Friday, March 11, 2011

Outdoor Bounce Flash

Pointing a flash directly at a subject produces some harsh lighting and unflattering shadows.  Bouncing the flash light from the ceiling or walls is a great way to produce evenly lit natural looking photographs.

Unfortunately, bouncing the light can work only in places where you can reflect light off of a surface.  Not easily attainable or convenient when you are shooting outdoors.

The catchlight card on the Canon 580EX II is a great way to get diffused lighting on your subject at close quarters in the outdoors.

The above photo was taken with a Canon EOS 7D mounted with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens
ISO: 200; Exposure: 1/60 sec; Aperture: f2.8; Focal Length: 28mm

The above photograph was taken with the  Canon 580EX II  mounted on the Canon EOS 7D.  The flash head was pointed straight upward at 90 degrees to the lens.  The white catchlight card was pulled out.  Note that the diffuser also extends when you extend the catchlight card.  Push the diffuser back into the slot.  The diffuser is used when using an ultra wide angle lens.  With the catchlight card extended, and the subject a few feet away, the shot taken produces even soft lighting.

Naturally, the swath of light does not extend out to a great distance.

If your flash unit does not have a built-in catchlight card, you can get the same effect by taping a small white card to the top of the flash unit, point it to the skies and see the magic happen.