Perfect lighting for newborn and family portraits?

I've been trying to search all over the internet for my particular situation and can't seem to find what I need. Hopefully another fellow photog can help. I'm still pretty new in the business of photography. I just set up a shoot with a military family with a newborn. The original plan was to just do pictures with the newborn for free ( so i can gain some experience in that situation) but they liked my work and said they wanted to pay for family photos too.

Right now I shoot with a Canon Rebel T3 and usually use my 55mm lens ( not sure if that information is required for an answer) I used to pretty much much everything on Auto but lately I've really been playing around with the ISO,Shutter speed etc. Now that I am,I need to really know how to work with my lighting. I have a Canon Speedlite 430EXII . I've been looking to see if I should also buy another strobe flash with umbrella since I will be shooting multiple people indoors. I love using bounce flash but it's usually best for small children. I don't want extreme darkness on one side of the picture or under the families eyes and have the child be TO well lit. Oh and I also can't spend a WHOLE lot on equipment right now. Any Ideas on what I should do/buy? and if anyone has any tips for family and newborn portraits,please feel free to share! Thank you in advance!

( Oh, and I also should add that the family is the couple and their newborn and a 4 year old boy.)

1 Answer

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The best place to learn about off camera lighting is the Strobist blog;

    start with the Lighting 101 and 102 archives in the drop down boxes to the right. For portraits, you want to be keeping the ISO as low as possible. Aperture is selected according to the depth of field you want, and shutter speed determines how much of the ambient light you get into the picture (if you work at or near the max sync speed for flash - around 1/200 sec - you effectively 'kill' the ambient light & are lighting flash only).

    Newborns & families benefit from fairly high key lighting, either at a 1:1 or 2:1 (key:fill) ratio. Another flash would come in handy - if you learn to light manually (not relying on TTL, which can be unreliable), you can save money & get a cheaper third party full manual flash. I use Yongnuo YN560's (about £40-50)

    You really want to get that light off camera - so I'd recommend a set of radio triggers - the RF602's are about £18 a set.

    You should also invest in a 5-in-1 reflector - handy to bounce light where you want it, or to flag it off from where you don't - get a biggish one, 85cm or more - cost less than £10 on eBay.

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