Foundations of Photography: Flash
Illustration by

Alternative options for bouncing flash


Foundations of Photography: Flash

with Ben Long

Video: Alternative options for bouncing flash

In the last movie, you saw me light a portrait, by turning the Now, I can try just using my flash directly and hope that ETTL And when it does that, it actually does a pretty good job.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 35s
  2. 33m 1s
    1. Exposure revisited
      2m 22s
    2. How flash works
      2m 12s
    3. Balancing ambient light and flash
      3m 54s
    4. Shutter speed, aperture, and flash
      4m 11s
    5. Fill and key light with flash
      4m 13s
    6. Understanding flash range
      2m 47s
    7. Understanding flash modes
      5m 16s
    8. Flash sync options
      3m 2s
    9. Some notes about your camera's built-in flash
      5m 4s
  3. 32m 50s
    1. When to use fill flash
      1m 39s
    2. Using fill flash in auto and program modes
      2m 44s
    3. Fill flash in priority or manual modes
      2m 38s
    4. Using flash exposure compensation
      9m 14s
    5. Using fill flash to eliminate unwanted shadows
      5m 46s
    6. Using fill flash to darken a background
      5m 1s
    7. Using flash to supplement ambient light
      3m 48s
    8. Filling in for a bright sunset
      2m 0s
  4. 33m 53s
    1. Shooting a portrait with flash as the key light
      4m 27s
    2. Why use an external flash?
      3m 34s
    3. Flash power and recharging times
      4m 21s
    4. Flash zoom
      1m 45s
    5. Taking the flash off camera
      5m 35s
    6. Using a softbox
      5m 3s
    7. Balancing flash and window light
      4m 22s
    8. Paying attention to the light in the room
      3m 39s
    9. Flash and white balance
      1m 7s
  5. 54m 20s
    1. Bouncing flash to improve lighting
      13m 8s
    2. Alternative options for bouncing flash
      5m 12s
    3. Using slow sync with flash
      8m 50s
    4. Rear-curtain sync
      11m 54s
    5. Using radio controls to fire a flash
      4m 32s
    6. Working with manual flash
      10m 44s
  6. 25m 16s
    1. Building up to multiple flash units
      13m 3s
    2. Adding the second flash for fill
      5m 19s
    3. The third flash as a backlight
      6m 54s
  7. 7m 50s
    1. Which brand of flash should you buy?
      1m 27s
    2. Guide number considerations
      3m 13s
    3. Shopping recommendations
      3m 10s
  8. 42s
    1. Next steps

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now
please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Foundations of Photography: Flash
3h 9m Appropriate for all Dec 13, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Harsh, unflattering lighting can ruin a photo—and with flash, it's easy to get harsh, unflattering lighting. But flash is a necessary part of a photographer's toolset—after all, the world doesn't always provide you with the best natural light.

Fortunately, it isn't difficult to get great results from flash, and in this course, photographer, author, and teacher Ben Long details the concepts and techniques behind effective lighting with flash. Ben starts with fundamentals that build on exposure principles taught in other installments of Foundations of Photography—simple techniques that improve the results from a camera's built-in flash. He then focuses on fill flash techniques and on using flash as a key light. The course also explores topics ranging from bouncing and syncing flash to shooting with one or more off-camera flash units.

Topics include:
  • How flash works
  • Balancing ambient light and flash
  • Understanding flash ranges and modes
  • When to use fill flash
  • Using an external flash
  • Bouncing flash to improve light
  • Building up multiple flash images
  • Purchasing a flash
Ben Long

Alternative options for bouncing flash

In the last movie, you saw me light a portrait, by turning the ceiling into a light source simply by bouncing my flash off of it. The thing about most flashes these days is they not only tilt, they also swivel. That means I can bounce in a lot of different directions. Michael has generously agreed to hang around and let us use him as a guinea pig some more. So we're going to try an alternative version of the picture that we took in the last movie. Because then we've gotta a few other things working for us here. There are windows all the way around. There are some windows just to his left here, which are a great light source.

You can't do better than diffuse window lighting. The problem is when I shoot him. So we, so we opened up the shades. The problem is when I shoot him this way, I'm doing mostly the same shot I did before except one of us has moved in the meantime. When I shoot him this way, I get this really strong light on his left side. So you can argue that at this point, that's my key light. This is really illuminating him. What I need to do now is fill. Now, I can try just using my flash directly and hope that ETTL is going to figure out that it needs to just add some fill.

And when it does that, it actually does a pretty good job. It's filled in the shadow, but still it's that harsh light directly from the front, I'm just not crazy about it. I've got a white board on the wall right here. It's basically a big bounce card. It's a giant reflector. It's the kind of thing you wish was in every room you were ever shooting in. So, I'm going to try and bounce some light off of that, and on to him, and see what happens. I'm just going to tilt my, say I am, I'm going to just tilt my flash over there. And I'm set at no flash exposure compensation, because I think that this is enough of a bounce that it's going to need a lot of light to really get a good kick.

And this is what I get. Notice the difference. It has filled in the right side of his face, but it's done it much more evenly than the flash did pointing directly at him. I think maybe I can get a tiny bit more, Michael, could you move back just a little bit, and again. I'm just thinking of this like a billiard shot. I, I think a lot of the light was going behind him so by moving him back a little bit, and then again, he's continuing to very generously do all the work of a good model without me saying anything. So there we go. I've got, I've just created this nice fill by again, changing the size of my light source and moving it.

It's no longer the small, pointy source right in front of him. It's now off to the side, and it's very large. I'm thinking still in terms of key and fill. The window light is my key-light. The flash bounced off the wall is my fill-light. It occurs to me that I might be having a white balance problem here. I've got shady sunlight coming in, and flash light. That could be a bad mix. I'm shooting raw. So I'm going to have very good control over my, white balance later. It also occurs to me that I could basically gel that whiteboard by getting markers, and scribbling color across all of it.

But I'm, I'm not going to bother with that. So let's just do a couple more here. I'm going to do what I did last time, and try and dim the background down some by lowering my ambient exposure. I think that's a little too much. I'm going to crank the, I'm now going to add some positive exposure compensation. Which is not something you see me do very often. To try to get a little more light on him, whoa that's way too much. There's a reason you don't see me doing that very often, that maybe a bad call. Yeah, I'm now overpowering the daylight, so I'm going to, I'm going to stick with where I was and just continue to play with the ambient exposure until I get a balance that I like.

And again I am relying on the LCD screen on my camera, which may or may not be accurate. So I'm just bracketing my exposures, my flash exposures, and, my camera exposure. And I think we're zero-inning on it here. This looks good. What I can do here by playing with the flash exposure is also play with my mix of sunlight to flash light. And get some options there for how I want to balance the lighting. So I'm liking where this is going. I'll do one or two more with these settings. Chin down a tiny bit thank you and finally one last look around the frame to see if I've missed anything.

If I know to look for it I can see my reflection in the TV monitor back there. I'm not going to worry about that I can always take it out if I need to. The chairs look good and Michael looks good let's do one more and I think we're there. So, still doing all of the same work thinking about key and fill, thinking about flash and ambient and thinking about other things I can use in the room to bounce light off of. You may not always have a wall with a whiteboard on it but that doesn't mean you can't carry a big reflector or find a piece of foam core.

Just some way of modifying the light to create a larger difuse light source. If you don't have a ceiling with you because you're shooting outside Maybe you can have someone hold up a big piece of what paper or something and bounce off of that. Don't forget that your flash can move around that you can bounce light in a lots of different directions and use that for fill key or sometimes even both.

There are currently no FAQs about Foundations of Photography: Flash.

Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Foundations of Photography: Flash.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.