Bounce flash: tips to improve your technique
It is increasingly easy to remove the cobra flash from your camera or even to use two or three external flashes to obtain better lighting than with a single flash, even if it is a bounce flash.
It is increasingly easy to remove the cobra flash from your camera or even to use two or three external flashes to obtain better lighting than with a single flash, even if it is a flash with bounce. Indeed, you will still be able to bounce the light from the separate flashes. But often you will only be able to rely on a single bounce flash and you will not be able to detach it from the hot shoe of your device, so your best ally in this case will be the bounce of the light.
Factors to take into account, regardless of the situation
Reflector element color
Here is a very important question. The bouncing light will take on shades of the element's color. So, if your wall is blue in color, the flash light will dye that color, which will generate a cold and perhaps unpleasant light for your portrait. Conversely, if the wall is a warm color, the light that reaches the model will also be warm. These characteristics must be taken into account, especially when setting up your camera's white balance. But be careful: you can't always correct these nuances well when editing and it is better to reconsider the bounce surface.
When I started out as a wedding photographer, I remember a bride living in a house whose walls were bright and striking in color. The first photo I took with a bounce flash off the wall showed a subject that looked like a Martian. When I changed the direction of the light to point it towards the ceiling, I took the picture, I was not more successful, so I even ended up thinking that my camera or my flash were damaged. But it was only after two more photos that I noticed that the ceiling was also painted and not white.. No matter how much I fired the flash in different directions, the bride still looked unsatisfying. So I had to look for another option and still had to correct the nuances in Photoshop, to no avail: the results were not good.
Trigger in TTL
Modern flashes equipped with TTL technology can determine the required power (ignition time) of the flash of the flash, even if the light is bounced off a wall. We know that TTL systems send a pre-flash that illuminates the model. In this way, the camera and flash sensors do their calculations on their processors and take the picture with the correct exposure. But just because it's correct doesn't mean it's perfect.
Sometimes, it is better to eliminate the automatisms and take the picture in manual mode, by controlling the power of the lightning like the zoom of the head of the flash. If you can do two tests as a test, you will surely be able to improve the lighting of your photo. Experience will tell you at all times what is best for you. But I stress that there won't be any problems, or there shouldn't be, if you are working with flashes that have the latest TTL technology.
Manual flash zoom control
On modern flashes, not only can you choose manual or TTL mode, but you can also configure the flash zoom distance. Depending on the focal length used on your camera, it sends a command to the flash and changes the position of the lamp or the fresnel lens inside, for greater lighting coverage on large angle and more focused on telephoto lenses . This operation is automatic on your flashes but you can also activate the zoom in manual mode and adjust the zoom of your equipment as you wish.
For example, you can activate the flash zoom in manual mode and assign a position of 24mm even if you trigger at 135mm since you can enlarge the spot of light that rebounds and extend the lighting further, although you will lose intensity. . Conversely, if you are taking a portrait with a 35mm to capture the ambience and need to bounce the light off a high ceiling, you can set the zoom to the furthest position to focus the light beam so that said light does not scatter so much that it does not reach the model.
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