2016 PhotoChallenge, Week 11: PORTRAITS – BOUNCE

As we advance in our portrait creating skills, new techniques will open up doors for us that we’ll later discover enhance even our most basic photographs. More often you’ll find yourself even planning ahead to include some of the tools you may jerry rig or even purchase.


This week’s theme for taking a portrait, of a new subject, includes the use of a light bounce. Now, there’s a few things I insist that you use in your setup. First, this shall be a two light source photograph.

Lisa Bettany (Natural light, whiteboard/umbrella bounce)//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

That doesn’t mean two lights, but two light sources. What I mean is that a single light source from one side of your subject (one of any four directions, preferably not in front.) Then we BOUNCE a reflection of that primary light source into the opposing side.

Flare! lens flare... :(//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Naturally your bounced light will be much less powerful and more soft. The cheapest tool to buy is a white piece of card board or foam board. Mere dollars at a craft store.

Johannes (darktable)//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

These two options should help you realize how affordable it will be to add a tool like this. I have accumulated several different sized CowboyStudio reflectors over the years. Take note of the sizes. For a decent balance of bounced light, it needs to be large enough. If you get one too small, you’ll be limited on how far you can be from your subject.

September Challenge, couples portrait//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Also, you’re either going to need an assistant to hold the bounce, or use a clamp system. I have several free standing light stands and a couple extra tripods. Then I just use woodworking clamps to hold it in place. But more often, I use an old, heavy based, boom mic stand. I hange my bounce from the boom part of the stand. Works great every time.

Jennifer and the shiny gate...//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Google+Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge.org or #photochallenge2016.
  • The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • The posted image should be a photograph, not a video.
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2016 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.
  • Extra Rule for the Portrait Challenges, you must shoot a new subject for each portrait.

About Steve Troletti

I'm a Location Scout, Editorial, Nature, Wildlife and Environmental Photographer based in Malibu, California. I specialize in Nature and Urban Nature photography including Infrared Landscapes. The Bulk of my work takes place in the Los Angeles, California area, Greater Montreal Region, Canada, Switzerland, France and Varese in Northern Italy. Ethical wildlife photography is the main priority and focus of my work. A minimum disturbance of the animals, their habitat and the environment is my top priority. This applies as much to total wilderness areas as it does to urban nature environments. Ongoing education of environmental issues and building awareness for the protection of wildlife and wilderness areas around the world is what drives me to document the beauty that surrounds us.