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Bouncing Light

Lesson 13 from: Working with Speedlights in the Studio

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

13. Bouncing Light

It's possible to change the quality of an on-camera flash by bouncing the light off walls, reflectors, the ceiling, or any reflective surface. Mark takes a challenge to create an interesting portrait by bouncing the light with an on-camera flash.

Lesson Info

Bouncing Light

Okay, now we're gonna do some well, on camera flash, what the heck? Well, I've been talking a lot about taking the flash off the camera using manual mode using pocket wizards and remotes and meters and all that kind of stuff. It doesn't have to get that crazy. You can create some interesting portraits with an on camera flash using the magic of bouncing the light. And so we're going to do that. I mean it's sort of see if I can take a great portrait of you with an on camera. Flash, soften the light, make it directional and do some interesting things with the flash still on the camera. I don't know if it's possible, but we're gonna take this as a photo challenge and see what we get. So we have this really cool white background. So that's my first go to a place and any time you're in a location has a white wall, a seamless or anything like that. Use it as a light modifier. So let's try it. So let's have you go maybe right over here. That's pretty cool. And yeah, I'm gonna have you come out...

maybe right here. That's cool. So what I'm gonna do here is this flash has the ability to zip around so I can go forward and sideways and up and down and all that kind of stuff. So I'm gonna use that capability to make the light bounce off walls and disks and all kinds of things. So what I wanna do is I want to have a great portrait of Theresa, but I don't want to have the flash on axis with the camera because it's just gonna look. Well I'll show you, let me first show you how this would look in a normal on camera flash situation. I'm, by the way, F 200 shooting. If I'm at 200 of a second at F. Eight at I. S. 0. 100 I'm gonna take this photo click. And if we have this shot that just looks sort of deer in the headlights, blam. O So that's maybe something you would take at a birthday party at a club or something like that, but that is not a beautiful portrait. So what I wanted to do is I want to start making this light soft. That means the light has to be much larger uh much larger source. I wanted to be directional. Um And so what we're gonna do is I'm gonna take this flash on a rotated to the right and then go this way. Now the flash is going to hit this white seamless. And then it will sort of wrap around Teresa, so we're gonna have a nice soft light instead of instead of having those harsh shadows will get softer shadows. And because it's coming from the side we're gonna get directional light, it will be more contrasting. So let's play with this. So I'm gonna go here about right here, that looks great Teresa, you look wonderful. And now look at this when we shoot this, we have this nice side lit Teresa which is what I'd like, I'm going to even try to fudge this a little bit more by moving this a little bit closer. But them and look at that now we have a little bit different quality of light by making the light source a little bit more towards her. I think I like the first shot a little bit better. So I'm gonna move this back. And so also the thing that this guy has is this little thing that pops out, see if I can show you this little guy that pops out right here. What that does is it spreads the light to its maximum um with so the widest it can go. So I'm gonna do that to see if I can illuminate as much as possible of this white and so that it really gives us nice soft even light. Let's see what we get when we do that. So I take that shot, it doesn't really change the quality of like that much. So if we take a peek between the first one where I didn't do that and this one, so let's take a peek really fast. So here is the first one here is the last one, you compare those side by side. Not much of a difference is going on there. So assuming that light in and out in this situation didn't really change much, but there's still more to explore. Let's see what else we can do with this flash. So I'm gonna go back here. So what I'm gonna do now is something a little bit counterintuitive. So this flash, if I go right here you can see that I can make it go backwards. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna shoot this way. So this flash goes over my shoulder so to do this Theresa, I'm gonna have you come right here. Yeah like that. And so now what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna use this as basically as a soft box, throw the light that way, have it come around Teresa. So even though it's on axis it should be much softer and let's see how this works. Alright beautiful. Hold it right there, click now we get the shot, we can sweeten this up. So what we have here is we have Theresa, we have soft ish light but we have this stuff going on behind Theresa that I think we can make look even better by playing a little trick on the camera. And so what I'm going to do in this situation is behind Teresa back there is matt cameras, all that stuff and so what I'm going to do is I am going to slow down my shutter speed and increase my I. S. O. Value to sort of suck in some more of the ambient light and then just let the flash fill that in what I'm gonna use this to create soft light I think this is this is sort of unplanned but let's see what we get. So I'm gonna point my camera toward the background and I'm going to slow down the shutter speed And I'm gonna open up my aperture to about 45. So I'm not gonna go any slower than a 60th of a second because if I do well I'm gonna get some camera shake so I'm gonna let that stay at about 60th of a second at F. Four. I'm gonna increase my S. O. to about 200. And now let's see if I can create something interesting just like that click ha ha now you can see that we have a bit of well that's sort of cool look at that, that is sort of cool. And so we have something that is starting to look interesting. The video lights that are behind us are acting as the kicker light. This big thing is acting as a fill and now we can sort of play with this that's sort of cool, you can hear how slow the shutter is. Can do this maybe and we're just playing with this light with an on camera flash and yeah you can see me on the screen back here, that's hilarious. So there I am on the screen shooting this picture but this is sort of fun to play with this. Okay so we were able to do an on camera flash bounce it from the side bounce it from behind. Now, what if we wanted to use a different kind of bounce? Well we can so we're gonna try something else. So Theresa I'm gonna have you come maybe right here let's say you don't have a white wall and you want to have a nice soft light, maybe you don't have a soft box to play with, You can use a normal reflector. So I'm gonna put my All my settings back to normal. So I. s. A. 100. I'm gonna get back up to F8. Back up to a shutter speed of 200 like that. Turn this back around. Okay now we're back to everything, back to T. T. L. And normal. So what I wanna do is I want to try to use this guy right here essentially as a soft box. So what I'll do is I'm going to put this up well right here and just to prove this out, let's have you take another step this way like this way right here. Yeah, come this way. There we go. Perfect. So I want to make sure that you know, I'm not bouncing off that white wall so I'm gonna have this here, this is gonna be acting as a nice big light. And so what I'll do so I'm gonna take this flash. So this flash here is bouncing off of this. So I'm gonna raise this up a little bit. Yeah raising up okay, something like that, Something like this. Okay, let's see how we go here, becau look at that, This is crazy. Here it goes, that looks like a soft box. It's not a soft box, it's just to be with an on camera flash bouncing off of this grid off of this five and one reflector and we can create some really nice soft light. You can even see that we have this nice catch light in Theresa's eyes. If I had another reflector I can put it on the other side and bounce light back and forth and add even a separation lighter kicker, just by bouncing light around. Its really cool. So if you don't have the ability to take your flash off your camera just yet, that's okay, you can still create some interesting things just by bouncing stuff around and it works really great. In fact, what I wanna do here is let's see if we can get sort of a soft boxy look with a fill light, doing nothing but bouncing. So let's go back to where we were before. Let's have you come right here, so I don't know how you're going to see me do this. I'm going to totally block you off. So maybe that camera over there will work. But okay, let me show you what I'm gonna do here. So I'm gonna bounce light off of this background here, move this a little bit toward that. I'm in first, I'm gonna shoot this shot, Can you take a half step this way? Just a little tiny bit. There we go. Okay, so I'm just bouncing the light off of this background really fast, you see we have nice sidelight right there. So I want to add a fill light, I want to add a fill light here and so to do that what I'm gonna do because I'm gonna bring this in as close as I possibly can. I promise not to hit your leg if I can avoid it. Okay, I'm really gonna try to bring this as close as possible without it being in the shot. Okay, let's see what we get. I don't know if this is gonna work or not, but we're gonna try it if I am. And now let's compare this light is coming up, let's see if we got enough bounce, we got some we got some, we can compare these two shots and you can see that we did indeed get a little bit of light on the opposite side of Teresa. You can see in her hair here, notice right here, her hair compared this shot two, the shot before, we do have a little bit more detail there, you can see that we have a little bit more light on her shoulder. Yeah, that sort of worked. So maybe what I would do is bring this forward, just a little bit, I can play with this again, Maybe raise this up a little bit problemo, we'll do that. You can see that we're starting to bounce light around with an on camera flash and we're starting to get an interesting portrait. We can work with that. This is really, really cool. I like how this is working out. So the bottom line is eventually you want to get to the point where you have your flashes off camera. Thanks Teresa. Um you want to have the point where you can do manual metering, all that kind of stuff. But if you're not quite there yet, don't give up. You can create some interesting portraits by bouncing light around and creating interesting looks. Using what you already have a white wall, a piece of seamless white five and one reflector. If you have an assistant to help hold that reflector even better because they can sort of shape that light and bringing in maybe even bend it to bring light around. It's really, really cool. Well speaking of different light modifiers, what are the differences between an umbrella and a soft box in the grid and this newt and all those different things? Well, let's explore that. Next

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