How to light if you only have a flash and no other accessories at home

How to light if you only have a flash and no other accessories at home

The time has come to try everything that they have given us for Christmas. And surely if you are a photographer some other accessory has come to you. One of my students has received a flash and an emitter. Nothing more and nothing less. Can you start taking photos with just this material? Of course yes. Let’s see what we find at home to get a good photograph with a flash.


What we are going to see today is simply a little practice, a test how-to to see everything that can be achieved with a flash and an emitter. We don’t have funds, windows, octas or anything like that. The naked flash, a camera and a great desire to experiment.

The goal is not to get the most beautiful photograph at this time, but to see everything we can do with a flash and what we find at home to start experimenting and testing. And by the way, loosen up with artificial lighting.


With what we have found at home

So I thank another of my best students, with infinite curiosity, for giving me the photos to publish them. They are made without any pretense, only with the aim of learning.

How to take a picture with just a flash

A flash is one of the best accessories that photographers can have. It is great to control the light as we please without depending on the sun. But you have to know its rules, its norms, to achieve our goal, which is none other than a good photograph.

flash lighting

It is not a cover photograph but it serves to learn

We have started looking for things around his studio to try to photograph a piece from his porcelain collection. The question was to make an acceptable image, without pretensions, with only a flash and an emitter and everything we could find.

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In the end we have found:

  • camera tripod

  • Forgotten diffuser.

  • Fabric with too much texture.

The photographs that we have obtained are not for framing, but at least they have served to see everything that can be achieved.

The key to getting a good picture is being able to separate the flash, a Godox V1 of the camera via the emitter Godox X2T. This is the key to not having problems and avoiding problems.

Another thing we must find is a good diffuser. The ideal is a light window as large as possible, or an octa. But if we don’t always have anything similar, we can bounce the light off a white wall or the ceiling of our house if it is not very high. Must run away from the punctual light of a flash to avoid small points of light on reflective surfaces.

The steps that we are going to see next allow us to achieve a good result. At Xataka Foto we have already talked about the ABC of lighting. And here we are going to apply it.

flash lighting

1/125 f8 ISO 100

Personally, I always like to take a shot without a flash to check that the ambient light does not influence the final result. If the file comes out black, it’s perfect. This time we have shot at 1/125 f11 ISO 100.

As we wanted to illuminate the piece, we have placed the flash on the tripod and we have placed it on the table to get a lighting from above. As far as possible from the object to give an even light.

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Of course we have put the flash in mode Handbook to have all the control. we could choose the TTL mode, but it doesn’t offer as many possibilities and doesn’t allow you to learn how lighting works.

flash lighting

We have burned the poor swan

So we have turned it on, we have synchronized it (with Godox it is essential to put it in the RX position, the orange screen) with the X2T emitter and we have set the flash power to 1/8. Clearly it was excessive.

flash lighting

Lowering the power of the flash. A wrong step in our process

We decided to lower flash power to 1/16. This step is a mistake, but we wanted to see how the light turned out. And we clearly see a problem. The naked flash (it does not matter if the head is round) is too small compared to the swan, so there is no choice but to diffuse the light to avoid such a punctual focus… We could have moved it further away, but we didn’t have the means.

We found a diffuser, one of those that are impossible to close later unless you have a refined eight-fold technique. We put it by hand (I remember we have nothing else) and shoot.

flash lighting

The diffuser starts to do its job. In this photo it is on the right

Photography has much more diffused light, less concentrated. And as you can see, we have lost a lot of light. How do we fix it? Opening the diaphragm more? No, we want that depth. Lowering the shutter speed? Also, it is not especially relevant with the light of the flash.

We are left with two options:

  1. Raise the sensitivity.
  2. Increase the power of the flash.

In the end we opted for the second option. If we want our flash to be ‘more powerful’ we just need to raise the ISO. This way we will spend less battery than increasing the power of the flash and we will be able to take more shots.

flash lighting

The silver reflector fills in the shadows, but gives too many reflections…

The swan has improved remarkably. But the lower part has been left a little darker than we would like. How do we fix it? We know that a white cloth or cardboard of the same color would be ideal… but we don’t have it. So we take advantage of the silver cover of the reflector. And we achieved our goal.

flash lighting

The final result

We only have to improve the background. With the help of some clothespins and a fabric with too much texture, we create a background that helps us to finish the image with the available resources. A little editing on the computer and voila.

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It is true that with a good window with a giraffe, a clean white background, a reflector and two flags we would have a much better photograph. And above all we wouldn’t have to edit it in Photoshop… But the objective was to learn and take advantage of the material… If you were in the same situation at home, how would you do it?