Suitable flash for taking babies


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May 28, 2004
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#1
Wondering if anyone out there has this concern about taking photos of babies or toddlers with a flash.

My camera is a Canon 300D, and recently, someone commented that the built-in flash is too bright for my 11 month old boy, and may spoil his eyesight. I started to worry, cos I have been taking photos of him using flash since he was about 4 months old. When he was a baby, I didn't use flash for the exact same reason. As he grew older, I thought the flash light may not be as harmful as before. After hearing the comment, I'm beginning to think otherwise. But now, he is so active and always moving that if I don't use flash indoors, all I get is a blur.

Is there any scientific proof that flash can cause babies harm? Would an external flash help since the light can be bounced off the wall and the effect won't be so great? What external flash will be suitable for my camera (Canon 300D)? Is there any suitable and affordable 3rd party flash that is suitable for this purpose? If the room is too big for the light to be bounced, how then can I ensure the flash is bright enough yet not too bright for the baby's eyes?
 

Artosoft

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Aug 31, 2005
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#2
No need flash. Just take picture when mum bring the baby for morning sun. Good for baby, good for photographer, and good photo also since it is natural light.

Regards,
Arto.
 

yehosaphat

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Oct 28, 2005
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#3
I try not to use flash but natural lighting as far as possible.. so solution? Get a fast prime like 50mm 1.4 and boost up your ISO! ;)
 

hanafi

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Sep 8, 2004
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#4
Dont use the built-in flash. I have never used it cause the light is always harsh. Use a normal flash but bounce off ceiling and walls. Sensitive baby eyes will not be affected, although don't take picture while baby is sleeping. It will probably wake her/him up. Even outdoors, I have this habbit of using flash ;p but never direct at the subject.
 

Madman

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Apr 29, 2004
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#6
Natural light is best! But if you want to get a flash, I think a used 420EX should do...and they are fairly cheap now...

I have been using my flash bounced off the ceiling since my baby is a newborn.

Add a big bounce card to direct a bit of the light towards your subject, and you should get nice pictures!

This photo was taken next to a large window in the morning without flash. I was standing on a short ladder to get some height...



Happy Shooting!

Larry
 

zcf

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Apr 10, 2005
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#7
I always thought that sunlight in bright day is way much stronger than a flash, considering ceiling bounced flash is even less harsh. And I am yet to see any scientific report to prove that flash is harmful to the baby. It really make me wonder it's one of those urban myth or not :think:
 

yehosaphat

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Oct 28, 2005
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#8
Play and experiment with natural lighting is the way to go... shared this pic before in the forum but jus to bring it up again for you on experimenting with natural lighting and angles :sticktong

 

Ah_Seng

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#9
You can try to use window light. If the light is too harsh, you can use a thin white bedsheet to cover the window to give a softer light.
 

Jun 21, 2004
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#10
richardkwan said:
Wondering if anyone out there has this concern about taking photos of babies or toddlers with a flash.

My camera is a Canon 300D, and recently, someone commented that the built-in flash is too bright for my 11 month old boy, and may spoil his eyesight. I started to worry, cos I have been taking photos of him using flash since he was about 4 months old. When he was a baby, I didn't use flash for the exact same reason. As he grew older, I thought the flash light may not be as harmful as before. After hearing the comment, I'm beginning to think otherwise. But now, he is so active and always moving that if I don't use flash indoors, all I get is a blur.

Is there any scientific proof that flash can cause babies harm? Would an external flash help since the light can be bounced off the wall and the effect won't be so great? What external flash will be suitable for my camera (Canon 300D)? Is there any suitable and affordable 3rd party flash that is suitable for this purpose? If the room is too big for the light to be bounced, how then can I ensure the flash is bright enough yet not too bright for the baby's eyes?

i used a 50mm f1.8 with ISO800 and natural light to take photos of my baby.
 

yanyewkay

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Sep 22, 2004
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#11
use D50 with the baby mode :thumbsup: it is baby friendly so the flash should be too. :thumbsup:
 

nightwolf75

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Dec 18, 2003
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#12
zcf said:
I always thought that sunlight in bright day is way much stronger than a flash, considering ceiling bounced flash is even less harsh. And I am yet to see any scientific report to prove that flash is harmful to the baby. It really make me wonder it's one of those urban myth or not :think:
IIRC, ur typical flash is supposed to simulate sunlight at noon...

its not so much abt harshness. remember, the sunlight (more or less) is diffused light (unless u stare at the sun) over the earth. ur flash is concentrated light at a spot.

its also not so much abt harmful, but as hanafi pointed out, flashing a baby will startle him/her.... and heaven help u if the baby starts wailing. and yes, a baby's vision is particularly sensitive in the first few months. again, heaven help u if the baby is startled by a sudden bright light.... :sweat:
 

May 28, 2004
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#13
Wow! Very nice baby photos, yehosaphat and Madman! Ok, I'm won over by the natural lighting suggestion. I'll open all my windows to let the sun in everytime I feel like taking photos of my son. :)

Nevertheless, I'll still be getting a flash. Just in case....
 

Artosoft

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Aug 31, 2005
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#14
yanyewkay said:
use D50 with the baby mode :thumbsup: it is baby friendly so the flash should be too. :thumbsup:
Hah.... Baby mode :bigeyes: .

New mode on D50, addition to Child mode ah.... :bsmilie: .

Regards,
Arto.
 

yowch

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Oct 16, 2002
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#15
While there are those who will take all precautions to protect their babies, I trust the results of quite a few medical studies that camera flash does not harm a baby's eyes if it does not harm an adult's eyes. If you go very close, fire your flash at full power, even plastics get degraded, not to mention our eyes. But if you shoot enough for a good exposure (most TTL flash will take carre of that), no problem to the eye. The bigger problem is the shock resulting from a sudden burst of light. ;)

Just imagine, babies are well known to like to look into the sun. Certainly very damaging. but for thousands of years babies are exposed to the sun. Not too many blind or damaged eyes. And the flash is only a very small fraction of the sun's power in a very short burst! Playing on the sunny day white sand beach at noon time exposes more light to the eyes than flashes.

I have two children, 2 and 4 now. Both exposed to flash from the moment they are born. Both not wearing glasses, sees well in the day and night, and are not colour blind.

If the flash makes a better picture, use it. I'll rather have sharp photos with properly used flash than blurry/noisy ones with 'natural' light. That said, I normally use bounced flash, or indirect flash, more for photographic artistry, though. And sure, sometimes natural light for the effect.

I believe that 4 hours of monitor/TV will do much more damage than several flashes per hour.

BTW, your son is 11 months now, time to play in the rain and in the mud! woohoo!
 

May 28, 2004
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#16
Thanks, yowch! I feel less guilty now of putting my son through all those flashlights. :) Yeap! My son is 11 months old, time to spend more time in the sunshine and put my flash away. Ha! Ha!
 

yowch

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#17
richardkwan said:
... time to spend more time in the sunshine and put my flash away.
Play in the rain! Children loves playing in the rain, getting all wet and muddy. I remember I liked the rain. My children likes the rain. Just dry up after the fun to prevent catching a cold.
 

eng_keow

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Oct 8, 2004
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#18
yowch said:
While there are those who will take all precautions to protect their babies, I trust the results of quite a few medical studies that camera flash does not harm a baby's eyes if it does not harm an adult's eyes. If you go very close, fire your flash at full power, even plastics get degraded, not to mention our eyes. But if you shoot enough for a good exposure (most TTL flash will take carre of that), no problem to the eye. The bigger problem is the shock resulting from a sudden burst of light. ;)
I fully agree with yowch. Unless we are bursting the flashing right in front of his eyes, there is no need to worry. I have not come across any baby who has defective eye-sight due to the parents over enthusiatic photo taking. Though I don't think infants look at the sun, they like to look at the ceiling lights. Furthermore, there is the protection from the iris which will constrict once bright light is detected, more so if you are using red eye preventive mode.
 

OlyFlyer

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Mar 22, 2006
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#19
yowch said:
Just imagine, babies are well known to like to look into the sun. Certainly very damaging. but for thousands of years babies are exposed to the sun. Not too many blind or damaged eyes. And the flash is only a very small fraction of the sun's power in a very short burst! Playing on the sunny day white sand beach at noon time exposes more light to the eyes than flashes...
I agree with almost everything, and I don't belive flash, used in a normal way can do any harm. However, there is a big difference between sunlight and flash, and that is exactly in the flashing part. When you go out from a very dark room into a very bright room, you will be blindened because your eyes are adjusted to the darkness. Then after a while you pupils (works like aperture) will close and you can see again. When you use flash, the light is so intense and fast, that your pupils will never have time to adjust and close, meaning, light always geting with full power (adjusted by the camera) right into the eyes. You can actually observe this by taking a picture of your baby indoors with dimmed ambient lighting and flash on camera, then move the baby out to bright sunlight, take a new picture and use flash even outdoors. Observe the different pupil sizes. The closing of pupils is a build in protection that protects your (and your babies) eyes to a certain level. That protection is just disabled by using of flash. And actually, I belive babies do not like to look into the sun, they try to look away. Then they look back again to see if it is gone. Again, they note that it hurts and look away and so on. They just don't have the correct periphery vision yet, and they don't understand things the way bigger children or adults do.

As for your children not wearing glasses, that has actually nothing to do with it. You can only correct eyesight errors with glasses, not adding something that is not there. Intense light can cause serious and not correctable damage to eyes, specially flashing lights. That is one reason why welders have learned all over the world to use protective glases. Small children are more sensitive than adults, since their nerves (including the ones needed to see) are not fully developed.

It is not very appropriate to say that flashes are harmless, there is actually a warning for that in the manual of every flash I ever owned during the last 30 years. I don't think there is a need for any scientific studies today to proof that flashes can be very harmful, so they must be used with care. I also used flash on my children, but this new auto focus assist flashing and red eye reduction is disabled on my camera.

Again, I agree on TV/computer screen. The old, traditional ones are flashing things. But the new LCD-based ones are harmless in that aspect.

My comment is very long, but hopefully not boring. I am not a doctor, but I belive eyes are very important. In fact, for me I feel they are the most important part of my body. Back in the 1970's I was involved in an accident which created so sudden and intense light that I was actually blind for about one week, doctors did not know if I ever will see again. I was lucky, I got back my eyesight, so I have some experience about what light can do to your eyes, how it hurts and how to value that part of my body.

Be very careful specially with small children. They will never tell you when it hurts, they don't know yet what's normal and what's not. Never assume they will start to cry in time, it might be too late when they do.
 

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