A bounced flash illuminates a stack of 10 business cards.
Metadata: f/14; 1/200; ISO 100; 50mm focal length
After beginning my first foray into off-camera strobe lighting yesterday, I better appreciate how angles influence composition and light.
COMPOSITION — The height of the shooting table and location of the business cards on it meant that I couldn’t view the composition from directly overhead.
Business cards shot with ambient light (top) and with a bounced strobe (bottom).
I could hold the camera out at arm’s length and try to blindly focus and compose, but instead, I eventually brought over a ladder which helped me gain a better vantage point for the shot.
If I wasn’t directly overhead, the perspective would have been skewed and I would have been rewarded with non-parallel lines.
As I initially placed them, the last business card (the one under all the others) was touching the table instead of resting at the same angle as the other cards. I successfully made it uniform with the others by placing two coins under it.
LIGHT — The quality and size of the light affects the color, texture, and shadows of the scene.
As visible in the example at right, the colors are overly saturated, the cards lack definition, and the scene shows little depth when illuminated only by ambient light. Without extra light from a bounced flash, the camera’s light sensitivity in the top image was much higher (ISO 4000 vs. ISO 100), which results in much more grain and less texture.
Without the shadows and highlights that the bounced flash provides, the top image appears flat and lacks depth.
A Canon 600EX-RT flash on a light stand, triggered by a VELLO freewave fusion pro transmitter, yielded a softer, more even light when bounced off the acrylic shooting table’s back wall.
Light reflects at the same angle that it strikes an object. For example, if I positioned my flash straight up, the light would hit the ceiling and, assuming the ceiling was flat, come straight back down.
If I position my flash head at 70 degrees, it will reflect off the wall at 70 degrees. Thus, for my studio setup, I positioned the flash head at negative seven degrees in order to bounce the light off the acrylic surface at the same angle and illuminate the business cards.
If I had another flash handy, I would have positioned it opposite of the key light and at a lower power so I could counter the light falloff in the bottom-right corner of the composition. The same effect could also be achieved with a handheld or mounted reflector.