the pop-up flash on the camera going off. With that said, the side illumination on my subjects would not have been possible if the flash’s infrared sensor wasn’t facing my camera. As an additional pointer, it’s always a great idea to quickly test that out before you get into shooting and posing your subjects seriously.

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