105 — Four tips to improve your bounced flash photography

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #105 offers up tips on how to improve your bounced flash pho­tog­ra­phy. Bounc­ing your flash off of walls and ceil­ings is easy and really soft­ens the light which is often desir­able espe­cially in por­traits. You can also achieve a much more inter­est­ing light­ing pat­tern ver­sus direct on-camera flash. You can often achieve great results with min­i­mal effort and min­i­mal help; I often use bounced flash when I am shoot­ing alone and need a quick light­ing setup.

The images below of my wife Carmy were shot in about 5 min­utes against a slightly green wall in my liv­in­groom. The tones in the face and back­ground wall are sim­i­lar but not iden­ti­cal in all images and I delib­er­ately chose not to match them to see the sub­tle dif­fer­ences. These dif­fer­ences are due to the dif­fer­ent ways that the light bounced around the room. There were win­dows in the room but the day was cloudy and no direct light was shin­ing through the win­dows. Images are unretouched.

Direct flash versus bounced flash

The image on the left shows direct flash. Note the harsh shadow on the wall and the rel­a­tively even light­ing on the face. The shot on the right, bounced the flash off the ceil­ing. The shadow is still on the wall but it is softer. The light­ing pat­tern on the face is less even but more inter­est­ing to the eye.


Bounced flash photography

The image on the left used flash that was bounced off of the wall about 12 feet behind me. The image on the right used flash that was bounced off the side wall about 6 feet from me. Note the absence of any shadow on the back wall com­pared to the left image in the first set. When you try this for your­self make note of how far the bounced walls are from your flash. The far­ther the walls are from the flash, the harder the flash has to work and you may need to increase the flash’s output.


Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:
Spin­rite - To recover crashed hard dri­ves
Photo pod­cast #4 — Fill flash
Photo pod­cast #47 — Flash sync speeds
Photo pod­cast #71 Portable flash

- Bright Colour is our reg­u­lar forum assign­ment for March
– Sil­hou­ettes is our level 2 forum assign­ment for March

If you liked this pod­cast and want to review it on Itunes, this link gets you to the main page

If you are inter­ested in writ­ing for our blog please con­tact me photography.ca (   A   T  ) G m ail  Dot co m (using stan­dard email formatting)

Please join the Photography.ca fan page on Facebook

My Face­book pro­file — Feel free to “friend” me — please just men­tion Photography.ca
My Twit­ter page — I will fol­low you if you fol­low me — Let’s con­nect — PLEASE email me and tell me who you are in case I don’t rec­i­p­ro­cate because I think you are a spammer.

If you are still lurk­ing on our forum,
feel free to join our friendly :)  Pho­tog­ra­phy forum

Thanks to Neil Speers, Stephen Kennedy, Ken Wolter, Jonathan Rams­dell and Allan Lev­ene who posted  blog com­ments about our last pod­cast. Thanks as always to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board. Most of the links to actual the prod­ucts are affil­i­ate links that help sup­port this site. Thanks in advance if you pur­chase through those links.

If you are look­ing at this mate­r­ial on any other site except Photography.ca — Please hop on over to the Photography.ca blog and pod­cast and get this and other pho­tog­ra­phy info directly from the source. |Sub­scribe with iTunes|Sub­scribe via RSS feed |Sub­scribe with Google Reader|Sub­scribe for free to the Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast — Photography.ca and get all the posts/podcasts by Email
You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player below.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!


  1. Rob vE says:

    Great info as always. Tnx Marko.

  2. Yisehaq says:

    Very resource­ful as usual, Marko. Thanks!

  3. Robertv in Edinburgh says:

    I’m curi­ous.
    What’s the source of the rim light on her right shoul­der and right hip (Left of shot)?

    On the direct flash it’s still show­ing as a source so it appears there was some other light going on.
    Also on the direct flash shot (top left) there’s a fairly seri­ous left/right nose split of the light, and much less on the tip. This would also sug­gest light from both sides, rather than direct.

    I’m pretty sure you’ve got the images wrong for that one at least. I can see the hard shadow, but I’m not con­vinced it’s the only source of light.

    • admin says:

      Hi Robert,

      Thanks for the com­ment and good eye! I men­tioned in the pod­cast that there was some win­dow light in the room that was less intense than the flash so that is what you are likely see­ing as no other arti­fi­cial light sources were used. Per­haps I should have explained that in more detail in the pod­cast, my apolo­gies for any con­fu­sion. If more peo­ple are con­fused I’ll reclar­ify this in the next pod­cast.
      Many thx!

Speak Your Mind