Advice for shooting small kids in front of a Christmas tree

kat.hayes

EOS T7i
Nov 25, 2014
76
0
I'm still new to photography and am going to photograph a 3-yr old and a 10-month old together in front of a Christmas tree tonight. I'm going to use a 5DM3 and a 24-70mm. I also have a 600EX-RT and a large, and an extra large Flash Bender. The lighting in the room is very yellowish/warm.

What is the best strategy for getting photos of the kids while not washing out the lights from the tree? I could use a longer exposure with a tripod but then I risk motion blur from the kids moving. Will the extra large Flash Bender with the diffusion panel maintain the ambient lighting from the tree? I was thinking of shooting wide open at 2.8 to let more light in and create some blur in the background, while using Evaluative metering to account for the lighting and the kids in the front, though I'm not sure what to do with the shutter and I will just adjust ISO and needed. Would it be better to have the kids closer or farther from the tree?

Thanks for any help.
 

snappy604

EOS RP
Jan 25, 2017
257
120
"Advice for shooting small kids in front of a Christmas tree"

Not a very festive activity ;-)

There are many ways. I'm sure there are more qualified people to answer this than I.

However, I'd probably put it to MANUAL, pump the ISO up to about 1600 (noise won't be much of an issue for that camera at that iso), open the Aperture to 2.8 (if it's enough DoF) and then adjust the shutter speed until you get the right light level on your meter. If it goes above 1/250th use high speed sync on the flash. I'd also adjust the flash to use as a fill and using TTL I'd ask it to detect as much as 1 stop lower so it's a more subtle fill vs overwhelming.

Take a test shot or two before trying to pose the kids.. their attention/cooperation span is very small, so best to get your light levels in place before trying to take the pics.
 

zim

EOR R
Oct 18, 2011
1,863
53
snappy604 said:
"Advice for shooting small kids in front of a Christmas tree"

Not a very festive activity ;-)
;D ;D ;D Thanks for best laugh of the day
 

bereninga

EOS RP
Apr 16, 2013
269
1
kat.hayes said:
Would it be better to have the kids closer or farther from the tree?
This depends on how bokeh-licious you want the photo to be. If you're looking for more bokeh, they should sit further from the tree. If you want a more environmental shot, they should sit closer to it.

snappy604 said:
Take a test shot or two before trying to pose the kids.. their attention/cooperation span is very small, so best to get your light levels in place before trying to take the pics.
LOL This is great advice. I usually use a stuffed animal or something as a test subject. Once you're ready and have your kids in place, get ready to do some rapid firing. hahaha Good luck!
 

brad-man

Semi-Reactive Member
Jun 6, 2012
1,315
85
S Florida
bereninga said:
snappy604 said:
Take a test shot or two before trying to pose the kids.. their attention/cooperation span is very small, so best to get your light levels in place before trying to take the pics.
LOL This is great advice. I usually use a stuffed animal or something as a test subject. Once you're ready and have your kids in place, get ready to do some rapid firing. hahaha Good luck!

I would get the kids to pose by the tree by baiting them with candy. Or would that be unethical?
 

PKinDenmark

EOS 80D
Apr 5, 2013
101
10
Let me enter here with a picture and my view on the situation and the settings.
I was at a kindergarten's Christmas party to photograph and catch the good mood.
Moving around fly-on-the-wall-like as much as possible. Hence handheld, no flash, no instructions.

I found this little guy fully immersed in the wonders of the tree and the decorations. So I had the opportunity to make several shots - of which I selected this one. By the way I was almost IN the tree to get this.
Would have been next to impossible (for me at least) to get this intense expression in a staged setup.

Details: Canon 6D, EF 50mm 1.4 @ Manual, f/2.0, 1/80s, ISO=1600
 

Attachments

Arty

EOS T7i
Jun 5, 2014
62
1
I usually look to natural or existing light and my 35F2 IS for this sort of shot, but I have used the 50 F1.4 at F2.

For flash, if you have white walls, you can direct the flash behind you or almost straight up, use manual exposure, and test out a few shots. I would start with 1/200 (or 1/160), ISO 800 and F8. See if this works. You can adjust ISO and aperture to give you what is needed.
 

old-pr-pix

EOS RP
Dec 26, 2011
391
33
OP... so how did it go? My experience, 1/40 is absolute slowest shutter if kids are 'still' otherwise 1/80 is better. Select ISO and aperture to get the DOF & tree lights right, then use flash for freezing motion and fill. Did you happen to try the 600 EX pointed straight up with just the integral white card for fill? Flash Bender may be too much to look natural. Everyone kids me, but I happen to like the old style Gary Fong 'Tupperware' thingy for such shots. (Yes, I know he is a huckster, but it is still a useful product for many casual family shots.)
 

CanonFanBoy

EOS 5D SR
Jan 28, 2015
4,080
1,624
Irving, Texas
brad-man said:
bereninga said:
snappy604 said:
Take a test shot or two before trying to pose the kids.. their attention/cooperation span is very small, so best to get your light levels in place before trying to take the pics.
LOL This is great advice. I usually use a stuffed animal or something as a test subject. Once you're ready and have your kids in place, get ready to do some rapid firing. hahaha Good luck!

I would get the kids to pose by the tree by baiting them with candy. Or would that be unethical?
LOL! You'll make them dependent and they'll fail to launch when the time comes. ;)