Alternative viewpoint

Recently I have been doing a lot of shoots with flash both Canon Speedlites and Elinchrom studio lights. Just last week I had a call from fellow photographer Ross Holkham asking if I would like to join him for a shoot. Not being one to turn down the chance to shoot, and actually thinking that shooting alongside another photographer can be a great way to learn and also experiment with some different approaches. I was keen to try out my recently acquired California Sunbounce Mini reflector, and also I needed shoot some video for an upcoming presentation.

Our model for the afternoon was Leela, and what an afternoon it turned out to be. I’ve shot Leela in the same location in December it was -3 degrees celsius and the whole shoot was done with a couple of Speedlites, but for the afternoon this time we had the most awesome sunlight, bright orangey almost tungsten coloured light. The big 4-foot x 3 foot sunbounce worked wonders with a silver surface on it, throwing light back in just where we wanted to put it, dark shadowy corners were filled with warm light.

Model light only by natural spring sunshine

It was while I was holding the reflector and Ross was shooting Leela on a log that I saw this picture above. From my angle behind the reflector I waited for Ross to pause and took three shots of this angle, all look great. Leela is facing in to the setting sun, and the Sunbounce is almost behind her filling in the colour in her hair and jacket.

In the images below the wooden side of the building is in total shade, using the sunbounce from a fair distance away from the shade we could manipulate the sun and bounce some pretty light in to the shade to light Leela.

Moving out in to the sun and the trees, I decided that a shot in to the light would work, and with Leela positioned in among some tree branches, it was simple to put some light back in to her face. Actually moving the reflector in close and switching to the white side was more effective here.

By now the sun was dropping and getting much more organge so a quick change of coat and boots for Leela and a move to a different bit of tree.

One other benefit of the sunbounce is that the ‘recharge’ time is instantaneous so you can use continuous high speed shooting to catch not just one picture, but a whole range of pictures as the model moves and changes small details of the pose.

About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag