10 May 2011

Zeh Bounce hits the UK in the April Edition of Digital Photo Magazine

April 2011
With Digital Photo Magazine's (UK) recent article on How to use your Flash, I am happy to see the popularity of the Zeh Bounce grow. They cover some different techniques, and they feature the Zeh Bounce in their section about using a bounce for lighting. It has also had a surge in places like Europe, especially Norway, which I guess does well due to many people living in smaller spaces. I am guessing more what in America would be considered apartment or condo style living accommodations. In smaller spaces such as an apartment or a house, this can be an ideal piece of lighting equipment.
"How to use Flash" article with Zeh Bounce. (Click image to read.)

 Why to use something like a Zeh Flash Bounce? Some of the best lighting I can get is with the camera's pop up flash. Not to say this is any sort of replacement for a studio strobe kit and gobos and such. However, where this comes into a great situation is in smaller environments. The Zeh Bounce is well geared to being used for things like family shots at family gatherings, or hanging out with friends on the weekend. This is where I found the bounce was great to have.  

Click to see larger image
When hanging with friends I like to bring my camera, but I am not always wanting to carry a ton of gear. I usually grab one lens,  my camera body and that's it. I will grab and slip the bounce into my back pocket, and I am off.  When I get to a friend's house,  I can easily shoot really nice lit images. I was at a small party with some friends down from Seattle, that had brought their daughter with them. She is so adorable I had to get shots of her. And as children do, she was running around and wondering the house, and I would occasionally grab a shot of her.  These shots in the hallway were completely lit with my pop-up flash and a Zeh bounce. The hallway was dark with all the lights off,  but my flash filled the area. The flash lighting cast all around her, giving a nice even lighting.  Now if I shot her with direct flash she would have been blown out. The great thing is these images are as they were shot, no post production work, such a exposure adjustments or color enhancing. They are as they came out of the camera.
all images©A. Zeh 2011 
I also find I like the image quality much better when the subject is surrounded by the light rather than direct lighting due to the more natural feel.  There is always a place for directly lighting your subject when you want to shape your subject or add a special drama, but sometimes you want a nice even lighting, and the bounce can achieve this. As with everything though, your environment will dictate what you need to light your subject matter with. However, if I know I am headed to someone's house to hang, I know in most indoor conditions, I can use my bounce to get a great shot. Unless they live in a mansion with 20 ft ceilings (but then I will try bouncing the light off a wall rather than a ceiling).    

Now if you are in a pinch you don't have a Zeh Bounce, you can grab a paper plate or a piece of paper to achieve the same effect. However, the reason to have the bounce was to have both hands free to control the camera quickly. Rather than holding a piece of paper in front of the flash, hoping I am directing the light ok while still adjusting the camera for the final shot. When you see a shot and only have a moment take it, the attached bounce makes for a quick photo. You have much less time involved in composing those candid shots.

Digital Photo Article (Click image to read)
So for a quick and inexpensive lighting solution, which allows you to forgo the extra pound of external flash, or if you just don't have $200-$500 to drop on an external flash, this might be a nice solution.  The Zeh Bounce, for $10 is a cheap solution. I have also tried translucent diffusers for the pop-up flash, but the seem to still let too much light through and give a bit of harsh light, which doesn't have a natural feel. They definitely have a place but bounce light has some of the most natural feel. So if you are shooting indoors in an environment like a home, think about bouncing your light. The Zeh Bounce available for Canon, Nikon and Sony. Also if you have never checked out the UK's Digital Photo Magazine, it's on of my favorite Photo magazines with great How to's for photography and Photoshop, and gear reviews. You can often find it a Barnes and Noble or save $3 and find it at your local Costco.

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