Mastering Speedlight Flash: How to Bounce Light for Beautiful Photos

Since setting out to improve my photography with Clickin’ Moms at the beginning of the year, I’ve been showing you my progress. While I’m loving the new skills I have acquired, the photos I’ve taken remain within my comfort zone, ie pictures of my kiddos in natural light. It was time to challenge myself with a problem-spot in my photography and learn to use a Shoe-Mount Flash. I’ve had a Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash sitting in my closet for a few years now. I was afraid of it. It came with a little black-n-white manual that I refused to open and everyone was saying that great photos were easy with natural light anyway, so I let myself off of the hook, leaving the Speedlight forgotten.

But sometimes there wasn’t natural light. Maybe I was working in my studio at night, or it was raining on Easter and we had a sad dark egg hunt inside. I was left with scary, dark,  yellow shots like the spools of thread on the left above. Or I would use a camera with a pop-up flash and get a ‘beauty” like the thread in the middle. I was ready to get pretty, bright, photos like the thread on the right without the help of the sun.

I started poking around on Clickin Moms and found everything I needed to get that flash out of the box, on my camera, and (let there be light!) adding much needed glow to my images. Then I got my world rocked when I watched Don’t Fear Your Flash with Neil van Niekerk. It provided nearly 2 hours of video demonstration of how to use your shoe-mount flash to bounce light off of your surroundings to create beautiful lighting. With confidence, I started to experiment!

I’m not saying that I have flash photography mastered but every batch of photos I take is better than the last. We are getting somewhere!

Here’s another example. This first image uses the available light coming from the window. It’s not terrible but you can see the dark shadow on the white ceramics and the distracting harsh shadow to the right of the painting.

Then I turned the flash directly on my subject like a pop-up flash making things bright but there is a glare on my painting, the details in the ceramics are blown-out and the bowl is making a harsh shadow. yuck.

Then I turned the flash around and aimed it at the white ceiling behind me. The flash bounced nicely to light up the right side of the ceramics without destroying all detail, and eliminated the harsh shadows. Not too bad!
Read on for another example of sans flash, direct flash and indirect flash with a shoe-mount flash. Then take advantage of a great membership offer from Clickin Moms.

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This post and Jacinda’s rad new photog skills brought to you by Clickin Moms.


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