Bounce flash

If you’re trying to lessen the harshness of a flash shot so your images appear more natural, your flash can operate in a variety of different physical positions that allow light to literally bounce off walls or other nearby obstacles . This is a very common technique used by professional photographers, each of whom seems to have his or her favorite way of positioning a flash for optimal results.

The 430EX and 580EX II flash heads can swivel in each horizontal direction, and 90 degrees up and down, which, by combining these two axial rotations, gives tremendous versatility in the various three-dimensional angles you can achieve (see 8-14). However, it takes some experimentation to find what works best for your flash situations, based on what type of light you want in your photo and how and where the flash is bouncing.

A 580EX II flash set to bounce backwards and upwards against a wall behind the photographer and camera. This flash head can swivel 180 degrees both right and left, and can tilt 90 degrees, giving it great flexibility.

Typically a flat, light-colored surface such as a wall or ceiling produces the best bounce-flash results. The light reflects easily off of it, spreads out, and becomes a larger, softer light shining on your subject, and a more natural, less harshly lit image results. However, you should be sure that the surface from which you are bouncing the light is close enough to produce the results you want — if the light from your flash disperses too much before it bounces, it will result in an underexposed photograph. Trying to bounce the flash from a surface that isn’t sufficiently reflective can also cause underexposure. Be aware if you’re setting your flash to bounce against the ceiling, and the ceiling is too high or colored too darkly to be effectively reflective. Additionally, a colored surface may actually create a color cast in the reflected light, which will result in your subject’s color also being affected.

Category: Flashes

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