Want an inexpensive way to reflect and direct the light from your flash or speedlight? Here’s some easy ways of doing just that!
Why should you reflect light from your flash or speedlight?
Illuminating your subject with a flash or speedlight aiming directly at it can look flat and harsh. Furthermore, if photographing people, it can produce “red eye.” The camera flash can reflect off their retina and appear red in the photograph.
Using reflected light
Reflected light can look more pleasing and natural. One way of doing this is to aim your flash or speedlight away from the subject. That’s right, not directly at them. Instead, we can achieve some better light by aiming the flash at a white ceiling or white wall. This will bounce the light at the subject instead.
Another way is to aim the flash into a reflector. This often has the bonus of illuminating the subject with both the reflector as well as bounced light from the ceiling or wall.
For several years, I have used a light modifier called a Rogue Flashbender Reflector to reflect light from my flash. As a bonus, I can also use this to direct the light. I can bend this back or forward as necessary to determine how much light went forward or to the side. You simply bend it and it stays in that position. This setup gives me instant flexibility. When photographing people, it can also create catchlights in the eyes in almost any configuration, particularly when used with a flash bracket.
I sometimes use an inexpensive Stroboframe Quick Flip 350 Flash Bracket along with the Rogue Flashbender Reflector. This creates an off-camera flash. After all, using a flash can be a little harsh when mounted on the camera. This gets the flash off the camera and creates an even more pleasing reflected light. It is a little clumsy and heavy to hold, though.
I used the combination of the Stroboframe and Rogue Reflector when I was doing event photography for a high-profile fundraiser for Exceptional Children’s Foundation at Skirball Cultural Center. The two in tandem produced good, professional results. Best of all, both are easy to use and are inexpensive. Remember to use the Inverse Square Law of Light when photographing to illuminate everyone evenly.
You can use the Rogue Flashbender Reflector, with or without the flash bracket, for parties, events, birthdays, gatherings, protests, and photojournalism with good results. And don’t forget that you can also direct the light by bending it to where you want easily and quickly!
Bonus: Batch-processing 100 of these photos in five minutes
I processed 100 of these event photography photos in five minutes. Learn how I did this.
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BOOKS AND PRINTS:
Head on over to the Ken Lee Photography website to purchase books or look at night photography and long exposure prints and more. My books are available there and Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, Booktopia, Books A Million, IBS, and Aladin. If you enjoy the book, please leave a nice review, thanks!
NIGHTAXIANS VIDEO YOUTUBE PODCAST:
Night photographers Tim Little, Mike Cooper and I all use Pentax gear. We discuss this, gear, adventures, light painting, lenses, night photography, creativity, and more in this ongoing YouTube podcast. Subscribe and watch to the Nightaxians today!
Ken Lee Photography Facebook Page (poke your head in, say hi, and “like” the page if you would, uh, like)
Behind the Shot video podcast – interview February 2020
How We Got the Shots: Five Photographers, Five Stories – Night Photo Summit 2022
Ken Lee’s Abandoned Trains Planes and Automobiles with Tim Little of Cape Nights Photography
Conversation about night photography and my book with Lance Keimig of National Park At Night
A Photographer Captures Haunting Nighttime Images of Abandoned Buildings, Planes, and Cars in the American Southwest – Business Insider by Erin McDowell
A Photographer Explores Southern California’s Desert Ruins – Los Angeles Magazine article by Chris Nichols