Find the Umbrella

Of course you bounce, yeah? I mean – one on camera flash, and you bounce that off the wall? My favourite modifier!

So you do NOT, ever, do the following indoors: aim straight at your victim. You see why:

Ouch. In spite of lovely Sarah, that gives flash a bad name. Instead, you bounce your flash off a wall or ceiling:

How do you decide where to point it?

One of the many things I teach in my Flash courses is just that. When using on-camera bounce flash, you should “find the umbrella” – i.e. where it would be if you were in a studio – and then point the umbrella there.

That often – usually, in most social situations – means you point the flash behind you.

Not straight up, when you are close: straight up when close to people means you get “the undead”: people with dark eyesockets:

Also, in this situation you do not point forward and up 45 degrees, for two reasons: (a) you get only a lit forehead and background; and (b) you get a lot of direct forward light, so it’s back to the horrible shadows:

Poor Sarah.

Let me correct that by showing you how it looks when I aim the flash up, 45 degrees behind me:

It’s easy once I show you. For now, just remember: find the virtual umbrella and point your flash there.

(By the way: when you do need to point forward -when the subject is far-, you need to do something else, and I will teach you a cool trick about that soon.)


The above images, featuring Sarah, are from yesterday’s all-revamped Flash course that I taught in Hamilton. Good news if you had to miss it: several new dates have just been scheduled, and several new courses! Sign up right now:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *