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Now that I have successfully shot some home interiors, I now have an assignment to shoot a showroom! It looks like a typical house; kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc.

The only difference is there's no white ceiling where I can bounce my off-camera speedlight. The good news is, unlike most real homes, the showroom has fully working light bulbs.

My lighting equipment is limited to 2 naked speedlights (I don't have umbrellas/softboxes). Should I just forget about it and go the multiple exposure route?

  • Put the speedlights on stands and zoom them out. – dpollitt May 12 '15 at 12:35
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If the place has no ceiling, bring your own.

  • White cardboard is an obvious cheap one.
  • Styrofoam is lightweight and holds its shape better than cardboard (depending on the thickness of your cardboard.
  • Any "professional" reflector will make you look more professional, but at a cost. For some clients it could be bad to show up with some cardboard. "Are you charging us for using the cardboard you took from our garbage?"

To hold it in place, either use a stand or yourself. This largely depends how you want to bounce the light. The cone of light from your flash increases in diameter, which means you need a larger reflect the higher you want to hold it.

Speaking of which: to determine the size of the reflector, take a few test shots at home in your usual setup but photograph a mirror. This way you can see the area on the ceiling that the flash bounces off. Depending on the zoom setting and the ceiling height you will find the area to be rather large (heck, that's the whole point of it and what makes the images look so good) You will most likely not be able to get all of this with your smaller reflector.

The result will not be the same as using the ceiling, but depending on the reflector you can probably still achieve good results with it.


Prepare as much as possible at home, but most importantly: communicate the situation with your client. They are not photographers. They do not know that a white ceiling is important for your work. They want nice looking images and I see no reason why they would not want to help you. Maybe they have some equipment for their showrooms to hold up the reflector.

Depending on the time schedule and deadline, offer to take a limited set of images for a smaller price beforehand. this allows you to make yourself familiar with the situation and they don't have to go all-in on somebody who has not too much experience with this. If they like the images, do the rest. This also gives you and them time to think about the images of the first session and do things differently in the second session. It's not like you have one huge chunk of images and then they are like "...oh, you know what would be cool..."

  • For reflectors: I plan to experiment with some cheap surplus "space blanket" material to make expansive reflectors without a high price tag. Have not compared it with the genuine lumiquest yet. – JDługosz May 12 '15 at 7:37
  • I just shoot the ceiling with the zoom back to see how the flash is aimed. Flashs are on their own stands, not tied to the camera. – JDługosz May 12 '15 at 7:41
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If the number of shots you're doing is limited, I'd use multiple exposures, since you can pop flash into any corners and later blend areas from different exposures into a nice result. Use a tripod and make use of the ambient light as much as possible.

You can bounce flash off the walls of course, but that may not appear natural.

Or you can take along a reflector, or buy some white foam board, and bounce off that, assuming you have enough hands and can hold the reflector high enough!

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If you're a Lightroom user, the latest version (6) of Lightroom now supports HDR merging of multiple exposures into a single HDR DNG. This is awesome for property shoots. I've shot a few interiors over the past weekend, and the results from LR are great, really natural looking.

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Why not just make your own DIY flash modifier? The simplest is a 3x5 index card rubber banded to the back of the flash. You won't get 100% of the flash on the subject, but its better than nothing. Google "DIY flash modifier' to get tons of good results.

Like this, and this, and this as well.

  • Right idea, but way too small. Even a Lumiquest "big bounce" will only give light from one direction and not reproduce the ceiling bounce. – JDługosz May 12 '15 at 7:39

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