Bounce it or Diffuse it?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Richard, Sep 14, 2007.

  1. Richard

    Richard TPF Noob!

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    I am having a hard time firguring out should I get a diffuser or bounce card for my shoe mounted SB-600 flash. I made A Better Bounce Card from abetterbouncecard.com and I am not getting great results. Well actually I like the results when I move the bounce card to the front of the flash then it diffuses the light really well but I feel that I am wasting a lot of my light going out the back. So I'm looking for some recommendations, I don't want to really spend more than 30, under 20 dollars would be better. I want to use it for portrait work inside and outside fill flash.

    Actually that brings me to another question, I read something once that said don't put any thing on your flash when using it for fill flash, but wouldn't you still want to diffuse the light?

    I know I see a lot of wedding photographers using the omni bounce, but I'm really wondering how well that works? Thanks.
     
  2. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

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    You should check out www.strobist.com lots of good lighting info right there. I am certainly no expert but it is really dependent on the situation as to whether I will try and bounce it or diffuse it. I usually try a couple of different things zoom in on the LCD and see what I like best.

    After shooting a lot with your flash and lighting it becomes more natural as to what you are going to do and how or why. I am still figuring all this stuff out. But give the strobist a read and it will help you out a great deal.
     
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Here is a link to a DIY flash deflector..
    http://super.nova.org/DPR/DIY01/

    This thing works so well that I have stopped carrying my umbrellas for flashes. I used the foam sheets and glued them together with contact adhesive and used clear thread. I also tend to use them mounted sideways when the flash is on camera so that with portrait shots I can simply fold the flash over and it's still above and too the side of the lens. In landscape the center of the light is between 8 and 16 inches above the center of the lens. (this is not my idea but I surely stole it!! ;))

    It works about as well as a really expensive bracket and saves me from having to worry as much about having to bounce.

    guten nicht ya'll, RAW files from tonights rehearsal are calling

    mike
     
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    How about combining the bounce card you already have with an offshoe flash cord?
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Get em both, they produce drastically different results. Pick whichever suits the situation. Also I have used both diffuser and a flash card for fillflashing on occasion and I have yet to have a problem with it.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    There is no one product that works well for all situations. They key is understanding what technique or accessory will give you the effect that you want.

    There is nothing wrong with bouncing the light behind you, or off of a wall, ceiling, card, board etc...anything really.

    Think about the light and what it's doing. The larger the source, the softer it will be. Softer lights means softer shadows. If you are in a small room, the light may bounce off of several surfaces and eliminates the shadows completely. You have to ask yourself if you want shadows or not. Sometimes a nice clear photo with no shadows on the subject's face is nice...but a nice, artistic portrait will have some shadows...this 'models' the face and gives it shape and texture. To have this, you need to have more light coming from one direction, than from the other.

    Practice and experience will be your best way to learn this...so keep at it.
     
  7. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    What they said, plus maybe a book or three. I'm reading "Light" Science and Magic" right now and understand a bit more than I did before. I sure am glad I got into digital - out of 100 exposures at varying tweaks, I might be happy with 2. The point being that I practice a lot and nobody sees my goofs. When time comes to actually perform, I can go back in the recesses of my practice time and hopefully be able to increase my percentages.
     
  8. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Pay attention to Mike's advice. Diffusion appears to be confusing to many beginners. Bounce flash does diffuse the light. It isn't something different. The idea, as Mike says, is to make the size of the light source larger relative to the size of the subject. That is diffusion. Either we reflect the flash unit from something else to diffuse it or we shoot through something translucent and large to do the same thing. There isn't any difference if we cause the light source to be the same size.
     
  9. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    I shoot mine comepletely backwards with a stofen. Go figure!
     
  10. Richard

    Richard TPF Noob!

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    Well thanks for all the advise. I've been really frustrated with my flash photography but too busy to really research more about it. I think one of my problems is I may be to close to my subjects. I seem to get better results if I'm at least 5 feet away. I think I will end up buying a sto-fen, so I can compare the two.

    When using flash does your histogram usually look normal? It seems rare that I will get a nice "hill" of information from an indoor shot with flash.
     
  11. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You do need to do some reading on the subject of lighting, I think. The further you put your flash from the subject, the harder the light is. To make light softer, the source needs to be larger relative to the subject, not smaller.

    I don't know that there is such a thing as a "normal" histogram unless it would be one that measured a low contrast subject with very flat lighting.
     
  12. Neuner

    Neuner TPF Noob!

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    I took some portraits of my family in our home. I used the breakfast room b/c it had some outside light coming in through the window, has a white vaulted ceiling and white tile floor. I cut open a coffee bag that had the milky silver lining and formed a scope on the end of my flash to bounce it towards the ceiling. The light bounced between the ceiling and the floor to give me some great lighting. Here is the posts with samples from the session:

    http://thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=90709
    I only had to conduct minor leveling in Photoshop due to the red push of my flash, but other than that I love the way it turned out.

    I'm not sure yet how the bounced flash would work elsewhere without all of the white surfaces, but it's something I played around with until I got it right. I don't think there is a direct answer to your question, lighting is something you will have to try different variations of it to learn. Reading about lighting is a good first step, but you really need to practice. DIY is great and the links provided will give you lots of cheap ways of pulling off different lighting techniques.
     

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