Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Child Photography

Child Photography, especially baby's is rough. They move, wiggle, squirm, and just plain don't cooperate. I photographed Christian (the little boy you see above) last night. He is only a week old in the photos, and can barely hold his head up. You can see the evidence of this in the tea cup photo. In retrospect I think I would have done better to fill the cup with a towel or two and laid him more on his back. Anyway, this shoot was especially tough because he had just woke up and was cranky. The key here was to shoot fast and get the exposure right the first time. My setup was a SB-600 on a stand with a shoot through umbrella to the camera left, as well as a SB-800 on the floor to camera right for a little fill. I shot at 1/120th of a second at f/4.0. All in all it was a fun little shoot, Eric(Christians father) has been my friend since we were infants(our mothers were friends since high school). I was really happy to be able to do the first shots of the little guy.

I know many of you have signed up for our workshop on Saturday but we have two slots left. I'm going to put this offer out there to you, if you bring another person that wants to learn to the workshop, we'll cut your cost from $50 down to $30. If any of you know anyone that wants to learn about photography, and the workings of a SLR, bring them along.

So on to some lighting. Today lets talk a little about off camera lighting. Specifically The Nikon CLS system. The Nikon CLS system is the wireless system made by Nikon that incorporates Nikon speed lights, and Nikon camera's (above the D60). All camera's above the D60 have built in wireless "commander" capability built in, meaning that you can place your camera in commander mode and set your flash to remote and trigger it wireless up to 30feet away. They have to be within line of sight of each other to work because the use infrared to trigger. For the guys and gals shooting with the D40,D40x or the D60 don't worry you too can use the CLS system. The way for you to do it is with the use of the SB800 speed light. This unit can be set as the "master" and send the wireless trigger to the other flash units. There is a unit called the SU800 that will work as a master for you guys, but I prefer the SB800 because of it's addition of the use of flash when not doing off camera flash. The big advantage of being able to get the light off of camera is to control shadows. To get beautiful side light, or a wonderful butterfly shadow, you have to place the light at a significant distance and angle away from the lens. There are whole DVD's on this topic including Nikon's newest DVD "A hands on guide to Creative Lighting put on by Joe McNally, one of the most renowned photographers in America. He goes into extreme description on how to set, use, and push your speed lights to the limit.

The other really nice thing about the Nikon CLS system is the ability to control all flash units from the master unit or on the camera itself. This allows you to quickly and accurately adjust your light output without going to each individual flash. There are many many other things that are great about this system. We're going to go really in depth about all of this in our advanced workshop next month. Stay tuned for more info on that coming up. Until then I'm off to get some dinner, but I'll try to have a follow up post sometime this week about the more advanced settings. Jason

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