I am so glad this family chose to have an indoor portrait session this year, as it allowed me to test out new skills I’ve been working on learning. For most of my photography career, I’ve considered myself a natural light photographer. Most of my family portrait sessions are outdoors, but I also love shooting indoor portrait sessions for families and newborns. I’m obsessed with light and love exploring all the ways I can incorporate natural light into my photography.
But sometimes, natural light doesn’t give me what I want. I love using natural light at indoor portrait sessions, given that there are enough windows (and daylight) to allow enough light to enter the rooms. But sometimes, I find that light lacking. I can generally make do with the light available, but sometimes it’s just not the prettiest, and I wish I had more control over the light.
My journey to flash photography
So I set a goal to become more comfortable using a flash, when necessary. It started last summer when I somehow let one of my best friends talk me into photographing her sister’s wedding. (I don’t shoot weddings). I knew that shooting a dark reception would require flash, so I started working on getting better at using one. It was a learning experience and got me more comfortable shooting other dark indoor events, like this Quinceanera.
But at this point, I was only using flash when I had no other choice. I decided it was time to start creating my own light when maybe the natural light was passable, but not the prettiest, like sometimes at indoor sessions. So I’ve been taking an online class on off-camera flash and playing around with using a flash in more circumstances.
An indoor portrait session – the perfect time to use what I’ve learned
This family indoor portrait session was the perfect chance to use some of the things I’d learned. I met this family at their outdoor winter session two years ago, that ended up being one of my favorites of the season. I loved being able to photograph this beautiful family again – this time in their own home. It’s so much fun to have the kids show me their rooms, and get to know another side of them just by exploring their environments.
The living room was a bit dark, so I used off-camera flash for the photos we took in there. Abigail’s room had beautiful window light, so I just used the natural light in her room. But Eliot’s room faced another direction was a bit darker, so I did use the flash in her room. The flash was a great option that allowed me to get some fun action shots of her jumping on her bed. The movement might have been blurry without the flash in the darker room.
A chance to get creative
I was happy to be able to increase the available light in the house when I wanted to, but the most fun came when we went outside! I was always jealous of wedding photographers who post the fun rain shots with flash because most of my clients postpone their sessions when it rains. (It’s easier to defer family photos than your wedding day). But since this was mostly an indoor session, I was kind of hoping for rain so I could give it a try. The girls were kind enough to go out in the rain with me to get the shot. I wish it had been raining harder, but even the sprinkling gave a fun look to our umbrella shots.
I wanted to get a photo of Eliot riding her bike because that is something she does a lot at home, and I wanted to capture that time for her family. Since it stopped sprinkling, she grabbed the bike for a few shots. Usually, it would have been getting too dark outside for me to get a good picture, particularly of a moving child on a bike. But adding the flash allowed me to not only capture her movement with plenty of light, but it also allowed me to balance the cool, moody clouds in the background.
So I think I will begin to consider flash more as an option, not only for indoor sessions but for fill light or fun effects at outdoor sessions as well. You can still expect most of my shots at outdoor photoshoots to be with natural light, but don’t be surprised if I pull out the flash once in a while.
Time is running out to book your 2019 family portrait session
Speaking of sessions, if you haven’t booked yours for this year but intend to, please don’t wait. There are only a few spots left, and I don’t want you to miss out! I hate turning people away in the fall, but editing a session takes a lot of time, and there are just only so many I can do. You can choose a traditional outdoor photo session, or schedule an indoor portrait session like this one. Book yours today.
Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow. Anthony J. D’Angelo