Flash photography tips: external flash techniques anyone can understand

    | Photography Tips | 31/10/2012 02:00am

    Flash photography tips: bounce flash techniques


    Bounce flash photography techniques: 4 simple steps

    Of course, simply taking the flash off-camera doesn’t stop the lighting from looking harsh and artificial – it still needs enlarging and softening.

    There are several ways of doing this, and one of the most effective is to bounce the flash. This is easy if your flashgun allows you to tilt the head upwards (usually through click-stops at 45°, 60°, 75° and 90°) and swivel it around the horizontal axis.

    The idea is that you bounce the flash off a reflector, wall, ceiling or even a mirror – spreading the light out over a much larger area and effectively increasing the size of the light source.

    This lightens dark shadows and produces softer, smoother and more natural lighting than direct flash. For the best results, tilt the flash head up to at least 60°. The downside is that subjects can look somewhat flat and lack that ‘sparkle’.

    Bounce flash photography can also produce unwanted shadows underneath a subject, which in the case of a portrait accentuates eye bags
and creates shadows under the nose and chin. It also significantly reduces flash power, which typically translates to a light loss of two to three stops.

    As long as the flash sensor’s still pointed towards the subject a TTL flashgun will automatically amplify its output to compensate for this, but if it can’t meet the new requirements you must increase your aperture, boost your ISO and/or move in closer to your subject.

    If you’re using a manual flashgun you’ll need to increase your exposure accordingly.

    Another important consideration when bouncing flash is that the surface you bounce off must be a neutral white, otherwise your subject will end up with an unnatural colour cast.

    PAGE 1: Overview of external flash units
    PAGE 2: Off-camera flash
    PAGE 3: Replicate studio lighting with two flashguns
    PAGE 4: Bounce flash techniques
    PAGE 5: White bounce cards
    PAGE 6: Using flash diffusers
    PAGE 7: Wireless flash
    PAGE 8: External flash photography cheat sheet


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    Posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 at 2:00 am under Photography Tips.

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