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Black Foamie Thing

jklofftjklofft Member
edited January 2011 in flash & lighting
I was trying a black formie attachment the other day and notice the when I tipped the camera into portrait orientation that I needed to move the attachment as well (since if I left it, it would have blocked the light toward the ceiling). Is this correct or I'm I doing something wrong. Thanks.



  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    You definitely have to move the BFT around as you change your camera's orientation.
  • the other important thing is that the bouced light hits your main subject on the face not on the back of the head. So in a wedding situation, make sure the bride gets lit up as, as we all know, she's the most important person at a wedding. :)
  • You can avoid having to move the black foam by using a flash bracket. I do not have a flash bracket, but I found that it is easier to move the BFT if you hold it to the flash with a hair band, like Neil suggests. I was using a velcro strap, but it was harder to handle.
  • Hey guys I have another question regarding the BFT. I've recently bought a sb900 and have been trying it for the past 2 weeks. Regarding the use of the BFT how do I decide how much I should be protruding past the flash head? Is it dependent on how far the wall i want to bounce off is? Or the angle of the flash head to the subject?

    Is there any general tips on the use?
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Kevin .. juuust enough of the BFT should protrude to block the flash from hitting your subject.
    (And enough not to blind people behind you when you bounce flash backwards or to the side.)

  • Having previously operated in a studio with a soft box, I recently searched the internet for bounce flash. You were the only person I found to recommend a black foamie thing and I tried it at home. I was convinced and I used it yesterday for real. I am very happy with the results. Thanks for this very practical advice.
  • Just a quick question. I recently received a large Rogue flashbender for christmas and was using it in place of the black foamie thing. As one side has a black material and the other has a white reflect side, I was using the white side towards the flash reflecting up to keep the light away from the face of the "models". Any difference in doing this to just using the black side? I am guessing the amoung of light refelected (bounced) but I am not quite sure.
  • StephenStephen Member
    edited January 2011
    Black absorbs all light that strikes its surface. White reflects all light that strikes it surface.

    The Black Foamie Thing will absorb flash light hitting its surface, so you end up with very directional light, since only the light rays that are not hitting the foam surface will light up the subject. As a consequence of this, the black surface does absorb quite amount of flash power.

    With a White Foamie Thing, light rays hitting the foam surface will reflect, so while more light rays will reach the subject, you may also have errant light rays lighting up other areas that you may or may not want (i.e. creating additional shadows). White foam is good when you know you need the flash to reach a little further, such as you are shooting in an area with high ceilings or far walls and the only solution you have remaining is to bounce off the white foam.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    The Black Foamie Thing should ideally just block the light that would spill directly on your subject.

    You really don't want it to extend too far or else it will just unnecessarily eat up a lot of light.

    The reason why I specifically chose a piece of BLACK foam to modify my flash, is described here:
  • Thanks. Since the rogue flash bender has a white and a black side, I am going to try the black side to do what is mentioned in the blog.
  • Neil,
    The BFT is the greatest addition to my SB 900's that I can think of - thanks for that piece of advice. I couldn't find any suitable foam in the hardware store, and finally found some black foam thermo coffee cup holders for 1$ a piece, which work just fine.
  • I used to use a piece of black card like you get in an art supply store, and sometimes just my hand. On a side note I also made a shroud for my monitor out of that black cardboard stuff. But since I found Neil's site I switched to black foam, it lasts longer and is easier to adjust without damaging it if you attach it with a hair elastic band thing.

    In Australa you can find different thickness foam that works well at 'Clarkes' rubber, but they have thinner stuff that they put on the outside of their flat packed stuff which is used to protect the thicker material during shipping. They will give you a huge piece of this for next to nothing, maybe even just give it to you. For those of you not in Australia, you will probably fing the stuff I'm talking about at a place that sells and installs spa pools and swimming pools, I think they use it undeneath wet areas where they lay down non slip surfaces.

    The coffee cup comment just made me think of stubbie holders as a potential snoot/BFT too. Australians will know what a stubbie holder is ;)

    Oh and here is a list of things that don't work so well:
    mouse pad material
    plastic insert in 'green' shopping bags
    lining from an old suitcase

    OK I'm off to make a pocket wizard from a moustrap, two AA batteries and the wiper relay from a 1965 Ford Anglia. ;P

  • Graham,
    Ford Anglia..... now that takes me back..... student days and eon ago ..... and wet spark plugs after dashing through a huge puddle... or having to move the wind screen wipers by hand in a thunderstorm. Fun times, kids today don't know what they are missing...!
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