4 Steps to Bounce Flash Photography

Even experienced professionals run into flash related challenges. It’s no wonder then that beginners and intermediate shooters always have questions and frustrations when it comes to flash photography and how to bounce light properly. Hopefully this guide will help those of you struggling to get the right flash bounce lighting for your shots.

Step 1 – Manage Exposure

If you have a TTL compatible flash, then you may want to use this feature. Even if you are bouncing light around the ceiling/walls, this will help you get the right exposure. If you are on Manual with your flash then it’s still not that difficult, just dial in the settings, take some test shots, re-adjust if needed and rock and roll. If you are comfortable with full manual settings then use them, that’s what I do, but if you want a little help then set your camera to aperture priority, especially if you are shooting portraits.

Step 2- Find a Bounce Surface

You may want to use a white ceiling, even off-white or beige will do. If your ceiling isn’t an option then maybe a nearby wall will do. In a pinch you can use white paper/board and bounce your flash off of that.

Step 3 – Use Your Bounce Flash Card

You want that nice catchlight in your subjects eyes, so pull your bounce flash card out and use it. It’s as simple as that. If you are shooting in portrait mode, hold a small piece of white paper behind your flash to act as a catchlight for the right direction.

Step 4 – Adjust Flash Exposure Compensation if Needed

Look at your images for under/over exposure and look at the histogram. If you notice issues, then you may want to adjust your flash exposure compensation to make some adjustments to decrease or increase the amount of light.

And as a last word, it may seem daunting at first, but all of us struggle with flash in the beginning, so practice and keep at it and follow best practices and you’ll be well on your way to mastering bounce flash photography.