In recent years I have had more photographers with trouble firing a flash, either studio lights or a Speedlite. There’s a few settings that will stop the camera from triggering the flash…

Flash firing is switched off

It’s been over 10 years since Canon added the setting to allow the camera to take a photo without using a flash on the hotshoe or even the built-in flash. In recent years I have met many photographers who seem to have used this setting to turn off the flash and then wondered why the flash doesn’t fire.

I know, that despite the photographers claims, that they must have changed the setting as all the cameras default to flash firing being enabled.

DSLR with Live View

When a DSLR is set to live view it may not fire a flash, but sometimes if it’s a Canon Speedlite or other dedicated flash, it does work. Way back in 2011 I wrote about this after experiencing the fun of using simple non-dedicated radio triggers and live view mode on the EOS 60D.

I also found that using a camera tethered to EOS Utility and using the live view in EOS Utility also stops a flash firing!

Of course the fun is that mirrorless cameras are basically working in Live View mode all the time.

EOS R-series camera – electronic shutter mode

With the exception of the EOS R3, all the EOS R-series camera will not fire a flash when set to electronic shutter.

Some cameras also have a silent shutter function, this also selects electronic shutter mode as part of it’s settings so flash won’t work.

Multifunction accessory shoe and third party triggers

I have recently had a question from a photographer with an EOS R6 Mark II, they were not able to trigger some Elinchrom studio lights with the Elinchrom trigger.

I went to see the photographer and the camera was setup to trigger lights, it would work fine with a Canon Speedlite. It also worked with some Godox triggers I had. In fact it worked with everything except the Elinchrom trigger. The reason is the tapering of the sides of the multifunction accessory shoe.

As you can see from this shot of the Elinchrom trigger, the contacts are behind the centre pin, and they don’t make contact with the edge of the hotshoe as it tapers away at just the wrong point. The result is that it won’t fire. The solution is a different trigger or use the Canon AD-E1 multifunction accessory shoe adapter as it converts the camera shoe to the more conventional one.


Advent Calendar of Tips

This year I’m writing a quick tip each day up until the 25th of December, here’s some of the others I have already posted.


About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag