Picture of Fifty cent flash bounce
Anyone who has taken pictures indoors is familiar with the problems of using a flash: harsh shadows, overlit subjects and underlit backgrounds. Professional photographers have a number of ways of dealing with this, but one of the simplest is bouncing the flash off the ceiling. Any external flash unit has a rotating head that lets you point it up at the ceiling. The ceiling (provided it is low enough and white enough) reflects and diffuses the light, making for much nicer pictures. Ken Rockwell talks about it using an inexpensive SB-400 in this article. This is different than just diffusing the flash; diffusing the flash makes the light less harsh, whereas bouncing the flash diffuses it, but also changes the apparent location of the source.

What if you don't have an external flash? What if, like me, you blew all your money buying the cheapest DSLR you could get and so, for the time being at least, you're stuck with your on-camera flash? Well, that's what the Lightscoop is for. Basically, it's a mirror that clips in front of your flash and redirects the light up to the ceiling. (The Lightscoop site has some great before and after shots, so it's worth a visit).

Well, what if you're really cheap, like me, and don't feel like paying $35 for a mirror? That's where this instructable comes in.
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LDW6 years ago
Two alternatives. i) Use your hand (never gets left behind!) carefully to bounce the light up to the ceiling. It does work, actually. ii) Tape a piece of tracing paper over the flash. It acts as a diffuser. I like yours for the full-fat version though!
A. Square (author)  LDW6 years ago
A hand works nicely, as does a piece of a manila file folder (which has more coverage). Obviously, though, they're not going to reflect as much light as a mirror. The tracing paper works nicely to diffuse the light, but it doesn't change the apparent direction like using a mirror does - this works especially nicely if you turn the camera sideways and bounce off a wall. The absolute best way I've found to bounce the internal flash is simply to use an elastic band to attach the mirror directly to the supports of the flash. However, that has one (relatively minor) disadvantage compared to the "full-fat" version: you have to take the mirror off if you want to put the flash back down. This version has the advantage that it can stay in place as you pop-up and retract the flash, so if you're switching a lot between flash and non-flash photos it can be nice.