Contest: Win a 2 Hour Mentor Session Via Skype On Flash Photography

Would you LOVE to have the opportunity to ask a professional photographer your “flash questions?” Are there things about flash photography that leave you lost and confused? If so, you do not want to miss the chance to win this prize for this week’s contest.

Ainslie Bernoth, professional photographer and author of the 6 part FREE Flash Photography series on the MCP Blog, which ran September 27th through October 5th, is giving away a TWO HOUR mentor session. If flash still sounds too harsh, or if you wish you could get clarification on certain concepts, you are in luck. You will use Skype or another online internet phone tool to chat for 2 full hours with Ainslie.

To enter, just leave a comment on this post (not on Facebook), and let us know what the most valuable, interesting, or helpful tip was from the 6 part flash series. In addition, feel free to add your flash related questions to this post, in case Ainslie has a chance to do a future Q & A/ FAQ post for everyone.

One winner will be drawn at random on Sunday, October 10th. So check back then.

*** And if you want more chances to win, get bonus entries: ***:

How to get extra entries in the MCP Actions Photoshop Contest

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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  1. 5


    I loved seeing results in combination with what the set up was. I would LOVE some one-on-one mentoring, though! I am working on conquering my flash now and so much of what she said happened to her on her “flash” journey hit home with me. Awesome series.

  2. 6


    i can’t really say what I thought was THE MOST valuable lesson- as one who knows nothing about flash photography, everything was new and interesting to me. I really want to learn off camera flash, and would love to win the mentoring giveaway!

  3. 12


    the most important part of this series in my opinion was learning that you can use your flash instead of all the super expensive equipment that I thought i was going to have to invest in. I knew nothing of flash prior to this and picked up some amazing info. Fill flash being among the greatest :)

  4. 13

    Robin says

    I found the whole thing very interesting. I am reading up on everything I can about fill flash. I would love to win. Do you ever leave the flash on the camera?

  5. 14

    Linda Blank says

    The most important think I learned for starting out is leave the shutter speed at 200 and change changing the aperture and seeing what it does to the background. Very cool! This made me, like every one else, pull out the flash and I’m so happy I did!

  6. 15


    I love my ILP girls and the lessons so generously shared! I learned that flash IS a good thing & not too “flashy” when done properly. Now to learn how to figure out my speedlight…that thing in the back of my back next to the “fong” tupperware thing 😉

  7. 25


    Yes, please! The most amazing thing is that I actually now feel the desire to use flash, whereas before I feared it. I didn’t know I had manual settings on my flash — I played with them and WOW!

  8. 30

    Kami F says

    I love that this series gave me the kick in the butt I needed to stop dreaming about doing this and to start TRYING it. Flash can be so intimidating.

  9. 31


    One interesting tidbit of info that I found out was she does not shoot with a flash on toddlers cuz it it to hard to get them placed where they should be.

  10. 34

    Tracy says

    This sentance, right here, I kept open in my browser for several days until I was sure I had memorized it. So useful!

    “Once you have reached an aperture which suits the look you are after, increasing or decreasing the shutter speed will NOT alter the flash strength on your subject, it will just allow more light l or less light into the background, or overall look of your image.”

  11. 36


    I was really excited to read about the Cactus triggers…I may try and invest in one of those…. But here’s my big question…can a trigger talk to 2 different brands of Speedlights..I switched brands last year..but have a high dollar flash from my last brand I kept. Would love to know that I can still use it. :)

  12. 37


    This series couldn’t have come at a better time for me! I found all of the information very useful, however I LOVED that we were able to have a simple breakdown of the equipment. I know that might seem too easy, but it is nice to know that you can use a few reasonably priced products to get big results!

  13. 39


    I am very intrigued by using flash on the beach to capture the sunset but still expose the subject. Lake Michigan is one of my favorite places to shoot so I can’t wait to try it.

  14. 46


    I want so badly to use OCF, I feel that it would really define my style. But I didn’t know hardly anything about it until Ainsley pointed me in the right direction with her “What you’ll need” post for equipment. I’ve now purchased enough to get me started on learning OCF!

  15. 55


    Leaving the apt. closed enough to keep a group or family in focus with a fast shutter speed, while using a flash to assist in lighting the group and background is still something I need to work on but found her step by step process so helpful to try it out! Usually the background would just get lost or the picture would be blurred since I was letting too much light in at slow shutter speeds.

  16. 56


    I think fill flash has been the most interesting to me; however, I really appreciated the article about not being a 2nd-rate photographer just because I’m not a natural light photographer! 😉

  17. 57


    Honestly I think the most valuable thing about the 6 part series was her honesty in approach. It’s not all about manuals for some, it’s getting over the fear of using flash that is the biggest hurdle. Once you have done that, the manual can be used to trouble shoot and fine tune, but just trying it out is the way to start. I loved the series. Best so far on MCP.

  18. 64

    Jill says

    It’s so hard to pick just “one most helpful” thing. All in all, she renewed my faith in flash photography and made me excited to try it again. I have studio strobes that I’ve shunned for my last several sessions and I’m ready to break them out again.

  19. 66

    Gerry White says

    My favorite tip actually is not there!

    The whole article is the favorite!!. I have never had the confidence to us flash like this, I always use natural light, and nothing else, I always used flash on the camera never off, and was disapointed, but this has taught me ‘the error of my ways.’ Amazing and I have some good results, which I hope my client will let me publish at some stage, I know I have the copyrite, but he has paid for ‘joint status’.

    All-in-all an amazing set of articles which should prove to everyone it can be done. Thanks

  20. 67


    The most helpful thing I learned by reading the articles was to experiment with manual on my flash. I’ve already started playing around. Seeing all the amazing images was helpful to see just how natural flash can look.

  21. 71


    Thank you so much for your recent posts to the MCP blog. I loved them and i just ordered a flash and pocket wizards this morning to try on a session this weekend. Thank you for helping me step out of my comfort zone and giving me more options in low light situations. I am so excited. I enjoyed the where to start? post.

  22. 74

    nicole says

    The “where to start” article was my favorite! I am planning on getting a flash within the next week, and this whole section has made it less terrifying.

    Thank you!

  23. 75


    I was surprised most with the images that showed you can achieve a “natural-light” feel with a little help from a flash (now if only I could win that mentor session to talk it through!).

  24. 77

    Juanita says

    Loved all the info that was given. I have been attempting it for a while with some sucess and now know some new tricks to help and promote me to keep trying! Thanks so much!!!

  25. 79


    I really loved seeing all the images in the last post asking which of them used a flash. Some were obvious and some were not at all. It got me out of thinking it had to be obvious a flash was used.

  26. 82


    How awesome! I thought post number 2 (getting your flash off your camera off). I’ve slowly been experimenting with flash but still a little unsure. I am inspired though!

  27. 83

    Diane says

    I have now taken my flash out of my camera bag and said, “I think we might be able to be friends now!” I would LOVE a mentoring session.

  28. 85


    Ainslie took away the light meter! (i have always had trouble with that thing!) She uses easy to understand language and gives examples for those of us who are visual! She is a fabulous teacher – would love to have more classes from her!

  29. 86


    Wow, this was a great series as I really need someone to hold my hand through flash photography. ONE thing I appreciated was the specific supply list needed…now I don’t have to research my own! Thank you!

  30. 87

    Kristi says

    The whole series was just so helpful to me! I’ve done a lot of natural light photography and am trying really hard to learn how to properly use flash. It’s a complicated subject, that’s for sure! Even I don’t win, I really want to sincerely thank you both for the informational blog posts. It’s so helpful and encouraging to developing photographers.

  31. 92

    Ashlee says

    I loved the whole series! The equipment tips were great though. Since it’s very foriegn territory to me, it was really helpful to know sort of the base setup that I could use to introduce myself to flash photography.

  32. 93


    The set ups were wonderful that is how I learn, by example. She was great at explaining things and wonderful with how to use flash to fill. Who would not welcome time with a professional photographer that has put so much time into learning the best techniques of FLASH!!

  33. 94


    I learned that Flash can be used in ANY situation and Don’t be afreaid of it.

    Since I have not used it (flash), wondering how you do a child’s portrait session and keep moving a portable flash or do you keep the child in one spot?

  34. 95


    I loved this series… I don’t do many indoor photos, and I’m *pretty* comfortable with flash inside… but I have NO idea about outdoor flash!

  35. 99


    I loved the entire series (will be reading it over and over) because you explain flash in such easy to understand terms. I am so not techie — so this series was a breath of fresh air!

    Thanks you so much!

  36. 107

    Trina Berwick says

    Fantastic series… not sure if it’s possible to pinpoint the best part. Would love to win a mentoring session, who wouldn’t!

  37. 114

    Vera says

    At this point, I’ve only skimmed the articles on flash. I’m waiting for the weekend to fully read and reread these articles. I’m brand new to flash, so I’m excited to learn more about using flash on backlit objects as well as indoor shots with limited light.

  38. 115

    jenn nielsen says

    i think the most valuable part was how she sets up her stuff. It’s all still way over my head i feel like but some day….

  39. 116


    As a natural light photographer, I’ve been taught to avoid using flash like the plague. Through this 6-part series, I’ve learned that flash is not the anti-christ and can actually add depth & value to photographs.

  40. 121


    I have been wanting to try off camera flash with an umbrella for a while now, but haven’t stepped out of my box. Would love to learn more.

  41. 122

    Victoria says

    I loved this series & it came at the perfect time as I’m wanting to venture more into OCF. Part 3 {all of it} was straight forward and gives a starting point to get out there and practice it hands on. I printed it as a reference. Thanks for this series and for offering this opportunity.

  42. 126

    Carrie Elordi says

    Wow everything was so helpful i cant pick one thing I went back and back to the different posts several times! I truly learned so much!

  43. 127


    Part 3 and how shutter speed and flash power work together. I still don’t have my mind wrapped around it, but I bookmarked that one and will be re-reading it … many times I’m sure!

  44. 131


    The most valuable part of the serie? Well, that has to be that it made me dare to take out the flash from my bag. And even made me run over to the store to buy another one + umbrellas… :-)

    Seriously, this serie gave me the answers I needed to realize that flash-photography is reachable. I’ve been scanning the net for easy explanations on how the flash is working, when to use it, how to use it… but for the most part the explanations I’ve found have been for the pros!

    Anyway, part 3; control light and get the look you want might have been the most informative one. Explaining how the shutterspeed and aparture effect flash photography was completely new information to me. And that really made me interessted! That also gave me the answer to why all my fill-in photos always are burnt out (I’m almost always using f/2,8 for portraitures…). Well, now I’m capable of using the flash when being outside in the sun! The weather forcast for Saturday is really good, and since the sun soon will be gone for the winter here in Norway I’m going to use the day for testing fill-in flash!

    What I would like to know more about? Anything and everything! How to set up a studio using simple equipment like flashes (or two…) with umbrellas / diffusors /reflectors. Getting that creative look with black background / using shaddows. Excample of set up on location shoots – as simple as possible. And why this is working.

    Thanks a lot for a very inspiring serie!!

  45. 132

    jeanine says

    I learned the most from the parts taht excited and inspired me so that would be all of it! I need to re-read plenty of it and talking to Ainslie on top of that would be the ultimate. Thanks for the articles and the chance to win!

  46. 134

    Jeanine says

    I’m a fan and have been for years. Referred a new friend just yesterday. Most have already heard me go on and on about MCP.

  47. 136

    Michelle Hockman says

    This is silly, but I liked the picture of the flash holder for the lightstand. I haven’t seen one! Michelle Hockman

  48. 143


    I absolutely LOVE all the in-depth information about aperture and shutter speed. I had a surface level understanding of how those elements play into the final image, but these posts finally made me ‘get’ it. Now, if I can just put it into practice… :)

  49. 144


    Hey I loved this series. The most helpful post was the one where Ainslie described the off camera flash setup. I shoot natural light whenever humanly possible and had worked up a true fear of flash…this series made me see the light (pun intended)! I do have one question. When I shoot flash the pictures have a tendency to be a lot cooler than I like…how do you keep the warmer tones? Is it a case of white balance setting?

  50. 145


    This is awesome!! This series was incredible. What I loved the most was it was spoken in plain english! It has mad more of a difference in my flash photography than anything else I have done thus far! Thank you so much!

  51. 146


    I never use flash – afraid of it and not being able to control it. I think that that series really illustrated how you can use flash in small amounts to really enhance your photographs, keep them looking nature and not have that flash overrun your pictures. I have no idea how to do this myself, though!

  52. 148


    The most valuable lesson I learned about off the camera fill flash as a tool to enhance natural light is that it can seriously cut down on the post processing time. I would love to win a mentoring session with Ainslee to help me implement this technique for my sessions. Thanks for the opportunity. xo

  53. 149

    Joy says

    Would love to win! This flash series was so incredibly helpful, that I mainly still need to know what equipment to purchase for my first flash stand and umbrella. And a few questions about shoot-through umbrellas.

  54. 153

    Misty D says

    I loved the entire series. It was exactly what I’ve been looking for recently; I’m a natural light photographer, but have been working on figuring out flash for those few times where it’s needed and everything in this series has been so helpful. I’m currently working on getting my flash off my camera now thanks to Ainslie.

  55. 157


    I would love a chance for this.. i have been terrified of flash for two years now.

    All I want is just to find that balance that looks a little less flashy, and a little more natural!

    Good luck to whoever wins :)

  56. 158

    Bob Wyatt says

    I most enjoyed the before and after editing of a flash photo…I still need so much help in CS4 as I do not realize the possibilities for each image.

  57. 159

    Julie vella says

    To be honest I can’t pick a favourite part from the series. Ainslie has do e a brilliant job giving us instructions in simple, easy to understand terms, I would absolutely love to have the chance to learn more from her and discuss some problem areas I have. Thanks so much Ainslie and mcp for bringing this to us!

  58. 161


    The whole series has been helpful. I’ve actually emailed them all to myself to save for further reference, because flash is so overwhelming to me. The post on what equipment I need was HUGE for me. I own an off camera flash, but now I know what to put on my wish list to actually use it off camera.

    Thank you Ainslie for sharing it in such a way that is understandable. Maybe I’m just in a better place in my journey to learn this now, but previously it has all seemed way to technical to really grasp. So THANKS!!!

  59. 168


    Learning the basics of flash was the most helpful from the flash posts. Now, I can get rid of my fears of using flash! Here’s to hoping I win :)

  60. 169


    I love the series on using the flash off camera …i sooo need this class..and need to buy a flash. this class will give me a great reason!

  61. 170


    I think the best tip was how to let more light in just the background…I did a senior a couple weeks ago and I used OCF and really could’ve used this knowledge before then.

  62. 172

    Christina says

    I’ve got so much to learn still, but the fact that aperture determines the strength of your flash was a HUGE aha for me!!! I think I still need to read that post a few times to process it all, but it would be more than fabulous to have some personal time working out the kinks.

  63. 175


    I am always confused between ss/aperture which controls flash power/ambient light in a shot… I can never get enough examples!! And yes, I am terrified of using flash, but I’ve attempted a few times…

  64. 180

    bobbie cohlan says

    learned so much dont know w2here to begin…excellent series and will be rereading over and over…gave me more “courage” to use my flash off camera…but still need some tips for when you have to use the flash on camera…like at a friends party or with a constantly moving toddler… would love to be a winner!!! it would be just what i need….

  65. 192

    Jaime says

    I despise Flash. I always equate it to that terrible look of blownout faces and shine spots, with the too dark backdrop. I loved the whole series, it showed me that I can use flash to accentuate my photos instead of take away from them.

  66. 193

    kristan says

    I guess I just realised that using flash can give you so much freedom if used properly.

    Great series, enjoyed it.

  67. 197

    Amanda Meberg says

    I loved all the information from these tutorials!!! I also have watched Ainsley’s newborn dvd’s and they are so fantastic!! This would be a huge honor to win!! Fingers crossed!!

  68. 200

    Tracy says

    Yes, yes! This series was so very helpful. Thank you, thank you. (Have I repeated myself enough yet? Loved this.) :)

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