In product photography, the quality of the image largely depends on the lighting. An essential part of achieving the perfect lighting is controlling when and how your flash fires. This can be achieved through various triggering methods, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Optical triggering is a method where the flash fires when its sensor sees another flash. This method is incredibly fast, reducing the risk of sync issues. However, problems may arise if you can’t control the flash in your camera. In such cases, the camera’s pre-flash for metering can trigger your slave flash, potentially disrupting your image. Some speedlights can ignore this pre-flash, so consult your device’s operating manual for more information.
An alternative workaround is to set up off-camera flashes in optical slave mode, then place a flash module in the hot shoe and turn down the flash so it doesn’t affect the scene, only firing the remote flashes. The flash module on your camera will not fire a pre-flash, making this a good workaround.
Radio triggers are another popular method for triggering flashes. Some speedlights have built-in radio receivers, so look for this functionality if you’re using mixed flashes. Radio triggers can optionally switch between receiver and transmitter (making them transceivers), and they can also connect to the camera and cause it to take a picture with any other connected flashes. This allows you to move around with your light meter and test fire your connected flashes. Once you have things set up the way you want, you can fire your camera shutter and the flashes remotely, capturing your image.
PC Sync Cables
Lastly, PC sync cables can be used to fire the flash upon shutter release. You can also attach the PC sync cables to your radio transmitters to fire flashes that don’t have a hot shoe (like a studio strobe). You can also connect individual flashes with PC sync cables.
In conclusion, the method you choose for remotely triggering your flashes will depend on your specific needs and the equipment you’re using. Understanding the different methods and their benefits can help you make the best choice for your product photography.