30 Days of Photography Tips… Day 16

DAY #16!

TIP #16: When shooting with a flash, point your flash up and bounce it off the ceiling for softer fill light.

Using flash is a different kind of look and something new to learn. I am not an expert on flashes, studio lighting, or any kind of artificial light. Most of my photography is done with natural light. But I do use it now and then and would love to share what works for me. When I have a situation that needs some artificial light such as an external flash I prefer to point my flash up toward the ceiling whenever possible. When a flash is pointed at a white ceiling it will bounce off the ceiling and fill the room with light. If my flash was pointed directly at my subject I would get a more forced flat lit up look. I want the natural shadows on my subjects’ faces that are supposed to be there. I want it to look real and not over lit or flat.

Below are some pictures that I took of my boys in their halloween costumes this past month inside my home. I used an external flash when shooting these. I used Canon’s 580 exII with a small diffuser on the end. And it was pointed up toward the ceiling. My manual settings for both of the pictures below were:

ISO – 1000
aperture F 3.2
shutter – 1/160 second
used my 580 ex II flash
lens – 35mm 1.4


  1. Stephanie @ Blawsom on December 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Cori! How did you get the white background in these photos? Did you photoshop it in… or do you place the subjects against an already white background/flooring? I am curious because these are the types of photos I’d love to take myself… but it is amazing just how flawless the background is.

  2. cori on December 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    it’s a roll of white photo paper. try it. it’s great stuff. :)