Bouncing off a black Ceiling..


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Aug 21, 2015
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Ok guys, I have a wedding on the 27th and ive never had this issue but here it is... The walls are white but the ceiling is Black... I know I can bounce the light off the walls... But is there any way to get really good lighting with a black ceiling? I am using the Gary Fong Collapsable lightsphere... and an SB700 flash... Any Ideas are welcome. This is the venue...


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Black ceiling, use a black light... jeezzzz, everyone knows that!


Seriously, avoid the ceiling, use the walls, bounce cards, etc.
I think thats what I will have to do.
So the problem with the black ceiling is a problem of surface reflectivity. A black ceiling may only reflect about 1 or 2% of the light... so it's worthless as a bounce source.

What I use in this situation is two options... depending on if you have an assistant.

A) The preferred method if I DO have an assistant to work as a side-lighter: I have a Lastolite EzyBox (speedight version) in the 24x24" size. This is mounted on a mono-pod and my side-lighter (assistant) is holding this. Basically it's a hand-held soft-box that I can point directionally at my subjects (but the side-lighter is slightly off to the side of me) to get some nice soft light.

B) If you are working alone, get a Rogue Flashbender (the larger size - not the small one). The large one is 10.5" x 11". I mount that on the camera as a bounce panel -- point the flash straight up (as if to bounce off the ceiling) but I slightly shape the Flashbender panel to push all the light forward. This gives me softer light than "straight on" lighting but not quite as good as I'd get with the portable softbox.

(BTW, I usually use both at the same time... with the Flashbender on camera and the soft-box off camera and then I set up a flash ratio so that the side-light is a bit stronger than the on-camera light. The on-camera light is basically fill and the side-light gives me the shaped light with shadows to add dimensionality to the subject.)

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