Question about flash diffuser and on-flash bounce card

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by jenn76, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. jenn76

    jenn76 TPF Noob!

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    I have a 420EX, and will be shooting a wedding in May as a primary (yes, I've 2nd shot weddings before and am confident in my skills)... I wanted to pick up a diffuser and on-flash bounce card... found this bouncer on B&H... this is what I was looking for, but how does it attach? Will it work with a 420EX? I usually just bounce off ceilings or walls if I'm not using a strobe kit, but obviously that won't work for the wedding.

    Sto-Fen | #TW-UNI 2-Way Bounce Unit - Universal | TW-UNI | B&H

    Also, can I use a diffuser with it? I have seen photogs at weddings with the flash straight up with a diffuser on and a bounce card on there too... will that work? Which diffuser do you recommend?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    There are many flash accessories, most of them do pretty much the same thing...which is throw some light forward while allowing some light to be bounced. A simple bounce card does the same thing.
    Some accessories take it a step further and spread the light all around...hoping that there is something to bounce the light off of, so that it comes back to the subject.

    These work well, when there is something to bounce the light off of (walls, ceilings etc)...but they don't help at all when there isn't something to bounce off of. In which case, they just waste light, which causes your flash to use more power, run down the batteries faster and take longer to recycle.

    Some just cover the flash with an opaque material like plastic...and a lot of people seem to think that this will soften the light. Really, the only way to soften light is to increase the size of the light source or move the light closer to the subject. So unless the accessory makes the source bigger, it isn't really making the light softer.

    The key is knowing when to use your accessories, when it's better to just use bare flash and when to bounce etc.

    Is the wedding outdoors? or maybe in a church with a high/dark ceiling?

    One accessory that I've been using is the Demb Flip-it Pro. It's basically a bounce card on a hinge. I like it because it's easy to adjust so that I can bounce the light with a little deflection or a lot...or I can fold it back and shoot direct flash.

    Another product I have, that I'm excited to try out, is the Lite-Scoop. It's a foam scoop that attaches to the flash. It can be used just like a bounce card, but if there is nothing to bounce off of, you bend the top forward, the whole thing becomes your direct light source...and at a significant size increase, which does soften the light. Ask about the larger size scoop, I prefer it to the smaller one.
     
  3. jenn76

    jenn76 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Mike. It's an indoor wedding and indoor reception. Ceilings are high, so I can't depend on bouncing off walls or ceilings like I normally do. That's why I was looking for something to use. So from what you're saying, you don't recommend diffusers, but possibly just a bounce card to attach to the flash? I looked at the website for the Lite Scoop... that looks interesting too.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    If the ceilings are white/bright...you may still be able to bounce effectively...even if they are fairly high. But you may want something to deflect some of the light forward...which you can do with a bounce card or Lite Scoop etc.

    A diffuser could work...but it needs to be big to really be worth using. But they can also get unwieldy as they get bigger. Have a look at this on-camera softbox Westcott | Micro Apollo Softbox - 5x8" (13x20cm) | 2200

    The Lite-Scoop could also work well when you can't or don't want to bounce the flash.
     
  5. jenn76

    jenn76 TPF Noob!

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    I haven't seen the church yet... we're going to her locations on April 1st to check them out. The wedding is in mid-May. I will take a look at that on-camera softbox - thanks!
     
  6. NucleaRR

    NucleaRR TPF Noob!

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    If you want a cheap solution that yields great results check here. I use this with amazing results.
     
  7. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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    Check out the information on this web site: planet neil - Flash Photography Techniques

    Neil van Niekerk is a wedding photographer who does really nice work with on-camera flash...he's able to use on-camera flash in a way so that it doesn't look like he used on-camera flash. You can see some samples of his work here: Natural Looking Flash
     
  8. blurryiris

    blurryiris TPF Noob!

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    A lot of wedding photographers pack enough flash power to fry a hamburger at 20 feet. Not too cool when all you want is nice CLEAN soft light.

    One day during my Internet meanderings I read about this diffuser and decided to post a snippet about it on my digital camera blog.

    Okay... so it looks a little odd but boy-oh-boy does it ever do a nice job. Geez... for 20 cents it's worth experimenting with.

    Photography 20¢ DIY Flash Diffuser
     
  9. Big Mike

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

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    When it comes down to it, the key is understanding how flash works and knowing how to control it. Sure, wedding photographers might carry a lot of flash power...but that doesn't mean they fire it off at full power all the time. But when you need to compete with the sun and shoot at F16...you will be happy to have that power.
     
  10. Tiberius47

    Tiberius47 TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't use it.

    Bounce flash works for two main reasons. First, you are bouncing your light off a surface far from the camera (a few meters, generally), so it moves the light source off camera. Second, it spreads the light out over a larger area than your flash, so the light source from the wall or ceiling is larger, giving softer, more flattering light.

    It seems that the thing is angled to catch most of the light from the flash, so you aren't bouncing from a surface far from your camera, and it's so small that there wouldn't be any noticable drop in the hardness of the light. There may be a slight improvement, but not much.

    If you want good results, go to a $2 shop and get a cheap windscreen reflector. These are silver on one side, white on the other. Get a friend to hold it a few meters off to the side and bounce your flash off that. It's cheaper and will work better.
     
  11. jenn76

    jenn76 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all the info, links, and helpful tips. I asked this question nice and early, so I'll have a chance to practice with some of these tips and tools before the big day. Thanks again!
     

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