shooting kids outdoors

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Emerana, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. Emerana

    Emerana TPF Noob!

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    I am going to do some sessions with kids outdoors over the next few weeks. They are not kids who will sit still or pose so they will be shot more like candids. I have a good lens rented and on its way but I am worried about lighting.

    I have a large reflector although I cant imagine chasing kids with a reflector. And know how to use fill flash (but rarely do).

    What times should I schedule shoots for (I live in Houston) or should i go to places that are shady?

    For indoor natural light photos, is there a best time of day?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ideally, you will probably want to avoid mid-day sun...but if you do have to shoot at that time, it might be nice to find a shady place.

    A reflector might be nice, but as you mention, it might be hard if they are moving around a lot.

    Also, when shooting in direct sunlight, a diffuser can be your best friend. Those 5 in 1 reflectors usually have a diffuser as the base layer. You (an assistant) just holds it up over the subject. Might be hard if they are moving a lot...but would really make for nice light.

    I personally like to use flash quite a bit when shooting outdoors. It provides fill light and can give them catch lights.

    For 'indoor natural light photos'...there isn't a 'best' time of day...it really depends on your window situation. Ideally, you want a window that doesn't have direct sunlight streaming in.
     
  3. Emerana

    Emerana TPF Noob!

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    thanks big mike :) great info! I will make the moms run around with the reflector or diffuser ;)

    For fill flash do you use the pop up flash or the speedlite pointed forward or with a diffuser on it?
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Pop up flash? Gasp....never.

    I use a speedlite, pointed directly at the subject. You don't need a diffuser when using the flash for fill...and a diffuser would block a lot of light anyway, and you may need all the power you can get.
    (and really, most of the flash 'diffusers' don't really work the way people think they do. They split the lights so that you can bounce some of the light and send some forward. If there is nothing to bounce off of...most flash accesories are just a waste).

    When using flash outdoors during the day (bright)...there is one issue. You will have to watch your shutter speed and be aware of your camera's max sync speed. On my cameras, it's 1/250. So as long as I keep my shutter speed under that, the flash will be fine. However, if it's bright, I may need to use a rather small aperture in order to keep a shutter speed light that. Flash power/exposure is directly tied to aperture, so the smaller the aperture, the harder the flash will have to work and the shorter the range.
    Now, some cameras/flashes have a high speed mode. This 'pulses' the flash like a strobe light and allows you to shoot at higher shutter speeds. This does, however, greatly reduce your effective range and eats up battery power.
    So ideally, you might want to stick to the max sync speed and keep in mind that the aperture size will affect the range at which your flash will be effective.
     
  5. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The built-in flash, that is on most cameras... when used for daylight fill-flash, thats where you will find out how bad they really are... lol

    Narrow of beam, short on power and fast drop off.

    The easy answer is to go for the add-on speedlight and use eTTL (Canon) or iTTL (Nikon) and not need to bother with setting it... it should do a nice job as an automatic fill flash for you. With or without a diffuser... but I would be tempted to suggest that you look at www.abetterbouncecard.com and lose that diffuser.

    Don't forget to wear your running shoes and don't forget to use gaffer's tape on the mother's hands so they won't drop the reflectors... lol
     
  6. Emerana

    Emerana TPF Noob!

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    OK, I think I am now forced to learn about flashes...its been the one area I really havent been interested in learning much about. I never use that pop up flash...not only does it totally ruin a photo, but also it slows my camera down.

    I have the speedlite 430ex and it has buttons but I never figured out how to use them...I guess its time to pull out the manual for it.

    Thanks guys. And more advice, keep it coming.
     
  7. Emerana

    Emerana TPF Noob!

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    HOLY MOLEY!! The lens I rented is HUGE. It makes my XTi look teeny tiny
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    What lens did you rent?
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ROFL! What lens is that? A 70-200? (wild guess)
     
  10. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Lol, I use an 80-200 for shooting the kids outdoors for the most part.

    Sadly Emerana I have no real input for you, I generally do this under overcast mid day skys with snow on the ground as of late. It would prolly be easier to chase them around with the reflecter than to import snow to Huston and wait for the sky to be overcast.....
     
  11. Emerana

    Emerana TPF Noob!

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    good guess :hail:
    70-200 f2.8
     
  12. Emerana

    Emerana TPF Noob!

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    Import snow...what a good idea :D
    We do have overcast days but its often either humid (kids get super sweaty, not too nice for a photo) or raining buckets. I will have to just learn how to do it in the sun. The lens is too long for a fill flash I think...which is a good thing cause my arms get tired carrying that monster around...it makes my camera look sooooo tiny
     

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