Bounce flash & direction of light
An aspect to flash photography that I frequently underline in the articles on this site, is that we need to carefully consider the direction of light from our flash when we bounce our flash. Sometimes we just need to bounce the flash behind us into the room to get soft light. But when we have multiple walls / surfaces we can bounce the flash off, then our choices become more interesting … especially when we do portraits.
This is Carly Erin, a delightful model that I photographed for my own portfolio: an intimate photo session.
What I wanted to show with these two images, is how the direction that I bounce the flash towards, has a fairly dramatic impact on the final image. I once again used the black foamie thing to shield my flash from directly illuminating my subject. I bounced my flash towards the area that I wanted my light to come from.
Camera settings & photo gear (or equivalents) used during this photo session
- 1/125 @ f/2.8 @ 1000 ISO
- on-camera TTL bounce flash
- Nikon D3
- Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 AF-S VR II / Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
- Nikon SB-910 Speedlight / Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite
Looking at the photos, the camera and (TTL) flash settings and approximate focal length are implied. More important than these more mundane details, is the direction of light.
A little bit of homework
Lighting diagrams to show where I bounced my flash? Not this time. : )
Instead, look at the images, and look at the pattern of light and shade, and try and deduce from that where I had bounced my flash. It’s all there in the final images.
- review: Best light modifiers for on-camera flash
- Bounce flash photography – Short lighting
- Tutorial: Bounce flash photography
- Bouncing your flash
- Black foamie thing
Materials for the flash modifier used – the black foamie thing
The BFT is held in position by two hair bands (Amazon), and the BFT is usually placed on the under-side of the flash-head.
The linked articles will give clearer instruction, especially the video clip on using the black foamie thing.
Video tutorials to help you with flash photography
If you like learning by seeing best, then these video tutorials will help you with understanding flash photography techniques and concepts. While not quite hands-on, this is as close as we can get to personal instruction. Check out these and other video tutorials and online photography workshops.