After getting my regular email from Photojojo.com I had a quick look at their store at the wonderful things I’ll never be able to afford. One thing that caught my eye was a Flash Bounce. Now to me it seems very similar to a diffuser, but they work in very different ways. A diffuser will soften the light as it leaves the flash as the light passes through it, usually some kind of soft material or white paper etc.
The flash bounce however, diverts the channel of the light away from the subject and shoots it up into the room, meaning it is bounced back to the subject via the room making it quite a natural and flattering lighting technique. The one I saw on photojojo uses a mirror to do this, which kind of multiplies the amount of light flying around the room through the reflections. Now, as a lowly student I couldn’t afford this luxury piece of gadgetry. Instead, I opted to make my own! It is a simple thing put together from a cereal box and amples of selotape. It took me a few attempts to figure out how it was going to stay attached to the camera, but a simple loop around the viewfinder sorted that out perfectly. It sits stable enough over the pop-up flash bracket. Above are a bunch of simple photographs I took using my home-made flash bounce.
The real advantage of using a flash bounce, I think I should add, is the shadows. When you whack out your big bright flash it flattens the subject and bans all the natural shadows from the picture, giving you one big brutal shadow being them. The flash bounce however, lights the subject up in order to gain more definition within the photograph, but by bouncing it round the room it lights as if coming from natural light sources. Leaving the shadows all to themselves. Pretty clever huh?