Another way to create a more attractive light from a flash is to bounce it off a wall, a ceiling, or a reflector. Bouncing the light spreads it out, making it a gentler light and also generally more natural-looking. You need to have a flash that allows you to point the flash tube away from the camera, at a wall or ceiling. Many accessory flash units have a tilting flash head to allow this. You can also hold an off-camera flash so it hits a wall.
Bounce flash does absorb light from your flash. It requires more powerful flash units the farther the surface is from your flash. Be careful you do not get too close to a portrait subject if you are bouncing a flash off the ceiling, or you can get heavy shadows under the eyes. Also, be very aware of even slight colours to a wall or ceiling. If you bounce off such coloured surfaces, that colour will appear on your subject — perhaps a good thing if the wall is warm, but definitely not so good if the wall is green!
Bounced flash is one of the best ways to photograph indoors. Contrary to the belief that flash gives flat lighting, the bounced flash light warps around the subject beautifully giving very uniform light, the kind of soft light from an overcast sky. As the light is bounced from the ceiling the whole ceiling acts as a light source.
Flash versus low light-
This photgraph was shot with the flash bounced from the ceiling. f4 at 1/60th sec. The same scene photographed without the flash resulted in a blured image due to slower shutter speed.
Some people feel that the pictures shot with the flash lack the warmth and miss out on the yellow of the interiors. These things can actually be adjusted and tweeked very easily with the white balance settings on your camera or the raw conversion software. the picture below(left) is the tweaked version of the flash photograph on the right.
High ISO versus Bounced Flash
|ISO 2500 f4 1/40th sec auto white balanced||ISO 100 f4 1/60th sec daylight white balance|
Some More examples of Bounced Flash
Munish Khanna is a well experienced creative photographer based in Delhi, India
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