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Holiday Photography Tip: Bounce Flash

Greetings and Happy Holidays. I have a simple tip for better home pictures with almost any camera.

Bounce Flash for Softer Shadows

With the on-camera flash, the light and shadows are usually sharp and harsh. But hold a card at 45 degrees in front of the flash, and the flash bounces off the card then off the ceiling. It makes a bigger light source, better shadows and often more depth to the picture. It's just better light.

With the sample below, I used a Christmas card and a point-and-shoot camera something like this.

Bounce Flash Demo
Hold a white card at an angle in front of the flash.

And here are two sample shots.

(By the way, I was planning to photograph my nephews today for this demo, but the weather is threatening snow and rain here, so we canceled. I'm left with Homer Clause. It's small scale, but it still shows the difference.)

Holiday Image with Harsh Shadows
With direct flash, shadows are sharp, harsh and noticable.
Holiday Image with Soft Shadows
When you bounce the flash with a reflector, shadows are softer.

Notice how the shadows are much softer in the second shot. You can hardly tell that a flash was used. It works even better with people.

And a few more notes on this technique:

  • Your camera should be on AUTO or a similar setting so it compensates for the different amount of light on the subject.
  • If you bounce off a colored ceiling or wall, the picture may pick up that color.
  • Play around with it and experiment. Bounce the flash of a wall on the left or right. You'll probably find It works better in some situations than others.

Wishing You Happy Holidays and The Best in 2013

Finally, thanks for being a part of a great 2012 for Pacesetter Media. I could not have done it without you and all my clients, friends, associates and vendors.

And I wish you all safe and happy holidays and the Best in 2013.