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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Kids & Family Talk 
Thread started 29 Aug 2016 (Monday) 08:13
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Forest Shoot

88 posts
Joined Jul 2006
Location: North-East Scotland
Aug 29, 2016 08:13 |  #1

I'm more into shooting horses so people is a big step up for me. This is for my sisters family so children aged 3 months (not sure if she's coming or will be staying at home), 5yrs, 9yrs, 11yrs and 16yrs (not sure if she is coming either).

Any hints or tips in what to do/not to do.

Cameras: x2 Canon 60D
Lenses: 85mm f/1.8, Canon 70-200 L F/4, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, Canon 55-255 f/4-5.6 IS
Flash Gun: Sigma 500 DG Super and a 5-in-1 reflector (not sure if will use these as I've just started to learn how to use them).

I asked what sort of shots she would like and she mentioned they love to climb trees so I am thinking tree climbing, peeking out from behind trees, stick fights, bigger children giving younger ones piggy backs amongst a few nice still family portraits.

I'm going out the next couple of days to the forest to take some test shots and see what is there that we can use as props etc.

Thanks in advance for any help.

"Looks rough and well used"
12,777 posts
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Joined Feb 2013
Location: Florida
Aug 29, 2016 08:37 |  #2


Sounds fun!

I'd stick to wider angles probably, like the 17-50. In a forest with trees and different foliage, it's really easy to have to stand back over 20 feet to use an 85, 70-200, 55-250, and get full body shots of two kids stick-jousting or something, let alone normal portraits of two kids, etc. Too much working distance. I find with kids, the closer you are, the better, without being uncomfortably close. I really like 35mm through 85mm for kids on full frame, or 22mm through 50mm on APS-C. You can still get nice soft backgrounds if you need it, without having to deal with the complexities of moving kids at long range with objects between you and them.

Taking one camera with the 85 F1.8 would be good for the "in the tree" shots or head shots, etc, full body at distance, especially in dark spots.

The other camera with the 17-50 for the general shots, probably shot at F4 when there's several kids. I'd rather crop out areas than lose an arm or something in a fun moment.

Definitely scope out the forest before the shoot. It may be a very dark place, to a camera which will have you pushing ISO pretty hard to keep a shutter that will stop their motion, and you probably don't want to shoot completely wide open with several subjects from a depth of field standpoint depending on what lens you use. A light can be nice to keep shadows out of their eyes. The important thing for exposure would be to expose up, so that you don't get dark faces, dark eyes, shooting in RAW, then drop exposure in post, but you can keep exposure on their faces without losing data or having to stretch data that way. Even if you don't use a light.

Scope out the location for bugs and stuff. Last thing you want is kids freaking out over spider webs, roaches, ants, etc. Plus mosquitoes and stuff really suck (get it!?).

If you're not already very comfortable with lighting, I would leave it at home honestly, it's a whole other world of hassle to corral children with a static light in the woods while asking them to play. I'd just go for candids. When they're tired, do the couples and group shots. And make sure to stop down plenty, worst thing is to have a kid out of depth of field in a group shot with their family.

If you have them in one spot, controlled, you can use lighting and use really shallow depth of field, but if they're running around, multiple of them in the shot at a time, it will be harder to do that.

I did this with a 5D classic & 85mm F1.8 @ F1.8 with a light (speedlite in a 24x24" softbox). See how dark the ambient was at 1/200, F1.8 and ISO 100? Forests are pretty dark! So if shooting at F4, that would put me at ISO 400 right away, and I'd probably want another stop of shutter to get closer to 1/400s, so ISO 800 to get something similar. And even then, if natural light, I'd want to expose a bit to the right to avoid under exposing a face/eyes as that's hard to recover sometimes, so I'd probably push go another +1/3rd of exposure from there, be it ISO or shutter speed, or a combination of the two.

It was a random pine forest on the side of the road.

Bugs were bad!

IMAGE LINK:​oz  (external link) IMG_9191 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE LINK:​fs  (external link) IMG_9202 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

Very best,

My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link)

88 posts
Joined Jul 2006
Location: North-East Scotland
Aug 29, 2016 08:46 |  #3

Wow, lots of useful info there, thanks Martin.
The forest has been decided and I was there yesterday. It tends not to be too bad for flying insects but will have a look for the crawlies. It's right beside the beach so may get some nice beach shots as well. Will see how we go timewise and children tiring.

1,639 posts
Likes: 113
Joined Sep 2011
Location: Annapolis Maryland
Aug 19, 2017 12:48 as a reply to  @ MalVeauX's post |  #4

Outstanding and complete expose' of what thoughts go into exposure and evaluating situations. :)

EOS 7D w/BG-E7 (3), 550EX (3), 430EX II, Vivitar 285HV, Opteka 6.5mm/3.5, Canon EF-S 10-18/4.5-5.6 IS STM, Canon EF-S 24/2.8 STM, Canon EF 40/2.8 STM, Canon EF 100mm/2.0 USM, Canon EF 70-300mm/4-5.6 L IS USM, Canon 77mm 500D Macro, Tamrac 614 Bag & 787 Backpack, Crumpler 8 MDH, 7 MDH, 6 MDH​photos/johnebersole/se​ts/ (external link)

1,347 posts
Likes: 948
Joined Aug 2012
Location: Southampton Hampshire UK
Aug 19, 2017 13:22 |  #5

Check out open areas with good backgrounds, in other words, not shooting dappled light, it can be a nightmare, especially with a few people. If you are shooting in dappled light, take lots of exposures, there's probably a good one in there somewhere! And remembet, posed shots, avoid trees growing out of heads :)

5DIII, 40D, 16-35L 35 ART 50 ART 100L macro, 24-70 L Mk2, 135L 200L 70-200L f4 IS
Hype chimping - The act of looking at your screen after every shot, then wildly behaving like it's the best picture in the world, to try and impress other photographers around you.

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Forest Shoot
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Kids & Family Talk 
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