Lighting Techniques

Simple bounce flash diffuser

Written by Gail Bjork

Attaching a 3×5 inch white card to a built-in, pop-up flash will diffuse the light and help eliminate strong shadows on a subject and the wall behind it.

Bounce card The built-in flash on a compact digital camera is handy, but it can cast harsh shadows on a subject and on the wall behind it. The flash can also cause a subject to become over exposed.

To eliminate these problems, photographers use a variety of techniques and accessories such as an external flash that can be raised to bounce the flash off of a ceiling. They also use a diffuser, built into the flash unit or purchased separately as an accessory.

If your camera has a pop-up flash, a simple 3×5″ white card can be used to bounce and diffuse the light, resulting in a more natural, pleasing photo. It can even help prevent red-eye.

It’s important that the card that is used is pure white. A card with even a slightly tinted color will result in an unnatural hue on the subject.

In the illustration, the card is attached to the camera just under the flash and bent upward at a 45 degree angle.

Photo by James Jordan

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.