Tonight I am going to go over one of the easy things that can be done with most flashes. Bouncing them. Stop don’t throw your flash on the ground. I am talking about the light off of something else then onto the subject. I slightly discussed this in my first Flash post some months ago. That was dealing with the on camera flash though. For this I used a hot shoe flash, a Sony HVL-F56AM to be precise.
So to bounce the flash off of the ceiling you just tilt the head to face the ceiling. It can either be done connected to the hotshoe or not and triggered remotely.
Above we have Grumpy Bear with the flash pointed directly at him. The light looks harsh nearly over bright, detail has been lost in his fur, the high points (cheeks and snout in his case) lost color, and the shadow behind him is prominent.
Again I have taken a picture of Grumpy Bear. This time with the flash pointing nearing straight up at the ceiling. The scene is more evenly lit albeit a bit darker. His fur detail is easily visible, the shadows are more naturally where one would see them during the day (under his chin mainly), the high points aren’t overly bright, and he appears closer to the color that he is.
Neither of these pictures to me is perfect, I was going straight out of the camera and did not adjust them at all. I am sure that if I did I could clear up some of the faults of each. I am a firm believer in getting it right in camera. It would be easier and look better to just brighten up the second image than to darken the highlights. Tilt or ceiling bounce is not hard and with practice it is easy.