Introduction to Flash for Children and Family Images

 

Lesson Info

Shoot: With One Child

We're now at the point of the day where we've learned about all of the techy stuff and all of the theory. And now (chuckles) it's time to go into reality and produce some photos. So, we're going to start with the single photo of an individual, and I'll shoot on a variety of backgrounds. Then, we're going to bring in both kids and shoot both of them together, and I'll talk about what we need to think about with perspective flashes there. And we're gonna do that action shot. And then, I just want to kind of prepare you mentally for what we might expect. So, we're shooting with the family... The family of four people, and they've got two children. Was it four years old and two years old? Four and two, yeah. So the four year old is a young girl, and she's four, so she can understand commands and understand what we want to do. The two year old, well sometimes a little bit more dramatic, so one of the great things about being a family photographer is you learn to roll with the punches. So, w...

e'll just see how things go today. We may not get all of the photos we want. One of the points I want to make is when we do family photography, I like to have a shot plan, and I have it right here on my little... We're calling this our show flow. I've got a shot plan. I know what I want to do, and I've talked to the parents. This is what we want to do, and we're all in agreement, but the kids may have another idea, so we'll just see how it goes today. We'll try to get as much as we can and all the time learning. So with that said, let's welcome forward the Couch family. (audience applause) How are you guys? We've already talked a little bit today. Hello. So a lot of times when kids come on set, and especially in a situation like this here Creative Light, there's a lot of lights. There's a lot of people watching, and so we just like to make things easy. We called her in earlier today. We talked about what we're going to do. I had her posing on the stool, had her look at some of her photographs and all that good stuff, so she's already kind of... She knows what's going on. It's important that you don't seem intimidating and, I don't know, scary. So a lot of times I get down on the lower level. Want to come over here? All right, you want to wave to everyone? Say hi. Cool, can you tell them your name? My name is Emery. Emery. We're going to call her Emery or Em today. And Dad gave me permission to call her a couple of other names too, but I think I'll just stick with Em. So, Em, you want to sit on the stool? You want to go over there? So we've kind of already practiced that, and she can get up there all by herself because she's a big kid. Hey, let me know if you ever need anything, okay? Like if you need help getting up on the stool. And a lot of times today what I'm going to do, Em, is I'm going to like mess with your dress a little bit. Like sometimes it may be underneath your pants, and I may need to pull that out, so is it okay if I pull this out over here? Yeah. All right, cool. Right on. And them I'm gonna have you put your hands just like that. (claps) Excellent. Well, the first thing we're gonna do is we're gonna shoot a photograph, Em on the white backdrop. So, Em, the plan here today is some of the shots we'll do big smiles, and then other shots we'll do a little bit more serious. And then, if you have an idea, like if you're like, "Hey, I was thinking about maybe a hand on the hip, or I was thinking about doing something." You can say something like that because I like to work with you, and you have some good ideas too sometimes. Cool? Yeah. Are your legs okay? Would you like to put your feet on like this? Would that help you, or do you like to let them hang? I like to let them hang. Do you want to let them hang, or do you like them here? I like them here. Okay, so we'll start out with that, and that's maybe a little bit more comfortable for you. And then, maybe in a little bit, we'll take it away, and we'll take a couple of shots without it too. All right? All right, cool. So I'm gonna turn you a little bit like this. And a lot of times when I turn people, you turn them to get a little bit more dynamic photograph rather than straight on. Very rarely do you actually shoot folks just straight on. All right, go ahead and put your hand up here like this and fold your hands on that leg just like that. And then, sometimes, I can say sit up tall. So see how that push right there in your back... How that kind of gets you to sit up tall? Right on. Now, if you would just relax for me for one minute, you can just kind of sit here and think about pretty things. I'm gonna set up my lighting equipment, all right? Okay, we're gonna start here with a smaller umbrella. We're gonna use this one. This is our forty inch-er, and, Em, this is the same one that we shot with this morning. The same one we already tried out, remember? When I push that button, the flash will fire. So I'm gonna pop the flash now. Ready? Pow! (laughs) That's right. We're gonna start with that single flash, and when I position flashes, one of the things I'm thinking about is making sure that the largest surface area of the umbrella is facing the subject, okay? In other words, I don't want the flash to be too high or too low. So what I'm gonna do, Em, is I'm just gonna go right here and look at it like you and just see is it angled right. Feels a little bit... Does it feel good? Yeah, she says it's good. I think it's good. I'm at a quarter power on the flash, so now we're gonna do our light meter. And I don't remember. Did we practice this one this morning? No? So this one... What we're gonna do is... See these numbers here in the front? They're telling me how to set my camera up, so what I got to do is I got to push this button, but it has to be right by your chin, so maybe you can hold it by your chin, and then can you push this button here with your finger? Right there. Bingo, got it. Okay, so that says 200th of a second at F4.4, F4-O and four tenths, so that's a little more than F4, so that's not quite F56. So we're going through your question earlier. "Why can't they just tell me what it should be?" So, that's about F4.5 to maybe F5.1. I think I'm gonna choose F5.1 as my starting point. Okay, now I'm gonna go, and I'm gonna set up... Remember, I showed you earlier that your photo's gonna appear on that screen? So I'm gonna go setup that screen, so your picture will show up there. (hums) Looks like we're still connected. There's your dad. Look at your dad, and you're gonna be up there next. (clears throat) Okay. So where are we at in the thought process here? So we're starting out with a single flash. We've got a white backdrop, and let's see what that photo looks like. Okay, Em, go ahead and sit up nice and tall for me. And I've gotta set this for F... What'd I say? F5? I think I said F5.1, but it's actually F5. Okay, here we go. (camera shutters) Oh, such a nice smile! And let's just make sure that it goes up on the screen. Ooh, can you see the screen? All right, cool. So, you know, a lot of times I want to get these niggles worked out of course before the kid comes on set. It looks like it's a little bit overexposed, a little too bright. So like I said before, this is a starting point, and I noticed that when she triggered it... I don't know if you picked this up, but her head was down like this a little bit, and maybe there was a little bit of hair blocking some of the light coming in, so it wasn't exactly the right measurement. And that's a little too bright, so I'm gonna go more towards... Let's go to F7.1. Okay, here we go again. Look right in the camera. Nice, smile. (camera shutters) You have such a nice smile. And I'm gonna have you... Can you sit up a little taller for me? Yes. Oh, yes. Exactly like that. Nice. (camera shutters) Good, look right in the camera. (camera shutters) Fantastic. How are those looking from an exposure standpoint? You have a nice smile. Have you taken photos before? Yeah, you've done it. Rumor has it, your dad's a pretty good photographer. Right on. That looks great. And since my clients are spending a lot of money to be here with me, I'm just gonna do a real quick check and make sure that the focus is spot on and make sure everything is working properly. Super fantastic. So we're doing this all with one light. It's a single light. If I want that back ground to be even brighter, which sometimes I do, I'm gonna actually push her in a little bit closer, so I think I'm gonna do that. You don't have... I think I'm just going to pick this up, pick you up, and just slide you a little bit. Are you cool with that? Yeah. Okay, so I'm just gonna slide you back. (sings) I like making sounds. And I'm gonna turn you that way. Cool, and I'm gonna do this. Yep, and I'm gonna push you this way. You're just along for the ride today. Nice. How do you feel? Good. Yeah, you look good I'll tell you that. You're coming up soon, buddy. Okay, here we go. So I moved her closer to the background because I want to try and get a little brighter, whiter background. Here we go. (camera shutters) Nice! Can you sit up tall for me? (camera beeps) Yay! (camera shutters) Oh, a beautiful smile. As those are coming in, remember now that we just got one light. Ohp, blinker! We've got a blinker. Ooh, right there. (camera shutters) You notice one... Here's a good teaching point. I didn't wait for my flash to recycle before I took that next shot, but it still fired. A lot of times you need to wait for that beep to happen. Em, nice job. That's a beautiful smile right there. Now, what we have... We have good focus that's for sure. What we have is uneven lighting on the seam, and that's fine, but I just want to show you how to even up the lighting a little bit. So, I'm gonna bring in a reflector for this scenario. And I mentioned this in my other classes, but it's worth mentioning again. Build your photo set step by step. In other words, build your lighting step by step. Start with one, understand what that looks like, and then start adding in a reflector. Start adding in a secondary light. If you try to do too much too fast, it's always a little bit confusing. The other side of this is white by the way, so I got a white umbrella and then a white reflector. Are you still back there? Yeah. She said yes. (laughs) All right. You're very brave to be back there, but it's kind of a safe place, right? Yeah. All that light kind of feels cozy. Okay, can you sit up nice and tall for me? Super! Oh, yeah! Good job! (camera shutters) Nice! (camera shutters) Would you look right at the camera? Super! (camera shutters) And then would you put your hands on your legs for me? (camera beeps) Yeah, and now, sit up tall. Oh, perfect! (camera shutters) Ding! Okay, I'm gonna pull this away so everyone can see your beautiful face. The smiling young girl. The beauty on Creative Life. Nice, now as we add in that other reflector, you see much more even lighting. I'm really pleased with that look. You can see the second catch light in here eye. Excellent. All right, Em. I think what we're gonna do now is we're gonna let your brother come up, and we're gonna photograph him on gray, so. Can I help you get down, or do you want to do it by yourself? I don't know. I need help. She needs help, okay. Bernup. Okay, thank you. (fast footsteps) Ha, ha. So, Hold, do you want to come up here? Why don't you have Momma come up with you? Is he more comfortable with Momma or Dad? All right, cool. (footsteps) Can you tell us your name? Tell everyone your name. Two. Your name is Two? All right, his name is Two. Say Avery. Avery, he says. Okay, Avery, I think for you, we're gonna have you on this. Are you cool with that? All right, Momma, you just keep him from falling over. Super, and what I'm gonna do now is I'm gonna switch out to gray. I'm gonna do a little bit of photography on the gray backdrop. (backdrop rolls) We're gonna get it just a different look, and what's going through my mind now is sometimes as a photographer, you're gonna photograph the kids on the same backdrop, so that you can put them together in a montage for the family, right? So normally you do white and white, and then do gray and gray. In this case, I'm just showing you a variety of tools, so you can see kind of the whole overall experience. (backdrop rolls) Isn't that cool? Oh, that's pretty cool. You're doing a good job. Two. Your (chuckles) name is Two. I'm not two. I'm not two. You're this? Yeah, I'm about that. I'm about four like your sis. Okay, so I'm gonna move you, I think, right here. And for this photo, we're gonna photograph you with a soft box, so we're gonna mix things up a little bit. We're gonna go to the soft box. You can just hang out here. You want to sit for a second? You can stand, whatever. Normally in the studio, I'd have music playing. I'd have toys to play with. All that good stuff. And here at Creative Life, we get lighting equipment to play with. Okay, so you're gonna be a soft box guy. And for him, we're gonna produce these nice catch lights in the eye. One of the things to think about with respect to your light stands... I haven't really talked about light stands yet. Notice how high this is. Sometimes, when you're photographing kids, you need a little bit lower light stands. This is... Minimum height is a little bit too high, but we're gonna make it work. I can kind of tip this forward a little bit. About there. (sighs) Okay, we throw this on to the speed light bracket. Excellent, and I'm gonna take off my diffusion dome and not drop it in there. (diffuser clicks) And let's see. I want to show everyone at home what I'm doing, so right here on the front of the flash there's a little diffusion panel. I'm actually gonna pull out that diffusion panel, and that actually allows my light to shine all around inside but not... I'm not really double diffusing it with this. I usually for my soft boxes I don't put on a little... A little Sto-Fen diffuser. (diffuser clicks) okay, so we'll call that good. Put that over there. (plastic clangs) So we're gonna start this photo with a single flash, and I'm gonna have you scooch back. If you want to stay here, I'm cool with that. Okay, hi. How are you? Two. Yeah, (laughs) that's the best answer ever. What is that? This is called soft box. See how it's kind of like a square... It's like a rectangle. Yeah, it's gonna put light on you. Here, check this out. Look over here, and I'm gonna pop the flash. (camera beeps) (inhales) You feel that? Yeah, kind of bright. Oh, bright. (laughs) That's so great. So we're gonna start with just a single soft box. And again, we're gonna build this kind of step by step. And the way I've got this setup... You notice how I've got it angled, so not a lot of light is gonna shine onto the gray backdrop. I purposely decided to do that. Oh, you look so good. So handsome. Those are pretty cool shoes. Hey, I bet you can answer this question. How many shoes are you wearing? Two, two. Yes, two, exactly. All right. Ready for our photo? Oh, you know what? So this is one of the things you're always going through in your mind. On these types of sets, you're always, "Okay, I've gotta get the kid in pose. I've gotta get the lights setup. I've gotta do the reflector, da-da-da." Oh, yeah. I've gotta take a light meter reading too, so don't forget the tech stuff along with the people stuff. It's why I have a lot of admiration for photographers who do kid photography well. All right, we're gonna... We're gonna push this button, so you're gonna hold that right there. Push that in hard. (meter beeps) Ooh, good job! And it says F56, and your favorite number, two. So F56 and two tenths, which is almost F56 and a third, which is F6.3. Right, you want to push it again just for fun? There's one right there. Right there. (meter beeps) Cool, and this time he was blocking the front of the dome. That's okay. Oops, yeah. Don't want to do that, but you did, so it still works. I want Daddy. Nope, we haven't taken your picture yet. We've gotta take a picture. So we're gonna go to F6.3. Here we go. Oh, perfect pose! Nice. (camera shutters) Look right here at the camera. Yep. (camera shutters) Nice! (camera shutters) Perfect. Can you do that again? Oh! (camera shutters) (laughs) Yep, good. And then let's put the hands on the legs. How about your hands on your knee? How about that? Oh, perfect! (camera shutters) Yes! I'm done. Nope, not yet. Can you hang out for one second? Well, that, again, is the starting point. One of the things I'm noticing, I think, there's some... There's a difference between my camera calibration and the calibration of the light meter. I'm noticing that what the light meter tells me is a little bit... It's causing me to overexpose a little bit in general, and you see these shots are a little bit too bright, so I've shot that at F6.3, but really it should probably be closer to F8. So we'll take a couple more. Ooh, I like that. Will you wave again for me? Hey, Mom. (camera shutters) Nice! (camera shutters) Cool, and you know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna come in real close to you. Are you fine with that? (camera beeps) All right, look right here. Nice. (camera shutters) And then, what would it look like if your hands were like down on your leg? Do you see yourself? I see yourself. (laughs) (camera shutters) Cool. All righty, let's do this. Can you put your hands right here? (camera beeps) And look right at the camera. (camera shutters) Nice job! Fantastic, I need a five on that one and a fist bump because I know you can do that well and an elbow bump. Right there. Yep, good. Can you wait for one second? Can we take another shot? Are you good with that? No? Let's take one more. I think you can do it. Now, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna bring in another reflector because we can see from that photo, which is a really nice photo by the way, but it's a nice dark shadow off the side, so I'm gonna bring in the reflector to even it out a bit. He's got such a nice smile that we want this to be a little bit lighter and airier. Whoops, pulling the background apart. Okay, now we're gonna get into the zone. Are you okay with this? He's nodding yes. Oh, yeah, you look good. Look at this. You look excellent! Okay. You wanna... You know what? I liked it when your knees were pointed that way. Can you point your knees that way towards this? Yeah, just like that. Perfect! Love it! What do you see? Stuff? Ooh, that's a good look. (camera shutters) Nice job. (camera shutters) Can you look right at the camera? (camera shutters) Nice, nice wave. (camera shutters) Let's try this. Let's try something fun. Fun? Yeah, let's stand. You can stand on the ground, and then why don't you stand right behind this. Oh, right there! That's what I... Psh, who taught you that pose? (camera shutters) Dad, that's impressive. (laughs) His pose is fantastic, so we're gonna go with it. He's like, "Hey, how you doing?" See that? All right, here we go. (camera shutters) Okay, that'll work too. (camera shutters) Okay, the hiding. That's good. (camera shutters) Where did your eyes go? All right, can you come back over here? Stand right next to the side like you did before and put your arm on there like this. Kind of like this. Cool, right there. Let me get that photo really quick, and then, we can be done. (camera shutters) Nice! I think I got it. Let's find out. We're done? Yeah, I think we're done. High-five? Fist bump. Nope, left me hanging. How cool is that? He just came up with that pose on his own. Precious. (clears throat) So let's look at a few of these photos here real quick. I'm kind of sweating, and that's the way it works. So these photos, as I had to make an adjustment on my exposure, but one of the things about shooting raw is that I know that as he moves farther away, or as he moves a little bit closer to the camera, raw is gonna give me the flexibility to be able to edit those in post processing. Huh, that's a nice shot. And even though it looks slightly overexposed here on the screen, I know I have detail on his face and the highlights, and let me show you how I know that. If I go to the histogram, here we go. Go to the histogram in the develop pane. Sorry about that. If I move my mouse over there, you can see as my mouse is on his face, it's giving me brightness values here that aren't blown out. That are in the 80-90%. That means I've got texture, and I've got detail still there, so light... Shooting tether can actually be very helpful on the set in addition to shooting with your handheld light meter. (laughs) Again, looking at his eyes. Looking at those catch lights. Excellent.

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.

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • Amazing class! Lots of information
  • The class seems great, but my connection - even at 20MB still give me 20 seconds and then butts out for a minute :(
  • Lots of practical information on how to combine flash with modifiers in the studio. It was helpful seeing real world examples of both how to do it properly and what can go wrong. Although this class was focused on children and families, the tips can be applied to any type of studio subject.