Newbie Family Shoot Help

fractionofasecond

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I've been asked by a co-worker to shoot himself with his wife and 2 year old son for Christmas cards. He knows I am not a professional and it will be a very casual shoot. Him and his son will be in suits. My question is- I have never done anything besides snapshot photography but I would really like to give him some quality shots. I offered to do it for free because I am new and if he is completely overwhelmed with excitement from the pictures, we would let that decide if money is involved. I have shot casual portraits of friends before and I think I have what it takes. My problem is, he would want to do it inside of his house because of the cold weather, which I kept trying to mention "outside would be better". I only have the built in pop up flash for my camera, and was hoping I could rig up a diffuser or something to bounce the light of the ceiling. I know this isn't ideal but it is last minute and he knows I have never done anything more than casual shooting. Does anyone have any ideas to bounce a pop up flash? I have searched the web and found some ways to rig one up but do they really work? Also I am 6'2" and I am assuming the ceilings are 8 feet, will my little POS pop up have enough power to bounce the flash? Any input is appreciated. Thanks. :)

*EDIT* I was also planning to shoot with a 50mm 1.7.
 
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fractionofasecond

fractionofasecond

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There is no one I know of who could lend me something. It will be indoors during the day. Hopefully I can open some windows and it will be bright enough, just looking for a flash to fill in the shadows. My camera is usually OK at ISO 800. Any higher I am sure I will get some noise. Thanks for the link, I was actually just reading those. Some people say it works, and some people say it doesn't. I guess when I get home, I will just have to try one out and see what I come up with.
 
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fractionofasecond

fractionofasecond

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Oh sorry, my camera officially maxes out at ISO 25,600 and I am assuming anything higher than 800 there will be noise.
 

MLeeK

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You have to learn how to shoot for high ISO's. From what I can see your camera should handle fairly well at higher ISO's.
Read this article Expose Right
What are you post processing with?
 
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fractionofasecond

fractionofasecond

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You have to learn how to shoot for high ISO's. From what I can see your camera should handle fairly well at higher ISO's.
Read this article Expose Right
What are you post processing with?

Thanks. Yes I'm sorry I am actually reading reviews that are saying my camera at 6400 ISO has noise but it is easily fixed in post-processing. I am using Photoshop 6 btw.
 

MLeeK

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You have to learn how to shoot for high ISO's. From what I can see your camera should handle fairly well at higher ISO's.
Read this article Expose Right
What are you post processing with?

Thanks. Yes I'm sorry I am actually reading reviews that are saying my camera at 6400 ISO has noise but it is easily fixed in post-processing. I am using Photoshop 6 btw.
CS6? Noise removal in Adobe Camera Raw CS6 is pretty damn impressive!!!
 
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fractionofasecond

fractionofasecond

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You have to learn how to shoot for high ISO's. From what I can see your camera should handle fairly well at higher ISO's.
Read this article Expose Right
What are you post processing with?

Thanks. Yes I'm sorry I am actually reading reviews that are saying my camera at 6400 ISO has noise but it is easily fixed in post-processing. I am using Photoshop 6 btw.
CS6? Noise removal in Adobe Camera Raw CS6 is pretty damn impressive!!!

Yea, the new camera raw is amazing. I don't know why I'm worrying so much- I just prefer natural light over flash (but doesn't anyone) :p I was assuming if it is a nice, sunny day we could open some shades, set my camera to f 1.7 and hopefully get a good enough angle to avoid shadows but I may try and bring a homemade diffuser just incase. Good article btw. I think I understand exposure, it is just when you add a flash- that is when I start to panic. :p
 

MLeeK

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Thanks. Yes I'm sorry I am actually reading reviews that are saying my camera at 6400 ISO has noise but it is easily fixed in post-processing. I am using Photoshop 6 btw.
CS6? Noise removal in Adobe Camera Raw CS6 is pretty damn impressive!!!

Yea, the new camera raw is amazing. I don't know why I'm worrying so much- I just prefer natural light over flash (but doesn't anyone) :p I was assuming if it is a nice, sunny day we could open some shades, set my camera to f 1.7 and hopefully get a good enough angle to avoid shadows but I may try and bring a homemade diffuser just incase. Good article btw. I think I understand exposure, it is just when you add a flash- that is when I start to panic. :p

Sunny or not make use of every drop of natural light you can get in there!
F/1.7 is probably going to cause too shallow a DOF for this shoot. If you are inside you can't back very far away from your subjects. At 15 feet from the subjects to the lens you have less than one foot of depth of field. A LOT of homes you won't be able to get even 10 feet from the subject. You are going to need to stop down to get everyone in focus. f/4 MIGHT be adequate if everyone is very close to the same plane of focus. You'd then have just under 2 feet of reasonably sharp focus. 5.6 would definitely be better!
Honestly? Inside a standard home you may be really lucky to use the 50mm and get a shot with the whole family in it. Slap the lens on your camera and shoot in your own living room. How tight does it feel? Could you get a full body shot of two adults and an active toddler? I know my livingroom is 21 feet long and I'd have to have them seated to maximize the space on a crop sensor camera. A standing image would probably be out of the question.
 
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fractionofasecond

fractionofasecond

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CS6? Noise removal in Adobe Camera Raw CS6 is pretty damn impressive!!!

Yea, the new camera raw is amazing. I don't know why I'm worrying so much- I just prefer natural light over flash (but doesn't anyone) :p I was assuming if it is a nice, sunny day we could open some shades, set my camera to f 1.7 and hopefully get a good enough angle to avoid shadows but I may try and bring a homemade diffuser just incase. Good article btw. I think I understand exposure, it is just when you add a flash- that is when I start to panic. :p

Sunny or not make use of every drop of natural light you can get in there!
F/1.7 is probably going to cause too shallow a DOF for this shoot. If you are inside you can't back very far away from your subjects. At 15 feet from the subjects to the lens you have less than one foot of depth of field. A LOT of homes you won't be able to get even 10 feet from the subject. You are going to need to stop down to get everyone in focus. f/4 MIGHT be adequate if everyone is very close to the same plane of focus. You'd then have just under 2 feet of reasonably sharp focus. 5.6 would definitely be better!
Honestly? Inside a standard home you may be really lucky to use the 50mm and get a shot with the whole family in it. Slap the lens on your camera and shoot in your own living room. How tight does it feel? Could you get a full body shot of two adults and an active toddler? I know my livingroom is 21 feet long and I'd have to have them seated to maximize the space on a crop sensor camera. A standing image would probably be out of the question.

Wow, you're amazing, I completely forgot to even think about DOF. Haha. Unfortunately I am stuck at work and eagerly awaiting to get home and do what you said. I'm gonna have to see how tight the picture will be and maybe use my girlfriend and my pup to pose to see if I can get them both in focus. Definitely helping alot. Appreciate it. :)
 
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fractionofasecond

fractionofasecond

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I am trying to figure out at 50mm how far would I be if they were all in frame from head to toe. What you think?
 

MLeeK

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I am trying to figure out at 50mm how far would I be if they were all in frame from head to toe. What you think?
I'm guessing 15+ feet?
With an active toddler who is relatively close to the parents and calm I'd probably want a DOF of 3 feet. You can easily get away with 2 feet if the child is in parents' laps or even less if they are all on the same plane with their faces, but if the child is moving like my 2 year old grand daughter does? 3 feet would be a minimum.
 

MLeeK

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You can also download a DOF calculator for any smart phone.
 

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