Monday, April 16, 2012

I've got my black foamie thing on, thanks to Neil van Niekirk

I've Got My Black Foamie Thing On, Thanks to Neil van Niekirk
I'm an available light shooter by nature, so when I need to use bounce flash I've always found it difficult to get good results, mostly because I pretty much followed the received wisdom of bouncing straight up or even slightly to my rear, resulting in flat, dead looking photos. After all, if the flash unit has a position that tilts back a bit, it must be there for a reason, right? Wrong.

Then I saw Neil van Niekirk's video about his black foamie thing for bounce flash. It changed everything. Neil's approach is to bounce the light off the place on a ceiling or a wall where you can imagine there being a softbox, usually off to one side or another , usually ahead of the camera. This concentrates your light and gives it a nice, diffuse directionality -- one that also creates pleasing catchlights in the eyes. Trouble is, if you aim an unshielded strobe this way, you'll throw some of the direct flash at your subjects, destroying the soft, diffused lighting you're trying to create. That's where the "black foamie thing" (which you can easily make yourself) comes in. Neil made a short video to explain the concept and how to make the black foamie thing.. Take a look. It really works. You may never look at bounce flash the same way.

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