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 ideas and tips alongside the way in which.
Plenty of freshmen wrestle with bounce flash images, and it looks as if an awesome and even technical topic. However I’ve been doing skilled wedding ceremony images for years, and I’m right here to let you know that, with my fastidiously developed strategies, you’ll be able to simply bounce your method to higher images!
In truth, 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 of seize pro-level photographs identical to this one:
What’s bounce flash?
Bounce flash is a method the place you fireplace 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 straightforward method to flip a small, onerous, hot-shoe mounted flash into tender, 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?
In the event you’re utilizing a single flash mounted to your digital camera, and also you intention it immediately at your topic, you’re going to come across two main points:
- The sunshine from a naked flash is “hard,” which seems horrible for many portraits and indoor photographs. Be aware that onerous gentle produces outlined edges and ugly shadows, whereas tender gentle retains shadows tender and flattering. Portrait photographers are at all times 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 not carry round a softbox whereas taking pictures!
- Direct flash is aimed straight towards the topic, which provides a really two-dimensional, deer-in-the-headlights look. In portrait studios, you’ll typically discover lights mounted to stands at varied angles – however once more, when taking pictures occasions, this typically isn’t possible.
Enter bounce flash, which lets you create tender, flattering gentle and an angled lighting impact, whereas utilizing a single flash mounted to your digital camera. As a substitute of pointing the flash immediately 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. Beneath, I share a couple of examples to point out you the advantages of bounce flash. This primary picture used direct flash:
As you’ll be able to see, the picture seems very very like a snapshot, with onerous, disagreeable shadows and loads of overexposed and underexposed particulars. Right here is one other, nearer (direct flash) shot, which clearly emphasizes the onerous shadow within the neck space and the flat lighting:
Examine the picture above to the one beneath, which was shot with the flash tilted upward towards the ceiling. The sunshine is far softer, and you’ll see that the shadow on the lady’s neck is softer:
Nevertheless, the shot may 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, tender gentle, and flattering shadows:
Good, proper? That’s the ability of bounce flash. And as you hopefully noticed (and I emphasize beneath), it’s really fairly straightforward to do.
Learn how to bounce a flash: the fundamentals
Now that you just’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 suitable flash
First, you will have a sizzling shoe flashgun, one which permits you to each tilt and swivel the pinnacle. Be aware that some flashes solely tilt, and this isn’t ultimate, as it’ll stop you from bouncing flash off to the facet. Right here’s a Phottix Mitros+ flash:
Step 2: Choose your topic and determine all bounceable surfaces
Subsequent, you’ll have to determine your topic, which may be a person, a pair, a bunch, or – in the event you’re an actual property photographer – a whole room.
Now go searching. Decide your accessible 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 worthwhile to assume like a studio photographer. In the event you might level the flash from a special route, the place would you place it? What’s probably the most flattering method to gentle your topic?
Step 3: Set the proper bounce angle
For portrait images, angled entrance/sidelight is usually finest, so that you may level your flash towards a wall off on the suitable or left. That means, you’ll be able to 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’ll be able to bounce the flash off a ceiling. However the consequence isn’t as three dimensional (keep in mind the photographs that I shared at first of the article?), so if in case you have a facet wall to make use of, then I like to recommend you go for that as a substitute.
In the event you’re struggling to find out the suitable route, right here’s a professional tip that I realized from Jerry Ghionis: Simply level your flash head in the identical route because the nostril of the topic so you might be bouncing. This provides you with a pleasant, three-dimensional consequence.
Step 4: Hearth the flash
Now you’ll be able to 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 route in the event 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 means you don’t find yourself with a distracting vibrant wall in your photograph.
Bounce gentle digital camera settings
Selecting your digital camera settings in a bounce flash state of affairs is actually all about publicity. You’ll be able to strategy this from two totally different instructions:
- Computerized flash publicity
- Handbook 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 handle the remaining.
Nevertheless, it’s also possible to dial in your camera settings, then manually regulate your flash energy till you get the publicity you want!
In both case, you need to take a check shot. If the result’s too darkish, attempt rising the flash energy, rising the ISO, widening the aperture, or slowing down the shutter velocity. If the result’s too gentle, contemplate lowering the flash energy, lowering the ISO, narrowing the aperture, or rising the shutter velocity.
Within the picture beneath, there isn’t a apparent harsh shadow, there may be good gentle falloff and modeling on his face, and the encompassing space is correctly uncovered. I used to be kneeling down on the time, taking pictures 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 recognize how to bounce the sunshine for excellent outcomes. However when do you have to do it?
Bounced gentle seems nice when you’ve a close-by ceiling or wall (ideally white, so there isn’t a 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 outdoor, although bouncing outdoor may be robust, as you want a floor to do the bouncing.
That mentioned, whereas bounce flash is nice, you shouldn’t use it on a regular basis. There are specific situations the place making an attempt to bounce the sunshine will really damage your photographs.
For 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.
In the event you’re undecided whether or not a floor may supply a superb bounce, you’ll be able to at all times check it. Put your digital camera in Handbook 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 superb signal, but when the second shot is brighter – or equally vibrant – you then’ll both have to get nearer to the bounce floor or ignore it solely.
Plastic diffusers: are they obligatory?
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 really owned and tried many of the diffuser merchandise, and whereas I’ve nothing towards them, they’re not a part of my package. I want naked bulb bouncing for extra directional gentle, however diffusers do the alternative!
Bounce flash images: ultimate phrases
Mastering bounce flash approach has actually improved the standard of my work – and in the event you spend a bit time working towards, I know it’ll provide help to, too.
So the following time you’re out taking pictures, carry a flash, and begin searching for bounce-ready surfaces. Take some check pictures, and see what you assume. I’m guessing you’ll get some excellent outcomes!