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Thread: Flash photography with infant

  1. #1
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    Default Flash photography with infant

    Hi,

    I'm planning for my baby girl's first birthday & it will definitely be an indoor event.

    Being indoor simply means that lighting is not that favorable for photography (correct me if I'm wrong). I could only think of 2 options available for better photos

    1) Use faster lens - I can loan 50mm f/1.4G from a friend.
    2) Use flash - I can get hold of a SB900.

    I personally prefer the 2nd option as I feel more comfortable working with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens for such an event. What do you guys think?

    I'm not familiar with flash photography (usually do shooting outdoors & only use built-in flash once in the blue moon). Would very much appreciate your valuable advise, especially shooting infant & other young babies using flash.

    Do I put on the diffuser dome permanently, set the flash angle at 45% (or other angle) or use the white bouncer on the flash unit? Sorry for all these silly questions. I have never used an external flash before .

    Thanks in advance.

    Cheers,
    Ben

  2. #2

    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleBen View Post
    Hi,

    I'm planning for my baby girl's first birthday & it will definitely be an indoor event.

    Being indoor simply means that lighting is not that favorable for photography (correct me if I'm wrong). I could only think of 2 options available for better photos

    1) Use faster lens - I can loan 50mm f/1.4G from a friend.
    2) Use flash - I can get hold of a SB900.

    I personally prefer the 2nd option as I feel more comfortable working with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens for such an event. What do you guys think?

    I'm not familiar with flash photography (usually do shooting outdoors & only use built-in flash once in the blue moon). Would very much appreciate your valuable advise, especially shooting infant & other young babies using flash.

    Do I put on the diffuser dome permanently, set the flash angle at 45% (or other angle) or use the white bouncer on the flash unit? Sorry for all these silly questions. I have never used an external flash before .

    Thanks in advance.

    Cheers,
    Ben
    Use flashgun for all indoor events.

    Fast prime like 50mm will only be good for portraits and it won't be wide enough if group shots (which is mostly the case for events like baby birthday)

    Furthermore, F8 and above is suitable for group photos which render your fast prime quite useless.

    For flashgun, if ceiling is not too high (like HDB ones), then use 45' angle without diffuser while making sure your ceiling is white or close to white colour for a good bounce.

    If high ceilings, then use diffuser and point the flashgun frontward.

    Not an expert here, just giving my newbie's experience...

  3. #3
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

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  4. #4

    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    personally i don't agree with using flash on shooting babies,
    don even talk about external flash gun.
    babies have very big and sensitive eyes
    and i believe your baby will not feel comfortable with the 'flashing' in the room through out the birthday thought
    personally I'll go for fast lens than 'flash' for babies
    5D II

  5. #5
    Member DrSpock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    Hi Ben,

    Congrates on your fatherhood. Great work for the nation building. 3 Cheers

    Back to the question at hand and my 2cents;

    50f1.4 will work great especailly during the blowing out of candles and you do not want to ruin that mood with an intrusive flash! But being babies they will never keep still anytime so you need speed by a fast lens or using a flash is a good idea and better by bouncing it off something instead of direct into their face as you have suggested yourself. Try to on all the available lights and if daytime and have windows clear the curtains, if any. Nothing beats natural lights.

    Go to this place wherever it is and take some sample test shots to mock up the actual day event and then learn from there. See how the photos turn out and reevaluate the f value and shuttle speed you need to use. Cos one the day you'l have NO time to think! No harm in spending time to learn & prepare cos 1st birthday is only once in a lifetime for your girl.

    Good luck!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    Quote Originally Posted by Living H2O View Post
    personally i don't agree with using flash on shooting babies,
    don even talk about external flash gun.
    babies have very big and sensitive eyes
    and i believe your baby will not feel comfortable with the 'flashing' in the room through out the birthday thought
    personally I'll go for fast lens than 'flash' for babies

    You are right to certain extent. Maybe not direct flash, but bounced flash is quite ok.

    I have tried using my Sigma30F1.4 at a friend's baby birthday recently and most of the shots turned out disaster!!! It's like having only one or a few person's face is focused while the rest are out of focus as the aperture is too big and cannot go any smaller as ISO will hit max with slow shutter.

    Thereafter, immediately took out flashgun (bounced of course) and I am able to take nice (all-focused) group shots with smaller aperture (F8) with ISO100-200 and everything turns out nicely.

    One good observation if you notice by going to many of wedding events or celebrations of sort, do you ever any event photographer using a prime lens and without flash? I would say never....it seems a zoom lens and a flashgun is a certain must for such occasions.

    Just some comments.

    Other brothers may have different views and techniques.
    Last edited by Ouverture; 6th May 2009 at 04:01 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member B-setting's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    yeap, i would also go for a bounced flash setting, or alternatively, a flash with a diffuser.

    but nothing beats a test run at the venue to check flash settings and the suitable aperture and shutter speed.


  8. #8
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

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  9. #9
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    Quote Originally Posted by Living H2O View Post
    personally i don't agree with using flash on shooting babies,
    don even talk about external flash gun.
    babies have very big and sensitive eyes
    and i believe your baby will not feel comfortable with the 'flashing' in the room through out the birthday thought
    personally I'll go for fast lens than 'flash' for babies

    can baby take flash photography??





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  10. #10

    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    Thank you 'catchlights'...
    5D II

  11. #11

    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleBen View Post
    Hi,

    I'm planning for my baby girl's first birthday & it will definitely be an indoor event.

    Being indoor simply means that lighting is not that favorable for photography (correct me if I'm wrong). I could only think of 2 options available for better photos

    1) Use faster lens - I can loan 50mm f/1.4G from a friend.
    2) Use flash - I can get hold of a SB900.

    I personally prefer the 2nd option as I feel more comfortable working with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens for such an event. What do you guys think?

    I'm not familiar with flash photography (usually do shooting outdoors & only use built-in flash once in the blue moon). Would very much appreciate your valuable advise, especially shooting infant & other young babies using flash.

    Do I put on the diffuser dome permanently, set the flash angle at 45% (or other angle) or use the white bouncer on the flash unit? Sorry for all these silly questions. I have never used an external flash before .

    Thanks in advance.

    Cheers,
    Ben
    my suggestion is NOT to use flash for baby --- it might harm the eye sight of babies!!!!! please consult your doctor ( eye specialist)
    Last edited by Nenjia; 7th May 2009 at 09:04 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    It not recommended to use flash on babies (see the flash manual).. but do bounce/diffuse the flash and dun do direct.
    Nikon D90

  13. #13
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    Quote Originally Posted by Nenjia View Post
    my suggest is NOT to use flash for baby --- it might harm the eye sight of babies!!!!! please consult your doctor ( eye specialist)
    Can you please bring up any proofs for your claim? The topic is hot discussed but there's too much rumour and hearsay in it. If there is any scientific point in your claim please enlighten us to bring more substance into this discussion.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    I think the worst case is when the room is dark, baby needs to open up the retina wide and big in order to see, then out of sudden the flash "BANG" and fire. If there is some ambient light in the room and not so dark, it is probably ok.

    I do wonder if the photographers are willing to shoot their own babies when they tell clients that its ok to do so on other ppl's babies.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    Quote Originally Posted by Octarine View Post
    Can you please bring up any proofs for your claim? The topic is hot discussed but there's too much rumour and hearsay in it. If there is any scientific point in your claim please enlighten us to bring more substance into this discussion.
    Please read the flash manual. It is stated that should not use flash on infant directly.... End of the day, it is better to be save than sorry, you can subject your kid to direct flash, then its your call.. when i comes to mine.. then it mine decision.
    Nikon D90

  16. #16

    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    It's better not to use flash. It's your own child anyway. Do whatever best in your interest to protect your kid not just having a good photo. Good luck...

  17. #17
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    Maybe I should said flash light is fine for baby, under the hands of professional photographers..





    if it is not safe, all the lawyers in US should be very happy, cos make a huge fortune by suing all the photographers using flash for baby portrait, and all the studio flash manufactures.


    anyway, being studying this subject for very long time, and notice those who insist 100% no flash on babies, whether is big flash small flash studio flash hotshoe flash whatever flash are not advance or professional photographers, and pretty sure that this question will pop up every now and than.

    here are many discussions of the same topic taken for photo.net

    and here is an answer by a Doctor

    Hope this clear the doubts.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    Hi folks,

    Thank you very much for your valuable inputs.

    Some of you even picked up what was in my mind (which I failed to indicate in my first post ), which is the fear of whether flash photography goes well with infants. I remembered when I first brought her for passport photo shooting when she was about 2 months old, she was doing fine at the studio but that night, she cried like nobody's business .

    I guess the best approach is to find a balance. Too much of anything is not good .

    Once again, thanks for the fruitful discussions . Keep it rolling .

    Cheers,
    Ben

  19. #19
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    there many reasons for baby to cry at night, most of the time is over stimulating during the day (aka play too much), but sometime you will never know what is the real reason. speaking from a father of four.
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  20. #20
    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Flash photography with infant

    if you die die dowan to use flash (i would and did) they buy more lights to brighten up the room
    + high ISO + fast lens + steady hands

    good luck and congratulations

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