Bounced Flash

bounced flash„Bounced flash“ means that the flash is pointed away from your subject so that its light is first sent to a reflecting area and from there onto your subject.

A bounced flash results in much softer light and creates slight shadows as the pleats on Freddy’s red dress show:

sample photos with direct flash and bounced flash

Note: If you point the flash to a colored area it will impact the colors on your image. This is the reason for the color difference in the sample images and can be welcome in case of discrete warm colors but also cause nasty color casts.

Options for the reflecting area are:

  • The most common case is to direct the flash upwards and to use the ceiling.
  • Alternatively you can turn the flash sideways and use a wall.
  • You can also create a reflecting area yourself, e.g. by having a third person to hold up a white sheet.

For a bounced flash you need an external flash where you can twist the head, as a sample here is the SB-600 from Nikon:

Nikon SB-600 flash with head twisted for bounced flash

(The black stripes are fastening for a bouncer described in the next chapter.)