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I stumbled across a very interesting and informative photography blog yesterday. The most significant thing that I took from it is the concept of bouncing flash BEHIND you to minimize shadows. I have struggled with using flash because I don't like the harsh, flat, artificial look it can so often give. But using only ambient light doesn't always work. He has some very interesting ideas, with examples, on the subject! Also check out what he calls the Black Foamie Thing, a light modifier that works in a way I've never considered. I'm going to have to make one of those. Anyway, great info on here, have a look!

Planet Neil
 

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Tilt and swivel dedicated flash. Bounce up, left, right, up-right, up-left and even use a diffuser to minimize shadows... I really need to just suck it up and spend the $200 on a dedicated flash.
 

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Wally, yes, that's what I've tried. With mixed results. Read the sections on flash use, it's very interesting the way he bounces in ways that I had never thought of before. And it looks fantastic. Basically he says that there's not a one-size fits all solution. Instead he recommends actually looking at what you have available, and what you need to supplement that (and just as importantly, where it should be coming from). It's an incredibly simple idea that had never occurred to me. Great stuff! Can't wait to try it out!

Just browse through it Wally, and tell me you didn't experience a bit of a paradigm shift in the way you think about flash :)

And yes, silversx80, you need a dedicated flash. If you can get one that does what you want for $200, you're getting off cheap. The one I want now is just under $500. But it kicks @ss.
 

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Cool. Have bookmarked it in Delicious.
 

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Maybe when I get to look at it at home :(

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A simple white card or piece of plastic, a few strips of velcro and you've got a great bounce and fill flash.


Mine is a piece of hard plastic so it's durable, flexible and easy to store.
Just remember ceiling height and color make a huge difference on giving a more natural lighting effect. Also you have to make sure that your cameras ISO is high enough or your flash is powerful enough to cover the distance from the flash to the ceiling and then back down to the subject for your F-stop setting on your camera. So you may have to bump up your ISO or open up your lens a stop or two to make sure you have enough light.

And when you do it correctly you get flash lighting like this. Or course dragging the shutter (slower) to add more ambient light helps too.



 

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Discussion Starter #9
Jeff, read about his "Black Foamie Thing", and why and how he uses it. It's a break from the norm. Different techniques for different applications.

Edit: will your flash head rotate to shoot over your shoulder? I'd love to see the same beer bottle shot with that technique, just to see the difference.
 

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Jeff, read about his "Black Foamie Thing", and why and how he uses it. It's a break from the norm. Different techniques for different applications.

Edit: will your flash head rotate to shoot over your shoulder? I'd love to see the same beer bottle shot with that technique, just to see the difference.
Black foamie?? Where is that?? And my flash pictured doesn't roatate but my other one does.
 

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It's on this page. It's not the only technique he uses. That's one of the things I like, he doesn't pretend to have a silver bullet for all situations.
Oh that, it's like a make shift shoot for a flash. It just keeps the light hitting the subject coming from a specific direction. If you want to see how it works just rig up something like that with a flash light in a darkened room to see how it affects a subject at you aim the light in different directions and walls.



I've got the Sto-Fen for my other flash along with another bounce card for it too. This one rotates 270 and flips 90.
 

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Oh that, it's like a make shift shoot for a flash. It just keeps the light hitting the subject coming from a specific direction. If you want to see how it works just rig up something like that with a flash light in a darkened room to see how it affects a subject at you aim the light in different directions and walls.

I've got the Sto-Fen for my other flash along with another bounce card for it too. This one rotates 270 and flips 90.
I used to do something similar to what Jeff has; currently have a Ultimate Light Box system for when I shoot events. (I really do have to control my tendency to buy photo stuff, especially when I already have something that does the job already) If I'm taking product images, I set up the strobes, reflectors and backdrops, kinda like in this image:
 

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Louise, I'm curious to know what you think of his ideas. Are we gonna get to ride together sometime this year? Or maybe you could just give me some photography tutoring :)
Quite a bit of what he mentions on the site about bounced flash, I already do some version of (and I suspect Jeff does as well). I never use a direct flash (can't remember the last time I used the pop up flash on a camera; if I'm using on-camera flash, it's my SB800 with some type of modifier ( I have some colored gels, some white parchiment, the Ultimete Light Box (probably the most used bit I have) or even a piece of tissue rubber-banded over the flash head).
When I'm shooting portraits, I use ambient light with reflectors (personally my favorite; this is a self-portrait done with window- light and a big-reflector :

or I use strobes and reflectors depending on the effect i want.

as far as going riding or photo- tutoring, with my schedule (packed!) it'd be more likely if you can up to NJ ;D
 
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