Tip of the Week – Bounce Flash

The built-in flash on your camera is a great feature. But all too often the pictures look like typical snapshots – real bright foreground, harsh shadows and a dark background. There’s a simple solution to transform your flash snaps into images that don’t look artificially lit.

By using an accessory flash not only will you eliminate all the issues of a typical flash snapshot, you can extend the reach of your flash by as much as 200 feet, which is particularly useful in situations like photographing interiors, or when you need that flash to reach someone or something that’s a considerable distance away. That power though is best harnessed by bouncing the light, as the example below shows.

Flash BAD 1

Built-in Flash 

Notice the harsh shadows and a generally flat look.

Flash GOOD

Accessory Flash Bounced

No harsh shadows and a three dimensional quality.

Many accessory flashes have the ability to tilt in various positions. By tilting the light up and bouncing it off the ceiling we got a dramatically different result than with the built-in flash. Notice too, the little white card on the accessory flash. That directed a small portion of the light directly on her, which added that sparkle in her eyes and filled in eye shadows caused by the main light’s direction.


You can take a vertical picture and use a wall or reflector to bounce the light too. Works really well to give the viewer the illusion that the subject was lit with natural window light.

The many benefits of external flash accessory:

  • Approximately 200 feet reach compared to 6-8 feet with built-in flash
  • Red Eye Elimination
  • Bounce, tilt, and fill card
  • Softer more pleasing and natural looking light
  • Many support wireless flash shooting
  • Automatic TTL and Manual controls

Flashes come in a variety of sizes and prices. Here’s a variety all equipped with bounce and tilt capability.

 Promaster FL190FL190 Flash

Canon, Nikon & Sony Versions available

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 Canon 430EX III-RT
Speedlite 430EX III-RT

Compact in size, yet powerful in range

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 Nikon SB-500SB-500 AF Speedlight

Flash & LED – great for stills & video

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 Sony HVL-F43M
Sony HVL-F43M

 Equipped for stills & video applications

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