Flash photography doesn’t have to be painful – bounce your flash!

Flash photography doesn’t have to be painful – bounce your flash!



“Ah! My eyes!” That’s what we think internally when we are photographed every holiday dinner by the ‘family photographer’. Why does flash photography need to be so painful? The simple answer: It doesn’t!

Flash photography is the bane of most photographer’s careers, especially when they are starting out. The big thing to keep in mind is that there are several ways to make your flash photography better, especially when you’re an amateur. So, what’s the secret? Bounce your flash!

Bouncing your flash, is essentially a way for you to diffuse the light that’s coming out of your attached flash. If you have a flash (speedlight, speedlite etc), you most likely have a built-in feature where you can toggle your flash to an angle that doesn’t shoot straight on your subject. If you can, try toggling your flash head towards the ceiling, at a 90-degree angle. This allows the light to hit the ceiling and scatter, thus creating a more natural look to your photo, while also providing the light you need to make your subject not look like a shadow.

For some, direct flash (above on the far left), may look a bit glamorous. Direct flash can look good for certain situations, like a cover photo for your local band. However, it can be a bit harsh on your complexion. If you’re not having a good skin week, harsh lighting will only highlight all the red spots or oily sections of your skin, that’s why we highly recommend bouncing your light. Additionally, when it comes to editing photos, direct lighting can create ‘hot spots’ across your photo, which will be hard to dial back. It is always better to take a darker photo, than one that is too bright.

If you only have an on-camera, built-in flash, you can find accessories that will assist in either diffusing the light or bouncing the light upwards.

Stop by The Shutterbug Camera stores on Canyon Rd, in the same parking lot as Home Goods. We teach classes, rent gear and sell new or used cameras. For those who are excited about film photography, we also develop film in-house. Come see us! We are open 7 days a week.


Have more questions? Schedule a 1-on-1 in-person photo class at the Shutterbug (1 hr for $45) online or in-store! Interested in renting from The Shutterbug, Beaverton? Give us a call for availability at (503) 639-5088.