Why I need flash equipment for extended family studio photos:

The winters in Seattle are dark and dreary but that doesn't mean your photos need to be! Sometimes, photographers adjust their ISO, a camera setting that can allow more light into the lens...but increasing the ISO will also increase the amount of grain in photos. Some photographers love grain, and that is their aesthetic, which is awesome, but it isn't consistent with the work you see on my website. My photography style is crisp, clean and vibrant. I bring flash equipment to studio and in home sessions so that I can control the amount of light in my photos. This is especially important in extended family studio photos because the person standing by the window will be well lit but the person standing furthest from the window will be in darkness. By introducing flash, I can illuminate my families properly and evenly.

Family laughing together in a studio in Seattle.
Grandparents with their adult children laughing in an indoor Seattle studio.

The flash equipment I bring for extended family studio photos:

We found this gorgeous space that could accommodate three generations here. I wanted my off camera flash equipment to mimic window light and provide soft, flattering and natural looking light. I brought my huge parabolic umbrella as my modifier because it would create light most similar to soft window light. Here is the equipment needed for our extended family studio photos:

  • Godox AD 200 Flash
  • Westcott 7 feet White Diffusion Parabolic Umbrella
  • Heavy Duty Lightstand
  • Godox S Type Bracket Bowens Mount (to hold the flash on the lightstand)
  • Godox XProS TTL Wireless Flash Trigger (goes onto your camera to communicate with the flash)
Posed extended family studio photo in Seattle.
Grandparents cuddle together.
Portrait of grandparents in the mirror.

Where I place my flash for studio photos:

The studio windows provided some light for the family members closest to the window. I placed my flash on the side opposite the windows, to illuminate the family members who would have otherwise, not gotten any light onto them from the window. I aimed the flash straight on or at a 45 degree angle from the family. When I photographed individual family units (3-4 people), my flash was positioned close to the family. The more people I added, the farther away my flash was, in order to spread the light so that it illuminated every single member for extended family studio photos.

Close up photo of grandparents holding hands at a Seattle studio.
Adult sisters hugging and smiling for the camera in Seattle.

Are you up for trying flash?

Flash is such a game changer for me! Instead of stressing about whether I have enough light for indoor sessions and cranking up my camera's ISO, I can confidently go into any session, knowing I can reproduce photos consistent with my photography style. If it's a bright sunny day and the studio or home has floor to ceiling north facing windows, I don't need flash. But on dark, dreary days, or in homes where particular rooms have sentimental value (ex: baby nursery) with minimal light, flash is an amazing tool to have.

Here is an example of when I introduced flash for an in home newborn session. Some of the photos used window light and some of the photos used flash. Can you tell the difference? Probably not, because when used correctly, it's very difficult to distinguish!

If flash is something you want to learn, Click Photo School has really great courses to check out. If you have any questions about flash, please reach out and I'd love to chat! Take care!