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Kids' Portraits

By  Sep 8, 2009

Topics: Digital Photography

Question: Joe, I am looking to get a basic kit for doing portraits of my kids' school events. What's the bare minimum I need as far as lighting goes? (I have a D80 and an SB600 already.)

Answer: Okay, first things first. You need a better flash. 600 is okay, but cannot be a master and has no port for an external battery pack. It is an okay flash at the price, but will be frustrating as a light source, ultimately. You can use your D80 as the commander flash (via the built in) and program that to drive the 600 as say, a background light.

What I would advocate is acquiring either a pair of SB800 units off Ebay or a used camera site, or spring for a new 900 with an 800 coming in as a fill light. Light shaping tools are hard to predict, given I don’t know your style of portraiture, but the Lumiquest light shapers for small flash are cool, as are the Honl attachments for shaping and controlling light. Bring along a diffuser such as a hand held Tri-grip, or a swatch of white bedsheet material, and you could be fast, mobile and render pretty sophisticated results with a bunch of stuff that fits in a camera bag. 

Ask me a question so I can answer it in a future post on this blog.