Introduction to Flash for Children and Family Images

Lesson 4/24 - Shoot: Flash & Light Meter Single Subject


Introduction to Flash for Children and Family Images


Lesson Info

Shoot: Flash & Light Meter Single Subject

We're gonna start in a Lightroom tethered session now. And to do that, I am going to go up to file, and then go down to tethered capture, then we choose start tethered capture. And before I do that, I like to turn the camera on. What we've got here, is we've got a USB cable going right into the laptop, actually it's coming into a little hub that I've got down here which is connected to my laptop. So this is a really simple way to do tethered shooting. You can see here that we've got children and family images as our session name for today. I've got a template, this is a developed template, don't worry about that so much. I'm naming them, starting with number one, and then they're gonna save to my desktop. All of that's good. And then I've got my keywords down here. And I like to keyword, I know this is a lighting class, but keywords really help in your tethered session, they help you organize later on. So we've got CreativeLive, children, family, class, Seattle and Washington. We hit O...

K. Now this bar comes up, and it's saying that we are connected to our Nikon D850, there's our shutter speed at a 250th of a second, there's our aperture at f71, and there's our ISO. And it's receiving all that data right from the camera. So if I change, on my camera, to f4, you'll see that right here, on this little toolbar, it also changes to f4. There's a little bit of a delay, but we're good to go for now. And then the next thing is, is there is a button here, and I could actually take pictures by clicking that button onscreen. Or I can take pictures by actually using the camera to take pictures. So, our light meter said f56, ISO and a 250th of a second. So I'm gonna set that here on the camera. Push my infos button there. We've got a 250th of a second dialed in there, create. F56, oh it said f56 and a half, didn't it? Thank you for reminding me. So, let's see, we got f63, f and then the next one up would be f8. So somewhere in there, I've gotta pick. I'm gonna pick f71 as our starting value. And then we've got ISO 200. All of that to say we are ready to take a picture. I've just turned on my wireless remote here, and I'm gonna test it to make sure that it fires. So Brendan, I'm gonna take a picture real quick, or just flash the flash, works. OK, I think we're ready. Picture number one. Nice (laughs). Nice smile. Let's see what it looks like inside of the software. And I'm gonna connect to my little thing here, so I can hang this off of my belt. There we go. Tap the letter f to go to full frame. Yeah. Close, right we're in the ballpark. Looks a little bit overexposed, maybe just ever so slightly overexposed on my laptop, which has a little bit darker screen than the one here in the studio, it looks just about right. But like I said earlier, again this is just a starting point, it's just a yeah do I like Brendan looking really bright, or do I want it to look a little bit darker? So let's just do a quick experiment here, 'cause this is a teaching how to use your flash class. If I wanted that to be a little bit darker, what could I do? I could go smaller aperture. So I'm at f71 now, I could drop that down to f8, I could go to f9, something like that. I could also reduce my ISO. Or I could reduce my flash power. I kind of like this aperture for now, so I would reduce the flash power, mentally I'm gonna do that. Pull this out here and that was at a quarter power, now I'm gonna drop that down to, let's say a quarter minus two thirds. And on this flash it says minus point seven. And now I moved it, so I'm gonna just do another quick little check to make sure that everything is still cool. One other point I forgot to make here, is there's a little sphere on the front of this, you can position that sphere inside, or outside. For portraiture, off of the key light, you want the sphere to be out. OK, sphere out. When would you use the sphere in? Well, you do that when you have multiple lights in your studio. And let's say I've got a rim light that would shine on the back of his shoulder, in that case, you go sphere in towards the rim light, to make sure that it's not like an f which would be a massive amount of light. You want it to maybe be stop more than the front light. So you use that for directional checks, and then you use the sphere out, it's supposed to kind of mimic the surface area of the face, to understand what the brightenss level should be there, for the face. Okay, shut off. I guess it automatically powers down. Bear with me as it fires back up, there we go. Alright, right here to do his chin. And now I did, I reduced the power down, and I moved it a little bit farther away, so now we're at f4 and a half. So that's like f47, or something like that. We'll see, f48 I think is what it is. But I didn't wanna make a whole lot of changes here in the camera, so I'm still at f and this says it's f4 and a half, so it's gonna be darker just by nature of reducing the power and moving it slightly farther back. Awesome. Oh yeah, I'm used to looking on the back of my camera, it's gonna show up here on the screen. Let's compare those two photo's. The one on the left is the most recent photo, where we reduced the power, and the one on the right, is the first image, where we set it exactly what the light meter said to do. I use the light meter, again, as a starting point, as a way to just get in the ballpark and then I make small modifications from there. Right on, so any other thoughts, questions around? Oh yeah, multiple. Go ahead and raise the microphone. I was just curious on the meter, why it says a third and a half, instead of just giving the aperture? Yeah, so, she's asking why does it say f4 and a half? In other cases it would say f4 and three tenths, or f4 and seven tenths. That's a good question, why not just say f61? Why not just say f8? Well, in digital, I know historically in digital, you had to be so accurate with your initial exposures, that a tenth of a stop really mattered, and so, you wanted to get as close to those third stop increments on your camera as you could. I think, and having just started using this specific light meter, there's probably a way that I can limit the delineations to thirds of a stop, but I've just been using these tenths of a stop for so many years, that I'm used to the tenth of a stop. And I like knowing am I (laughs) am I two tenths less than a third, or one tenth less than a third? In my mind, I'm OK with all of that. I know that was a terrible answer 'cause you wanted a better solution, but I would just get used to the tenths. Knowing that f4 and seven tenths, is like the same as almost two thirds to f56. Once you start working with the light meter, it's gonna take you a few weeks to a few months to kinda get the terminology down and understand what it means when it, well it just said f8, and then I moved this away and now it says f4. That doesn't make any sense. Well it does, just give it a little bit of time, it'll come to you. So I'll be using a light meter throughout the rest of the day. Oh, and I realized, I just remembered there's one other point I wanna make with the light meter. And that is you want to check your meter reading across the scene. Super important, especially when you're using one flash. Let's just say that I've got Brendan, his wife and their kids up here. And let's say I'm using one flash like this. Without even asking the question, your mind should be going what's the problem gonna be? Oh, well Brendan's gonna be way bright and then his kids and his wife are not gonna get a whole lot of light. So, one of the other purposes of the light meter, especially with family photography, is you can take a meter reading on this side, in the middle, and on the right, and that just helps you confirm that brightness overall is consistent. And if it isn't consistent, well then you need to change your lighting, or you need to bring in a reflector, or heaven forbid, another flash, which you can do. But today, I'm gonna show you how to do it with just one flash. So that consistency, there's that word again. Consistency from left to right, consistency from subject to subject. So if you're watching at home, or if you're here in the studio audience, I would write down that technique, that method. That works for pretty much all of the flash meters out there. Works for the Sekonics, it works for, oh boy, (laughs) I've forgotten the other brands. It's alright. The Sekonics, just about any flash meter, you gotta set your ISO first, set your shutter speed second, and then fire the flash at some power level. A lot of times people ask the question well what power level do I fire the flash? I don't know, just start somewhere. Start at a quarter power. That's a good starting point for most of this work by the way. And then you read the aperture and then you set that into the camera.

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 :(