The Right Equipment Will Work Wonders For Your Shoot
Is all this really necessary?
Equipment – Whilst it is not necessary to have the latest in Digital or Film SLR camera (Single Lens Reflex), if you are serious about photography, my tip would be to invest in this type of camera, especially the DSLR. The ability to change lenses amongst other things will greatly improve your standard of shots, and WHAT you can shoot.
If the house or room is fairly small, a wide-angle lens is probably a good idea, something like a 24-70mm will cover the range needed and an F2.8 aperture will help with low light. If you venture into the garden and the children are running wild, a mid-range telephoto/zoom lens such as the 70-200 would help capture those crazy moments. If lighting is low, a wide aperture (again, F2.8 is best) may be required.
To be honest, I wouldn’t suggest turning up to a paid job with a small compact digital anyhow!
Another reason for DSLR’s as opposed to compact digital cameras, is that point and shoot digital cameras have what is known as “Shutter lag”. This means that the photo can be taken as long as 2 seconds AFTER you have pressed the shutter, thereby increasing the chances of missing that “Got to have” photograph.
A good SLR will have little or no shutter lag meaning you get the shot as it happens.
So, my tip for the ideal equipment setup for child photography would be;
- Digital SLR – Prices can vary from a couple of hundred pounds to literally thousands. See our gear guide to find the kit suitable for you and your needs.
- Variety of Lenses such as 16-35mm zoom, a standard 50mm, 85mm or 100mm, and/or a 70-200mm zoom (or near equivalent). One or more of the lenses should be FAST, I.e. have a wide, constant aperture of 2.8 or better. This is explained more in the LIGHTING section but I would recommend the 70-200 2.8 in a flash for portrait photography…very versatile.
- Studio lights – 2 is best if you are going to use them, but you can get away with one light and a soft box or luminescent brolly. To save on space and bulk, try using two or three speedlights instead, with stands and smaller brollies or diffusers and definitely check out the TTL Pocket Wizards for wireless flash photography. I have these and rarely use my studio lights any more! See LIGHTING for more info.
- Flashgun – Necessary for fill in or bounce flash where the studio lights won’t go or as a complete replacement using the Pocket Wizards or similar.
- Spare batteries and Storage media/film – ALWAYS have back-up. There is nothing that will kill your credibility more than having to pack up and come back another day! Trust me! Get yourself a bunch of extra media cards and rechargeable batteries.
Of course, you can easily get away with just using a single speedlight bounced from the ceiling or other reflective surface but remember to use a diffuser if possible to make the light more flattering.
Also, if there is enough light in the room…natural light…use it for the best effect and lighting. Nothing beats “natural” and you will save a bundle on uneccessary equipment. Learn to “see” and use any available light to your advantage