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02-25-2010, 10:03 PM   #1
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family photos

I am looking at doing some family photos soon. I am wondering about lighting and what would work best. There will be outdoor photos which will note need lighting at all (maybe fill flash)... the indoor lighting is what i am wondering about. I will have an external flash, and am wondering if diffusing the flash will have the best results. The room would have ceilings that are white and 10 feet in height. Would I be better to bounce the flash off the ceiling for portraits, or to purchase an umbrella to diffuse the flash? If I should purchase an umbrella what should I do? I have an extra (cheap) tripod I could use as a stand, if it would work.
What would I need to adapt an umbrella to a cheap tripod?

For these photos, money is not the priority, but I do not plan on spending a great deal of $$$

02-25-2010, 11:11 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Duch Quote
I am looking at doing some family photos soon. I am wondering about lighting and what would work best. There will be outdoor photos which will note need lighting at all (maybe fill flash)... the indoor lighting is what i am wondering about. I will have an external flash, and am wondering if diffusing the flash will have the best results. The room would have ceilings that are white and 10 feet in height. Would I be better to bounce the flash off the ceiling for portraits, or to purchase an umbrella to diffuse the flash? If I should purchase an umbrella what should I do? I have an extra (cheap) tripod I could use as a stand, if it would work.
What would I need to adapt an umbrella to a cheap tripod?

For these photos, money is not the priority, but I do not plan on spending a great deal of $$$
Are you looking for studio lit family portraits or are you looking for nice snapshots?



K7, AF540 with a Sto-Fen, flash head set at 45 degrees, DA*16-50. I think it would work equally nice in a formal portrait setting with a little tweaking but I'll never know with this crew.

02-26-2010, 08:00 AM   #3
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For shots in white interiors, I'll put my AF-360 (in wireless mode) on a minitripod aimed towards one room upper corner, maybe with a diffuser on it; and maybe a cheap old Vivitar or Sunpak flash, maybe diffused (a thin white sock works well), atop an optical trigger, on another minitripod, aimed at another room upper corner; and the K20D's flash is up (and maybe in a white infant sock). This way there's soft light bounced from above, and soft light directed at whomever's in front of me. I just have to be careful about keeping those remote flashes behind me.

This setup is easy in my own house because I have tall cabinets to set the minipods on. Elsewhere, I take cheap tripods, music stands, clips and spiders, whatever it takes to get the flashes up and out of the way. Also you can bounce off mirrors, glass windows or framed pictures, anything high and shiny in the room.
02-26-2010, 11:27 AM   #4
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Public libraries often have books on lighting. You may have to skip any references to film cameras but the general ideas are relevant.

I am really bad at this type of photography, so I do a lot of testing and practice in advance. Since you have locations in mind, set your stuff up. Find a victim/test subject (the person who said "Wouldn't it be nice to have some family photos?") and take a few shots. Test one thing at a time, such as different lighting setups, lenses, etc. Then dismiss your subject and check your photos for things that could have gone better. This is better than trying to figure out everything while 11 restless bored relatives are watching.

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