Soften Direct Flash

Get rid of the Coal Miner look

On-camera flash accessory flash light needs to be softened if you are shooting portraits indoors. Unaltered flash creates harsh, unflattering light and deep shadows which will make even the most beautiful subject look awful.

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I prefer modifying the light to emulate a light bulb, with light bouncing around all over the room. This results in flattering single-source light.

To get this effect, I use the Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce, an inexpensive (under $20) translucent white plastic cube-like accessory that snaps on to the front of most popular flash units. It works with flash units that have swivel or tilt heads.

Flattering light: Sto-Fen Omni Bounce modifies light produced by my Nikon SB600 flash to produce flattering modeling on this girl at her Bat Mitzvah. Photo © Saskia Marina

With an Omni-Bounce on my flash, I tilt the flash head 45-degrees, and shoot away. Not only does the bare-bulb effect flatter the subject, but it also adds more natural-looking background light. (Keep in mind you will need to shoot at a slightly larger aperture to compensate for the light loss caused by adding the Omni-Bounce.

I appreciate the bare-bulb look, and my clients love the results!

Saskia Marina is a freelance event and portrait photographer based in Central New Jersey. You can visit her web site at


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