Photographic Innoventions: More Bouncing Light

Last week, I went over how to use an external flash unit or speedlight to bounce it’s light to improve on flash photography. We learned to vastly improve the look of the classic straight on flash look. Very easy if you have a ceiling less than 20 feet high. However, if you are having breakfast at Chef Mickey’s where the ceiling is hundreds of feet above you or in Ragland Road where the ceiling and walls are very dark, bouncing the flash is not practical.

In those situations, I turn to my handy, dandy LumiQuest ProMax Pocket Bouncer to help me bounce my flash onto my subjects. The LumiQuest Pocket Bouncer comes with Velcro which sticks to the sides of a speedlight for easy attaching and detaching. You can see the Velcro below in the picture of the flash at 0 degrees. To demonstrate, I am, again, being assisted by my lovely model, Shirley, who is still wearing those stylish Golden Mickey Mouse Ears.

No Flash Bounce

Flash at 0 degrees
Again, here’s the typical look of the straight on flash. Harsh light, flat features, washed out colors and shadows haloing poor Shirley. If Shirley was a live model who had hair, you might also see the red eye effect.

LumiQuest Pocket Bouncer

Flash with LumiQuest Bouncer
Using the LumiQuest ProMax Pocket Bouncer, you see how the light becomes softer and Shirley’s features and color come back. Since the Pocket Bouncer deflects some light at the subject, shadows under the eyes and nose are not a problem.

The LumiQuest ProMax Pocket Bouncer sends a lot more light at your subjects then bouncing off a ceiling or wall. To compensate, adjust the flash to fire at a lesser intensity. Read your flash’s manual to see how this is done. With the Nikon SB-600, I set the compensation to -1.0 to start and adjust from there. Be careful to first set your camera’s onboard flash compensation to zero. If you don’t, the effect will be cumulative. Adding or subjecting from what you set the flash at.

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Scott's "Photographic Innoventions" blog focuses on intermediate to advanced photography concepts and techniques relevant for Point and Shoot and Digital SLR cameras.

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