Shoot: Flash with Mom & Children


Introduction to Flash for Children and Family Images


Lesson Info

Shoot: Flash with Mom & Children

I think we're ready to bring the family forward, huh? So let's welcome, the Lutke family. Did I say that correctly? (clapping) Come on forward. There's a boom camera operator here and they're walking into the boom and they're all look at it right now, so. Welcome you all. Hi. Come on over, stand by me, over here. Actually, why don't you stand up on this black line, right there. And mom, we're gonna have to watch him and make sure he doesn't get too close to that backdrop cause he can actually, if he steps on that it can kind of pull that over on us, so. I'm countin' on you, yeah, she's the gatekeeper. So look at this fine family. There's a father too, and he's on his way, he'll be here soon. But for now we'll kind get some of the preliminary stuff out of the way and we'll do some posing with this scenario. You notice the background, we've got this great background and we're gonna use basically, we're gonna have to use all of that space because we've got more people, you need more space...

. This is a 10 foot wide background, it's 10 by 12 something like that, Typically when we're posing people, you pose around single person, or you pose around a single element in a frame. And so a lot of times maybe we'll take, maybe the oldest girl, the youngest kid, or something like that and we'll pose around that. Or we'll pose around a stool or a bench or a table, so for this, I'm thinking we pose around a stool. Don't you think that's a good idea? We'll pose around a stool. So, we'll start there, and typically what I do is I have somebody sit on the stool So let's see, why don't we have, actually, why don't we have you sit on the stool? And then we have these things called apple boxes, and we use the apple boxes to get all the heads of the people, turn it out like this, about the same height. So I'm gonna have you stand on this apple box right there. Nice. And now I'm looking at her and I'm thinking yeah, oh yeah, he says "Oh yeah I want up there!" Oh, see he found some tape on there, excellent I'm gonna grab the other apple boxes, they are hidden behind in my secret little cubby shoulda pulled them out earlier. Will you grab this for me and bring it over? (box slides against floor) Nice. It is kind of heavy isn't it? Box Box, he says. So we're gonna have you step on that, like that. You can come up there too. We actually may have mama hold brother. And when you're posing groups and families, most people are very uncomfortable getting close and so you have to really encourage them to come in and actually touch. So what I want you to do, is I want you to come in real close here, and take your foot and put it onto this stool, right there, like that, good. And then take your hand behind her and just set it right like that, nice, fantastic! And you, I want your hips touching. Perfect! What I'm looking for a lot of times, is I'm looking for diagonals. I'm trying to create triangles and diamonds, and as I'm looking at it here, their heads are approximately the same height, so I may actually lower that apple box down a little bit so she comes down so we get a little bit more dynamic tension in there. Okay, can I pick you up? Box That is a box. I'm gonna hand you to mama. Here you go. Okay so for you, I'm gonna have you come back here and stand right behind. And what we're gonna try to do, is we're gonna position like, your head on this side, and his head over here, but I don't want you, I don't want you like, way back. And the reason I don't want you like, way back, is cause the light will fall off so you'll go really dark. So you're gonna end up leaning forward, if you can handle it. You wanna let him run around a second while we're setting up some lights? Okay. Here, oh he likes that box. You wanna stand on that one for a second? Who knows, that may end up being a good photo. There we go. Box he says. Alright. So mom, I'm gonna have you (crying) Uh oh. Kids and boxes. Give it a big old kiss. (crying) Oh, did we get a little cut? Yeah. (crying) Alright, we'll shoot kids for now. Can we grab a quick little band aid if we have one? (crying) Alright, yeah cool. (crying So, we'll do a quick little morph, lesson learned. Alright, girls, you look fantastic. So, for you, I'm gonna actually rotate this down, okay? So go ahead and step off And we'll go like that, right there, and just step up. So what I'm doing is I'm trying to get a little bit of angle between the kids. Good, we'll start there. And really you want more triangle, but we'll keep working on it in a second. Mmm hmm. So we set up this right there, and in a second when I add in that other reflector, you'll see that, you guys won't be able to see what's going on, so I'm gonna build this exposure kind of step by step. Start my tethered, tethered photo, go into Lightroom, start the tethering sequence, turn on my camera, and go file, tethered capture, start tethered capture, and hit okay. Right on. Now I am shooting kids and family, so a lot more people, so I'm gonna be more like F8 to F11 overall, and I'm currently at ISO 250, F8, F11. We're just gonna take a quick little test shot and see where we're at. So girls, look right here at the camera, (click) Nice. You probably have a smile in ya, huh? Alright. We'll pull that smile out of you in just a minute. Let's look here on the computer, and I want you guys to be able to see what's happening as well. Turn off my filter. Go here to the family shot. Oh yeah. That's great. And you are gonna get that big smile going okay? Alright. So that's a pretty good exposure overall, I'm pretty happy with that. But, you're so tall, that I'm gonna have you lowered down a little bit, and I'm gonna do that by reducing, or taking out this box. So go ahead and step on the floor. And let's just see what it looks like with you just standing there. Uh huh, I like it. Okay, so go over like this. Go ahead and turn your hip in a little bit. Perfect. And you look fantastic, of course. You're like, of course I do, I'm fabulous. And for you, I'm gonna have you do just like that. A little bend in the arm. Cool. Okay, you guys ready for another shot? Mmm hmm they say. You guy do such a good job. Have you done this before? Are you professionals? Okay You guys are so good at this. And I'm just now shooting kind of next to this big old umbrella. Here we go, one, two, three. (click) Nice smiles, fantastic! (click) Oh man, flattery gets me everywhere, every time. Flatter the girls. Let's look at those photos on the computer. Alrighty, come on in. Oh you know what, I think, did we lose the tethered connection? I think we lost the tethered connection. Bear with me one second. And mom, if you wanna come back on set, we're cool. If you think he's okay. We're gonna re-connect here. So those photos, actually before you get on I wanna take the photos of your girls. (mumbles) Alright, here we go. Alright girls, that was such a great photo. I wanna make sure that we capture it. Okay. (laughing) Nice, great smile! Hopefully that one comes in. Please work for me. Yep, we got it. Yeah. Oh fantastic. Now everyone who bought one of these giant umbrellas is pleased with their purchase. Cause look at that! It was just one simple umbrella, got this great photo of the three girls. Excellent. Now it's time to bring in mom. Okay so what I'd like you to do, you think he'll be able to stay in your arms? Okay So what I would like you to do is just to come in real close. And just to kind of push your body up against the girls like this. And the idea is we're kind of on the same plane of focus. And you can pick a side, your head goes either here, and his head here, or visa versa. Great. Oh yeah, and what's his name again? Vander, okay Vander. Vander, hi Vander. Can you give me a smile Vander? Yeah (click) Hey Vander, can you look at me? Yeah, can you look at me? Nice, the claw. (click) Alright, cool, so if you could, so actually this is a good learning opportunity. I wanna show how Vander's face is kind of hidden in the shadows. And now you start to see some of the struggles that we have as photographers when dealing with larger groups. So I think what we'll do, if we switch you and Vander, you put Vander on your other hip, then Vander's kind of in the light, and then you can move your head forward as necessary. (child yelling) Hey Vander. Hey Vander, do you wanna push this button? Check this out. Can you push that? Yeah, push that button, bing! Awesome! There's a smile. That's what I like to see! Oh, great buddy! Okay, let's take a photo of ya'll. Look right here at the camera. (click) Nice, good job Vander! Hey, can you give me a big smile? (click) Oh, nice. Hey Vander can you sit up tall? Can you sit up nice and tall? (click) Oh yeah! As I was kinda going through this, and we hurt Vander's toe earlier, I forgot to raise the height to my flash, I need to do that. A lot of stuff to think about as a photographer. Now, this will also help prevent the shadow from hitting Vander, or prevent Vander from being hidden in the shadow. Okay. Whoa Whoa Alright come way forward mom, squeeze into those girls, Can you lean forward just a slightly, there we go. Nice, hey Vander! (click) Hey buddy, can you sit up tall? Whoa Whoa, there we go. Look over here buddy, look right here. Nice, (click) nice. (click) Cool. So, what I'm gonna have you do mama, is move that way like, 2 inches. Too much, that was like, 3. There we go, perfect! Alright, here we go. Let's see, what other cool tricks, sometimes we use things on the camera, sometimes we make funny faces. I have this really silly thing I do, I'm gonna try it and I'm gonna really embarrass myself in front of the whole wide world, but we're gonna see how this goes. Hey, Vander (cheek flapping) (laughing) (click) Hey Vander (cheek flapping) (laughing) He's laughing, that's what I like to see! Hey Vander, can you lean forward? (cheek flapping) (laughing) There we go, oh take the shot! Yes, yes, oh yeah! (cheek flapping) (laughing) (click) Oh I just gave away one of my turkey tricks (laughing) I love it, I'm blushing! Yeah I love it. Alright, let's bring in the reflector to fill in the shadows a little bit. Vander, you're doing a great job. So um, I'm letting you all in in a family secret of mine, and I'm going where I didn't plan to go mentally, but, when my kids were young, to get them to laugh I would do that. And we called it "cheekies" So I would do cheekies with them, and they would just giggle, and so since then I've done cheekies with a lot of my portrait sessions (laughing) Whoa. Alright, we'll shoot this then we'll bring in Dad, after we take this shot. I think Vander found Dad. Or maybe we just bring in Dad. Or is he walking out? Okay, hey Vander. What do you think mom, should we wrangle him? Wanna go see mama? Dada He's coming. Dada (cheek flapping) (crying) There we go Dada dada dada dada Who's that Dada (laughing) Here we go. You responded well to this earlier, do you wanna push that button again? You wanna make the flash go fire? Yeah, you wanna push it? Push that button. Boing! (laughing) Nice! Alright, there's some laughter. I love it. Alright Vander, are you ready? Okay, squeeze in close mom. Alright, hey Vander. (cheek flapping) (laughing) There it is! (click) There it is! (click) Everybody's laughin'! (laughing) He's like, oh yeah. Hey Vander, look over here! Nice! Okay, oh I'm so happy. That's great, we're gonna do one more. Dada Oh one more (cheek flapping) (laughing) I wonder how long that's gonna work today Hey mama you do it, right? (laughing) (cheek flapping) (laughing) (click) (laughing) One more, I just realized, and this will be a good teaching moment in a minute, I changed my shutter speed and part of the frame became dark did you guys notice that? The bottom part got real dark. It's cause I went up to a 320th of a second. I bumped it and that goes to that thing I was talking about earlier, about shutter sync.

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 :(