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Bounce flash in a barn?

Homecoming pics coming up and the pics are in a remodeled barn with really high ceilings and extremely dark wood. Any suggestions on bounce or just try fill as best as I can?  Or do I bounce even with dark wood??  Thanks!

the venue is set up for parties and weddings


  • I have dealt with dark wood before, and other non-ideal wall colors. You will get a color cast because of the dark wood. I would get a feel for the color temperature by using a gray card and bouncing off the dark wood, and then just set it in your camera, and modify as needed when you develop the photos. I don't know what kind of camera you are using, but don't hesitate to raise your ISO, and you may need to be quite high. Also, I have never done this, but wedding photographers use a technique where they place Speedlites on stands in the corners of the room, and use direct/modified on-camera flash to control the lights and also light the subject. The lights in the corners give backlighting. As I wrote I have never attempted this, so hopefully someone else will chime in.

    As a last resort you could use direct, on-camera flash with a modifier. That has always been a last resort for me. I know other people who bring along an assistant to hold a white reflector and the photographer bounces into that.

  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    I have bounced off light-colored wood before, but it needs full power manual flash, and a high ISO and f/2.8 ... which means you are working at the limit already. 

    Your best option would be some kind of light modifier on your flash to diffuse the flash and make it a larger light source, AND adding off-camera flash in the background as rim lighting.  
  • I ran into a similar situation. The bounce flash was ok but for moving indoors and out I stay with a cheap umbrella for everything and the fall off gave a nice vignette on the edges. 
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    Very nice shots Mike.
  • These are nice, but I would think pretty impractical when shooting an event unless the client is looking for posed photos at one end of the barn.

  • Often times in large or dark venues a speed light and umbrella in two corners gives very sufficient light. If that is an option. Sometimes bouncing cant do what you need. 
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