bounce flash photography tip – bouncing flash towards a window

bounce flash photography tip – bouncing flash towards a window

During the part of the on-location lighting workshop where we play with bounce flash, Anelisa was posing on a chair, and eventually ended up in this dramatic pose. Even though she had turned away from the wall areas where we could bounce flash off, I didn’t want to change her pose.

The area to camera-left, was the large window of the studio space, so this meant using that to bounce my flash off. Naturally, most of the light will be lost.  But as shown in these previous articles;
— using on-camera bounce flash outside  (model: Precious)
— mimicking window light with off-camera bounce flash  (model: Ulorin Vex)
— and as per one example in my book, on-camera flash,
it is entirely possible to get enough light to return from the window panes, when shooting at a certain angle, and with realistic camera settings.

A kind of a pull-back shot to show the window area.

And the same image without flash, and with my camera settings one stop under what the final settings were. In other words, this example is a stop darker than the actual comparison shot would’ve been. But it gives you an idea.

Back to the final image:

While this image would’ve been better served with controlled off-camera flash, I did want to use it as an example of what is possible with extreme bounce flash. It was getting towards late afternoon / early evening, hence there wasn’t that much light coming in through the window of this studio in Manhattan. I used the infamous black foamie thing to block direct light spilling on her, and only get soft indirect light.

In post-processing this image, I used a few Photoshop filters (by Nik and by Radlab), to get an “Art” feel that I liked. The post-processing also added the vignette.

camera settings: 1/80 @ f/2.8 @ 1600 ISO … flash at full manual output.


photo gear (and equivalents) used for these photos


I use the black foamie thing (BFT) as a truly inexpensive flash modifier to flag my on-camera flash to give me lighting indoors that truly look nothing like on-camera flash.The piece of foam (Amazon), can be ordered via this link. I cut the sheet into smaller pieces.

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.


related articles

6 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. 2Saso says

    Hi, Neil.

    I already tried in the past to bounce from window, but always got that nasty flare, like it was bouncing from mirror. :-/ I don’t see anything like that on your pictures.
    Any idea, why?

  2. 5Terry says

    I’m guessing this is a dumb question, but when shooting in vertical or portrait orientation, one can only bounce to the left. Is that correct or is there something obvious I’m missing?

  3. 6 says

    Terry .. you could always turn your camera the other way – “upside down” – with the camera on top of your right hand. This is clumsy. Also, with the right hand now supporting your camera and tripping the shutter, you’ll be more prone to camera shake. But it does get the flash to point to the right-hand side while shooting vertically.

    Neil vN

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