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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Simple Solution for Creating Soft Flash

One of the problems of using on-camera flash to photograph people indoors is that the light is very harsh and direct causing a ton of problems with glaring highlights and deep shadows. I shot this portrait, for example, of a woman at her desk for a local oil-delivery company. Because it's a busy office and the spaces are tight, there was no room (or time) to set up a big umbrellas or softbox. Instead, I used a Nikon SB800 on-camera flash (mounted on a Nikon D90 body) and used a Lumiquest Pocket Bouncer attached to the flash to soften the light. By bouncing the light into the plastic diffuser (the flash is aimed up into it rather that directly at the subject), it creates a much larger reflective surface for the flash to bounce off of and so softens the light--remember: the larger the diffuser, the softer the light.  As you can see in this shot, there are no really dark shadows of the woman behind here as there would be with direct on-camera flash and the lighting on her face is soft and even.

The Pocket Bouncer is just a triangular white piece of plastic that attaches to your flash (by Velcro or a strap) that softens the light without diminishing the power noticeably. But why read about it, why not let the inventor, Quest Couch (how's that for a cool name?) demonstrate it in the video below:

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