Tyler’s Tips Episode 16: The Bounce


Welcome to Tyler’s Tips. Today I’m gonna be talking about the bounce.

Okay, so what is the bounce? What I’m talking about bouncing light off of things. It’s one of the best and easiest ways to manipulate the light. So, this is gonna be a quick tip, but here’s the simplest form of the bounce, is we bounce light in, and flatten out the image.

If you see me looking down, I’m looking at the little monitor so I can sort of see what I’m doing here. So see how that completely erases the shadow on that side or largely erases it? It really flattens out the light on my face and see how it changes the whole character of the look of my face? And there we go, we have shadows again.

There you go, the bounce, this is what we use in the studio all the time, simple bounce card. This is just a piece of foam core. When we’re out on location, we use the same concept we use reflectors and we bounce light all the time, but one of the best ways you can use the bounce is opportunistically.

It took me a while to find a photo, I had to look around quite a bit that had a really strong example of bounced light where the bounce itself was also in the photo. So it’s not my favorite photo in the whole wide world, but here’s a shot that I did while I was on a commercial job recently, and the purpose of this photo was to document a high school student in the architectural context. So I was hired by the architectural firm telling this story of the architecture, but they built this big outside awning and they wanted to show how the kids interact there and this kid turned and gave me a really cheesy smile, which is very endearing and I love it, but the main reason I wanna show you guys this photo is that the only reason in my opinion that this really works, it would be so flat if it weren’t for that powerful intense bouncing light off of that wall. It really lights up his face in kind of an interesting way, otherwise he’d just be sort of backlit a little bit in the shade and it would be super duper flat light, and it wouldn’t be as interesting an image, but in this case because of the way the bounce is working in that light, it kinda makes it more interesting.

So anyways, I shot this photo very specifically expecting to benefit from that bounce when I took the photo, and I took a bunch of different photos of different kids, kinda using that bounce and this one, the bounce itself is in the frame, so that’s why I wanted to show it to you guys, ’cause it really shows how it is. But you can utilize that technique, and most of the time when I utilize that technique, I don’t have the thing in the photo that the light is bouncing off of. Typically it’s out of frame. So it’s harder to show photos where that happened, where it really shows it, but anyways, there’s an example for you. When you’re out there shooting, look for opportunities where you can use bounced light because it’s often really, really good, and can be very interesting in a photo. Or if you need to bring your own bounce. That can really help too.

So there you go, I hope that that was a useful little tip, if you have any ideas or challenges that you’d like to hear me talk about with Tyler’s Tips, shoot me an email and I’ll work it into a future episode, thank you for your time, and I look forward to the next one.