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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Kids & Family Talk 
Thread started 18 Dec 2012 (Tuesday) 11:56
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Photographing kids indoors in natural light

 
Franz-Olof
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Dec 18, 2012 11:56 |  #1

Hi there,

Making this thread to spread the ideas of photographing (your own?) kids indoors in natural light. Like to share and learn tips and ideas about lenses, settings, post processing and what ever.

Don't know if this will catch on but let's see.

Please also post photos - both good and bad - so we can learn something.


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Franz-Olof
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Dec 18, 2012 12:34 |  #2

I read one excellent blog about this but just can't find it anymore...:(


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Scatterbrained
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Dec 18, 2012 12:50 |  #3

The question is, how old are the kids and what kind of indoor environment? In my house, natural light could mean high iso and a fast lens wide open, or if it's by a window I can stop down a bit and lower the iso. Either way it tends to be a little bit of hit and a lot of miss the older they get ;).

In my other house we had white linen curtains over a large window. This gave us great soft light in the afternoon. Anytime we would take pictures of the girls there it would be near a window or the glass sliding door in the kitchen. My current house has horrible natural light, so I have to boost the iso and use fast glass wide open. I prefer bouncing a flash instead however.


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G.Fraser
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Dec 18, 2012 13:41 |  #4

This thread should be great. Subscribed!


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Franz-Olof
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Dec 18, 2012 13:51 as a reply to  @ Scatterbrained's post |  #5

Yes, good points. It sure does make a difference I've quickly learned and started to embrace the two spots were windows give at least some light. Our house is quite dark.

Another thing: by natural light I did not mean to mean only sunlight (or moon) but also normal house hold lights. But I quess normally natural light would not invlude those, or how you guys interpret it?

Anyway the purpose was to not get mixed up too much with flash photography. That could be a good topic for another thread.

Our baby is just 11 months. At the mo I'm trying to find the suitable autofocus settings for action shots.

Just now I shot her running with 50 mm at 2.5 and 1/200 getting maybe 50% of pics in focus. Nifty fifty's focus speed felt a bit lacking in this - I don't know if that really is the case.


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Scatterbrained
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Dec 18, 2012 14:47 |  #6

I wouldn't expect every indoor shot of an active kid to be in focus. At least not with the lighting in my house. :lol: Your best bet is to wait until they are engaged in some activity, like sleeping. ;)

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Natasha Sleeping in the Family Room (external link) by tltichy (external link), on Flickr
:lol:

In all seriousness, when they have something that occupies them it also slows them down. This will give you more time to compose a shot:
IMAGE: http://farm2.staticflickr.com/1368/5139467689_71bb972605_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/tltichy/5139467​689/  (external link)
_MG_1155 (external link) by tltichy (external link), on Flickr
When they are playing or interacting with someone or something they will slow down. Granted you'll still have issues with DOF, which is why I've moved to bounced flash as my current abode has horrible light. Even in the summer I'm shooting at iso 1600 in the middle of the day without flash.

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sploo
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Dec 18, 2012 16:52 |  #7

My take (from chasing down a 3 and 1 year old nephew and niece respectively):

  • Relatively fast lens (e.g. nifty-fifty, or the f1.4). Usually stopped down a little (f2-f2.8) for a little bit more DOF and quality
  • Servo AF
  • High speed continuous (though I rarely fire off a burst... but just in case)
  • Accept high ISO for fast shutter speeds. Kids move. You're not just fighting motion blur and a frequent lack of light; shallow DOF due to a large aperture means the subject can move out of the plane of focus pretty quickly too. A bit of noise on a portrait shot isn't anywhere near as objectionable as a shot that's blurred or out of focus.
  • When the light levels drop too far for available light, use a decent flashgun, bounced off a wall or ceiling (aim the gun where you'd want your 'virtual light source' to be). Manual, 1/200s, ISO 100, and chimp the ISO, flash power and aperture to control light levels
  • Boosting the shadows in Lightroom seems to improve many of my shots, as well as a little lightening of the eyes with a targeted adjustment


And the most important thing - play! Get the kids comfortable with the camera and you. There's nothing more obvious, and worse, than a shot of a kid that's obviously nervous or self concious because some idiot is pointing this overly large shiny lens at them and trying to goad them into grinning.

I've found it's been useful to get the 3 year old to 'help' me take photos of his little sister & mum - liveview and a cable release (with me holding the camera) means can he engage, and understand it's just fun. I also spend a bit of time playing with both before I try to dive in with a camera - don't make a fuss about taking the shots - that just distracts them into unnatural behaviour.

An example (EXIF not present on that small version, but it's a 7D with a 50mm f1.4 at f2.2, 1/60s, ISO320):

IMAGE: http://spikyfish.com/IMG_2750-Edit.jpg

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G.Fraser
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Dec 19, 2012 02:34 |  #8

Whereabouts in Oxfordshire are you? I'm in (not so) sunny Wallingford.


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sploo
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Dec 19, 2012 03:10 |  #9

G.Fraser wrote in post #15384434 (external link)
Whereabouts in Oxfordshire are you? I'm in (not so) sunny Wallingford.

Didcot area, so pretty close.

If you could just PM me your address, and times when you'll be out, I'll come and... err... have a look at that nice set of camera gear you've listed :D.

(But seriously - nice kit. I'm trying to convince myself I can justify the EF 70-200mm f2.8 IS II for taking pics of the kids! Bit long on a crop indoors though.)


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G.Fraser
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Dec 19, 2012 03:14 |  #10

Ha I'll send yo a PM so not hijacking the thread :)


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Franz-Olof
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Dec 19, 2012 06:21 |  #11

Nice pics. And they remind me the importance of the moment. I try remind myself all the time to shoot all kinds of situations, not just the nice smiley ones.

Quite slow shutter times... I'm afraid to go over/under 1/125, usually start with 1/160 even for still moments.


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yipDog ­ Studios
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Dec 19, 2012 10:48 |  #12

Canon 1Dx 70-200 f2.8L USMII @ 125mm ISO2000 f2.8 1/125th lighting by Sun through window Processed in Aperture

IMAGE: http://yipdog.smugmug.com/Other/Misc-Stuff/i-x2Bszcf/0/L/BY8T0018-L.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://yipdog.smugmug.​com …457538&k=x2Bszc​f&lb=1&s=A  (external link)

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yipDog ­ Studios
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Dec 19, 2012 10:58 |  #13

1Dx with Canon 24-70 f2.8 USMII f4.0 ISO800 1/50 lighting by Sun through windows

This was our yearly trip to Bass Pro Outlet to get pics with Santa. I asked and they had no problem with me taking shots along side theirs. We did buy a couple of prints to show appreciation but this was between shots where my boys were making a lot of noise. My daughter Katy had just fallen asleep so Santa was trying to shhh the boys! Aperture is my main program. I further processed in NIK to get the image below the color one.

IMAGE: http://yipdog.smugmug.com/Other/Misc-Stuff/i-HwGKG7j/0/L/1DX_1962-L.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://yipdog.smugmug.​com …470746&k=HwGKG7​j&lb=1&s=A  (external link)

IMAGE: http://yipdog.smugmug.com/Other/Misc-Stuff/i-9W2TKpq/0/L/Katy%20with%20Santa-L.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://yipdog.smugmug.​com …739341&k=9W2TKp​q&lb=1&s=A  (external link)

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sploo
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Dec 19, 2012 11:02 |  #14

Franz-Olof wrote in post #15384719 (external link)
Quite slow shutter times... I'm afraid to go over/under 1/125, usually start with 1/160 even for still moments.

Yes, I quickly learnt that the 1-over-the-focal-length rule (even allowing 1.6x for the crop sensor) doesn't really work that well with kids. Similarly that's why IS is of limited value - it may stop you wobbling at 1/15s, but it sure ain't going to stop a kid.

I don't find ISO noise too objectionable for portrait work, so always favour higher ISO for a fast enough shutter speed if the available light is aesthetic. If it's not, then the flash comes out.

Oh, and you can always convert to black & white if the noise is high!


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Franz-Olof
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Dec 19, 2012 11:35 |  #15

sploo wrote in post #15385521 (external link)
Oh, and you can always convert to black & white if the noise is high!

True that! And it's then very artistic;)


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Photographing kids indoors in natural light
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