rpgwhitelock 2:02am, 10 January 2005
Just posted a pic which demonstrates bouncing the flash.

I have a few more from the same session which show the different effects you can achieve.

However for now I'd like to see how other people do this.

In the photo I used the Canon Powershot S1IS's lenscaps placed in front the flash to bounce it off a nearby wall.

How do you do it?

[tags: lighting]
GustavoG PRO 14 years ago
The photo in question:
What's the Technique? What is it good for or why should we use it? (Rhetorical.)
Flash is great for bringing light to dark places indoors and shaded areas outside. However, since the flash is positioned above or beside the camera lens, heavy and unnatural shadows can appear in the final photograph.

In addition, while some areas will receive the exact amount of artificial light they need, other areas will not. Objects and people in the foreground will get too much exposure, while those in the background may get too little ('blackened' rooms).

'Bouncing' the flash off the ceiling or off a little white card attached to the flashgun helps spread the light more evenly over the entire area and will not cause the heavy shadows. Here I directed the flash towards the ceiling and also used a white card:

The Dance

One problem still remains: reflective surfaces (spectacles, glass), since they will reflect the source of light. Always avoid shooting directly - in a straight line - into mirrors or window panes.

Depending on the camera type and flashgun used, your system will need to calculate and compensate the 'loss' of flash caused by bouncing, since the light will now travel longer before reaching its final destination. You may need to readjust the setting of your f-stop.
I have played with bouncing the flash on my Canon A75 a bit. I'm still experimenting, so I may be doing something horribly wrong. I got a small mirror with a leather case for one of my PDAs that fits perfectly in my small camera bag. I use the mirror to deflect the flash up toward the ceiling. This way I'm not completely blocking the flash from getting into the shot in some form, and the object I'm shooting gets all light from above. I think it's the best I'm going to be able to do since my A75 has no hot-shoe.

Here's a shot with direct flash:
Direct Flash

And bouncing the flash with the mirror:
Bounced Flash
annafdd PRO 14 years ago
The mirror idea is pretty cool. How do you fix it on the camera?
Drift Words 14 years ago
Ocellnuri, Now I think the upper surfaces of the objects have got _too_much_ light, although the majority of the scene looks more natural.

I'm assuming you are simply holding the reflector in place. Can you go back and do one with a business card for comparison? A paper reflector might give a different quality.

It might be worth mentioning how high the ceilings are in these shots. I imagine the ballroom (above) was much higher than this (domestic?) space.
Yes, I am just holding the mirror.

I think I agree about too much light hitting the top, and I will most-deff try a paper card some time soon. The ceilings in that room were 8 feet (I think that's right). Maybe a mirror would be more appropriate for larger rooms? I'm afraid that because my flash is so small it may NEED a mirror to keep its intensity so it can be effective in the shot.

[Edit] I just did a few shots in my dim dorm room of my computer desk, and the results looked much more natural. I think the white sculptures in the example pictures I posted really reacted to the light strongly, plus I was pretty close.
rpgwhitelock 14 years ago
Interesting stuff. I use the lens cap of my S1. It's a nice silver shade. Another trick is to add some whitecard onto the inside of the lens cap (for doing manual white balance). This could also be used to bounce the flash.
If I remember the layout of the Canon, the flash window is only about 8 x 20 mm or so. You'll have plenty of light. It's important to bounce all the flash and not cut its beam in two, otherwise you'll get a weird shadow (unless of course you are diffusing rather than re-directing). Using a paper should bounce the flash and spread it a bit rather than specularly, which should help when illuminating objects in the round. Try crumpling a piece of paper, opening it back out, then using it.

The other trick is to arrange reflectors - bits of art board - off shot to the side to help fill in the shadows.
Ocell 14 years ago
Great tips, thanks!
Shepherd PRO 14 years ago
I always use white index cards held on with rubber bands for my Vivitar 285's, Nikon SB-16, and Sunpack 555. If I get in close I use a diffuser (factory made or white tissue if I can't find it) and the index card method.
chadmiller 14 years ago
Hi, I always hated flash, and still hate the oncam flash until today. I had a point and shoot where I used a small mirror to bounce at the ceiling. Now with the DSLR it's much more interesting, flash can be a beautiful light source.

how 5522

I bought two slave-eyes, and now use four flashes instead of energy consuming lamps. the flash on the D70 is at 1/16 power only to trigger the slave-eyes. anyone else here who uses the "flash bounced on foam" technique?
laurenz 13 years ago
I think that when you see that someone used a flash in a picture it probably was too much.
I use the small inbuilt flash of my Dynax 9 regularly as fill flash, but reduce its intensity.
When shooting in a room, I usually use the main flash bouncing it either off the ceiling, a wall or the a special bouncer I can attach to the flash when in an upright position.
This also moves the flash far from the optical axis and helps to prevent red eyes.
One nice thing about the Minolta system (I guess other brands offer the same) is that you can combine the inbuilt small camera flash with one or more main flashes triggered by the light of the camera flash. This allows for some nice effects outdoors.
Mark Demeny 13 years ago
Fuji S3

Like the Minoltas mentioned in the previous post, all recent Nikon dSLRs (except the D50) have the ability to control an SB-600 or SB-800 wirelessly.

You can put the external flash anywhere you want and use the on-camera flash as well to get a really evenly lit photo. I bounced the SB600 off the ceiling from a few feet away.

This shot had very little other light and it largely from the two flashes but looks quite natural (aside from Auto Levels in Photoshop, there was no post processing done).

I'm not a fan of flash at all, but I have to say I'm really happy with my SB600 - especially using it in this configuration. I bet that most D70 users don't even realize they have this *fantastic* ability.
Cobalto27 Posted 12 years ago. Edited by Cobalto27 (member) 12 years ago
Even without the mirror you can bounce it ....i bounce flash over walls and ceiling with my own hand. You just have to treat light as water and place your hand using your common sense, the final result is just amazing.

Sorry I dont have examples without editing in flickr but in this pictures you can see bounced light with my hand coming from the wall at the other side of the model's face and ceiling. (both are overcontrasted),
there are not an extra flash, just a dim yellow tungsten bulb like 5 mts away.:

And this:

Conflict in white gamma

In some little closed rooms with white walls you can see better results, if the bouncer wall is too far you can use a higher flash exposure compensation in your cam.

You are going to feel the intense hot from the flash bulb but its ok.

Trying with other things beside my hands i discover that your creditcard's plastic is semitransparent even if you cant belive it. It sounds weird but if you try taking pictures bouncing with the credit card in front your flash standing in front of a mirror youll note how light can pass trough the plastic and the flash is visible at the other side.

Madison Guy 11 years ago
A digital point-and-shoot, for all its convenience, can be frustrating due to the lack of bounce flash capability. How I work around it... More at my blog Letter from Here.

Bounce Flash Hack for Digital Point-and-Shoot Camera
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