On this article, I’ll reveal the secrets and techniques of bounce flash. I’ll clarify how you need to use a single bounced flash for wonderful portraits – and I’ll offer you loads of suggestions and methods alongside the best way.
Plenty of rookies wrestle with bounce flash images, and it looks as if an amazing and even technical topic. However I’ve been doing skilled marriage ceremony images for years, and I’m right here to inform you that, with my rigorously developed strategies, you possibly can simply bounce your option to higher images!
In reality, right here’s my promise:
When you grasp the artwork of bouncing, you’ll by no means look again, and also you’ll be capable to seize pro-level photos similar to this one:
What’s bounce flash?
Bounce flash is a method the place you hearth your flashgun up or at an angle to bounce the sunshine off a wall or ceiling. That is in distinction to straightforward flash, the place you level the flashgun (or strobe) towards your topic.
Bounce flash is often utilized by occasion photographers, as a result of it’s a simple option to flip a small, arduous, hot-shoe mounted flash into delicate, flattering gentle. You’ll additionally discover bounce flash utilized in actual property images and (often) in portraiture.
Bounce flash vs direct flash: Why is bounce flash helpful?
For those who’re utilizing a single flash mounted to your digital camera, and also you intention it instantly at your topic, you’re going to come across two main points:
- The sunshine from a naked flash is “hard,” which appears to be like horrible for many portraits and indoor photos. Observe that arduous gentle produces outlined edges and unsightly shadows, whereas delicate gentle retains shadows delicate and flattering. Portrait photographers are all the time making an attempt to melt the sunshine, which is why they use all kinds of modifiers – softboxes, octaboxes, scrims, and the like – however in lots of occasion images conditions, you merely can’t carry round a softbox whereas capturing!
- Direct flash is aimed straight towards the topic, which supplies a really two-dimensional, deer-in-the-headlights look. In portrait studios, you’ll typically discover lights mounted to stands at numerous angles – however once more, when capturing occasions, this typically isn’t possible.
Enter bounce flash, which lets you create delicate, flattering gentle and an angled lighting impact, whereas utilizing a single flash mounted to your digital camera. As an alternative of pointing the flash instantly at your topic and firing away, you merely angle it upward or to the facet, let the sunshine bounce off the wall, and – voila! – you get a ravishing consequence.
Confused? Don’t be. Under, I share a couple of examples to indicate you the advantages of bounce flash. This primary picture used direct flash:
As you possibly can see, the picture appears to be like very very similar to a snapshot, with arduous, disagreeable shadows and loads of overexposed and underexposed particulars. Right here is one other, nearer (direct flash) shot, which clearly emphasizes the arduous shadow within the neck space and the flat lighting:
Examine the picture above to the one under, which was shot with the flash tilted upward towards the ceiling. The sunshine is way softer, and you may see that the shadow on the lady’s neck is softer:
Nevertheless, the shot will be higher. The overhead gentle, whereas softer, retains the mannequin’s face wanting comparatively flat. However by tilting the flash off to the left in order that it bounces off the wall, you get improved three-dimensionality, delicate gentle, and flattering shadows:
Good, proper? That’s the ability of bounce flash. And as you hopefully noticed (and I emphasize under), it’s truly fairly straightforward to do.
The best way to bounce a flash: the fundamentals
Now that you simply’re aware of the worth of bounce flash, I’ll take you thru the straightforward, step-by-step bouncing course of.
Step 1: Choose the precise flash
First, you will have a scorching shoe flashgun, one which means that you can each tilt and swivel the pinnacle. Observe that some flashes solely tilt, and this isn’t best, as it should forestall you from bouncing flash off to the facet. Right here’s a Phottix Mitros+ flash:
Step 2: Choose your topic and establish all bounceable surfaces
Subsequent, you’ll must establish your topic, which could be a person, a pair, a gaggle, or – should you’re an actual property photographer – a complete room.
Now go searching. Decide your obtainable bounce surfaces, together with partitions, ceilings, and even white automobiles. And ask your self: Which of those surfaces are shut sufficient to get a pleasant bounce, and supply the kind of directional lighting that I’m after?
Right here, it’s essential suppose like a studio photographer. For those who may level the flash from a distinct path, the place would you place it? What’s essentially the most flattering option to gentle your topic?
Step 3: Set the right bounce angle
For portrait images, angled entrance/sidelight is mostly finest, so that you may level your flash towards a wall off on the precise or left. That method, you possibly can obtain good shadows and a three-dimensional topic. That’s what I typically do; I tilt my flash off to the facet for these flattering shadows.
Sure, you possibly can bounce the flash off a ceiling. However the consequence isn’t as three dimensional (bear in mind the images that I shared initially of the article?), so when you have a facet wall to make use of, then I like to recommend you go for that as a substitute.
For those who’re struggling to find out the precise path, right here’s a professional tip that I realized from Jerry Ghionis: Simply level your flash head in the identical path because the nostril of the topic so you’re bouncing. This offers you a pleasant, three-dimensional consequence.
Step 4: Hearth the flash
Now you possibly can take a shot or two (although don’t be afraid to make changes primarily based on LCD suggestions!).
Bear in mind to readjust your flash path should you go from portrait to panorama orientation (and vice versa).
And one ultimate tip: Crop out the wall or ceiling that you’re utilizing as a bounce floor. That method you don’t find yourself with a distracting vibrant wall in your picture.
Bounce gentle digital camera settings
Selecting your digital camera settings in a bounce flash state of affairs is absolutely all about publicity. You’ll be able to strategy this from two totally different instructions:
- Computerized flash publicity
- Guide flash publicity
Personally, I depend on my Auto TTL system, so I merely dial in my digital camera settings (round 1/60s, ISO 1000, f/4) and let the system deal with the remainder.
Nevertheless, you may as well dial in your camera settings, then manually modify your flash energy till you get the publicity you want!
In both case, it is best to take a take a look at shot. If the result’s too darkish, attempt growing the flash energy, growing the ISO, widening the aperture, or slowing down the shutter velocity. If the result’s too gentle, think about reducing the flash energy, reducing the ISO, narrowing the aperture, or growing the shutter velocity.
Within the picture under, there isn’t any apparent harsh shadow, there’s good gentle falloff and modeling on his face, and the encompassing space is correctly uncovered. I used to be kneeling down on the time, capturing at f/4, 1/30s, and ISO 1600, with the flash pointed digital camera left and tilted upward behind me about 45 levels.
When to bounce the sunshine
You realize how to bounce the sunshine for excellent outcomes. However when must you do it?
Bounced gentle appears to be like nice when you’ve a close-by ceiling or wall (ideally white, so there isn’t any colour solid to the sunshine). You’ll be able to bounce a flash each indoors (it’s fairly straightforward to do in a white home) and open air, although bouncing open air will be robust, as you want a floor to do the bouncing.
That stated, whereas bounce flash is nice, you shouldn’t use it on a regular basis. There are particular eventualities the place making an attempt to bounce the sunshine will truly damage your photos.
As an example, if there’s nothing to create bounce, or if the reflective floor is way off within the distance, don’t level your flash upward within the hopes of making a flattering impact. I see photographers do that on a regular basis, and it solely serves to darken your topic.
For those who’re undecided whether or not a floor may supply a great bounce, you possibly can all the time take a look at it. Put your digital camera in Guide mode and dial in a pleasant publicity. Then angle your flash towards the floor in query, take a shot of a close-by topic, then verify your LCD. Then take a second shot, this time with none flash. Do you discover a distinction? If the primary shot is brighter than the second, that’s a great signal, but when the second shot is brighter – or equally vibrant – you then’ll both must get nearer to the bounce floor or ignore it fully.
Plastic diffusers: are they vital?
Many photographers use diffusers on prime of their flash to unfold the sunshine in all instructions. They mount on prime of the flash, like this:
I’ve truly owned and tried many of the diffuser merchandise, and whereas I’ve nothing in opposition to them, they’re not a part of my equipment. I desire naked bulb bouncing for extra directional gentle, however diffusers do the alternative!
Bounce flash images: ultimate phrases
Mastering bounce flash method has actually improved the standard of my work – and should you spend a bit of time practising, I know it should aid you, too.
So the following time you’re out capturing, carry a flash, and begin in search of bounce-ready surfaces. Take some take a look at pictures, and see what you suppose. I’m guessing you’ll get some excellent outcomes!