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20 Jul 2024

Bounce Light

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Term: Bounce Light Description: To bounce light is to reflect it from the source to the subject. It is an alternative to direct light and can be used with both flash and natural light. Light can be bounced using a reflector, white foam core, or even by environmental elements like snow, white walls, and light concrete. Bounced light is often used as fill, but can also be used as a key when bouncing from a flash to something reflective onto the subject. A common run-and-gun technique for scenarios like events is bouncing an on-camera flash from the ceiling as an alternative to direct flash.

Indoor Scenes | Dance Floor: Shot with Bounce Flash

When ceilings in indoor venues are low enough and bright enough to use bounce flash, by all means, use it. Beware, however, that bounce flashed images can look boring if the moment captured is not exciting or full of subjects. This is because bounce flash creates super clean lighting, which is often bright enough to whitewash a scene; it is probably not be the way to go if you’re trying to capture a dramatic looking image.

Our approach to photographing receptions or events with bounce flash:

  • Expose for ambient light
  • Shutter speed set to 1/50-1/160
  • Add flash
  • Flash gel (to match dominant light)
  • Bounce modifier (bowl, disc)
  • Bounce back at angle
  • Watch shutter speed
  • Highlight alert is critical

Exposure goals for photographing receptions or events with bounce flash:

  • Maximum dynamic range
  • Bias: preserve shadows
  • Temperature: 3200-4000K

bounce flash

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