Introduction to Flash for Children and Family Images

Lesson 13/24 - Group Lighting & Posing Overview


Introduction to Flash for Children and Family Images


Lesson Info

Group Lighting & Posing Overview

Well we are now at the point of the day where we photograph a big family and I brought a big one in. For today we've got, four kids and two parents. I wanted to show you how to pull this off well using a single flash in a studio type of environment. One of the things that we're talking about as a group here in the studio audience was a lot of this lighting equipment is big. The flashes are small which is great but the truth is is that these reflectors, and these umbrellas are very big and they need to be big when you're using one flash. When you have a lot of flashes, two, three or four in the foreground, you can get away with smaller individual lighting gear but because this class is all about using that one well we have to go big. So, some considerations I need you to think through. Do you actually have the space in your house to fit this six foot diameter umbrella? Some of you are saying yes, others of you are saying no. I will tell you this, with the ceiling heights in my house, on...

my second story of my house, my ceiling heights are only eight feet high and that doesn't give me hardly any room or any space to get this umbrella up high. Today, for photographing this family, I'm gonna have to move this umbrella up pretty high into the air and I would not be able to do that, on my second floor of my house. On the first floor of my house I do have a vaulted ceiling so I could pull it off there in my living room but you have to ask yourself, do you know, do you wanna be pulling your couches away and your TVs away to do portraiture inside of your living room. Another possibility is a garage. In my garage, my garage is about 12 feet high so I could pull something like this off there but you need a lot of space in your room to be able to position a big umbrella. Today for these shots, I'll be primarily focused on using this one. And at break everyone here in the studio audience went out an bought their own big umbrella. I should've given you all my affiliate code you know, you could've bought it on my affiliate codes or something but everyone bought 'em because they saw how great they are. How, what a wonderful look overall they produce. So this one here is made by a company called Impact and then if you go onto all the internet shopping sites or even your local camera store, they will have these two here and one of the guys, Brandon, from the earlier session, you guys saw him up here on stage, he'd just bought it few minutes ago, 79 bucks, 79 bucks so that's what we're into here today. 79 bucks for this and then we'll be using a reflector like this. Let me talk about that real briefly. This is a collapsible backdrop is technically what it's called. It's a collapsible backdrop, you can find these in all different types of colors, shapes and sizes. This is approximately 4 feet wide by six feet tall. I really recommend getting one at least that size, potentially even larger for your big family photography. You just need as much surface area as you can possibly muster. They are collapsible and since this is kind of an introductory class, I just wanna show you how this works. This little segment right here will come in great use, come to great use for you all in the future when you're trying to collapse this. The key is, one thumb up, one thumb down like this and then you twist the thumb that's up, you push, twist it down and you twist the other one up. Just squeeze it together and it goes like that. Okay, so if you can do that reliably, you will not embarrass yourself in front of friends, family and clients and then when you undo it just be careful that it's away from your face so it doesn't spring out and hit you. Not that that's ever happened to me before. And give you a bloody nose alright. How am I attaching it? I'll bring this down so it's closer to my face so we can all see it on screen. What I've got here is a little clamp and this clamp you can also buy online. You can also buy your camera store. It's a really effective little tool. It's fundamentally, it's an umbrella bracket and then on top of the umbrella bracket it has this little, this little clamp right there and that clamp is designed so that it can hold up a reflector. Just like that, cool. Today, I will actually probably be shooting with this reflector sideways rather than straight up and down. I'll shoot with it sideways just so it reflects kind of light on a broader swathe across the family but just for set, moving around the set for now I'm gonna move it up so it's kinda out of my way, I'll go vertical. It's great. And one more, one more point that I wanna make is that I am still using a single flash. So as we go to the big family, you can do it again because a single flash is spreading out into there. So what technology, or what technique should you be using? Definitely put some type of diffusion dome on the flash so that the light spreads all around on the scene, on the inner side of this and then that will shine on the scene evenly and to check it, a lot of times again, I will just stand back. I'll push my flash test button and I'm just looking around, trying to see if it's too close to the background or too far away that light's spilling outside of the umbrella but it looks pretty good for now.

Class Description

When capturing images of families and children, you preserve memories for generations. Learning how to use flash opens up so many options, as you now longer have to be constrained by weather or location. Photographer Mike Hagen will help you incorporate flash into this genre of photography to create family heirloom images that also capture a moment in time.

In this class, Mike teaches you how to:

  • Create looks that wouldn’t be possible in natural light
  • Use your flash to freeze action
  • Use reflectors, modifiers and other lighting equipment to enhance your flash

Learn to harness the power of flash photography to make their memories last a lifetime. Give clients those special images by using flash photography to preserve their special moments.


Jayne Fletcher

Amazing class! Lots of information


Love the natural way Mike has to explain and to work on the studio. Plenty of tips and clear knowledge transfer for me that I manage quite well natural light but that I still mess with the on-camera flash.

Robert Spencer

The class seems great, but my connection - even at 20MB still give me 20 seconds and then butts out for a minute :(