If you’re a wedding and portrait photographer, chances are you know what foofing is. It’s a funny little phrase coined by the recognized godfather of wedding photo journalism Denis Reggie. Foofing is when, instead of pointing a flash directly at your subject, you bounce it off some reflective surface, usually a wall or ceiling. If your flash setting is powerful enough, Denis claims you can foof light off a wall as far as 70 ft. away and still illuminate your subject beautifully. He says he’ll never point a flash at a living thing again.
So, I’m editing this beautiful wedding at the Rosewood Mayakoba Resort (well, I’m editing at my home office, the wedding was shot in Mexico by our wedding and personal films division. I WISH I could be editing in the Mexican Riviera right now). Anyway, I digress. I’m going through the footage looking for a flash-fire so I can sync the two camera angles I’m editing. I then come to this shot you see below. The bride and groom have their back to us in the foreground. Right smack dab in the middle of the frame you can see the photographer. This is when I discover something I don’t think has EVER been captured on film or video. A foof, frozen in time. It was kind of like seeing a giant squid. You know they exist. You can see evidence of their being. But no one ever sees one in person. Foofing is like that. You know it exists, but until now, you’ve never actually seen it.
The image below is a before and after shot. They are individual video frames from just before the flash is fired, and directly at the time the flash goes off. The top is before. As you can see, the reception area is rather dark. The shot below is the magical moment. You can see the beam of light shooting out from the flash like a Bat Signal. The ceiling reflects the light and practically the entire area is illuminated. Where you can see the effects most noticeably are the two people standing to the far right of the frame, and the table to the far left. Compare the lighting on those areas in the before and after. It’s really quite fascinating what one little flash can do.
Many thanks to my friends at LaCour for helping me out with this article. They were the photographers at the wedding (thanks for the referral guys) and they were kind enough to supply me with the photo below. It’s not the exact photo that this foof caught, but it’s done the same way.