bounce flash photography technique
In many of the articles on the Tangents blog, I’ve described the way that I bounce flash indoors when photographing events. This photo is an example from a recent wedding – the bridesmaids are watching the bride and groom dancing.
The important thing to notice here is that everyone there is evenly lit, whether closer to the camera, or further away. This is achieved by NOT bouncing the flash off the ceiling towards my subject … but rather to flag my flash so that there is no direct flash falling on my subject. And then I bounce my flash off some point equi-distant to everyone. Then the light has the same distance to travel to everyone … and everyone will be evenly illuminated by the flash. NO need for the local correction brush in ACR / Lightroom. It’s all done in camera!
This technique is also very useful when photographing corporate events. You will inevitably have someone closer to the camera – possibly with his back to you. The way then to get everyone equally well exposed, is to bounce off a wall or the ceiling to the side of everyone … in such a way that there is equal amount of light on everyone.
A regular reader of the Tangents website, Alex Perry, works as an event photographer in Washington DC … and he just posted an insightful article about this technique on his blog. With his kind permission, I’m including the illustrative diagrams here. But check out his blog post to see his description of how he uses this at events.
The idea here is that if you bounce flash towards the group using a bounce card or that infamous piece of tupperware … you still have the people closest to you over-exposed compared to the rest of the frame.
In contrast to that, here is what happens when you flag your flash, bouncing your flash ONLY off a surface parallel to everyone in the frame …
Hopefully these diagrams will help in making the concept more clear. Thank you for this excellent contribution, Alex!