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| Re: Best way to improve light for indoor kid shots? |
Sounds like you're covering the bases and already have a pretty good understanding of the pros and cons of the different techniques.
One thing you didn't specifically mention though is just using bounce flash. If you haven't done much bounce-flash photography, you may be amazed with what you can accomplish. There is the standard, off-the-ceiling bounce but you don't have to limit yourself to that. Try bouncing off walls or whatever is handy. About the only thing that doesn't usually work (although there are exceptions) is to bounce off the floor.
I have seen wedding photogs here on FM that do this almost exclusively for their indoor shots and the results are impressive. I have heard of wedding photogs bouncing off a best man's white shirt so you can get pretty creative.
Often times what really makes these shots work is properly balancing the flash power with the ambient lighting. You want to use the light-modeling aspects of the flash without losing the "fill" of the ambient (and creating a "cave" photo). This may be where you main challenge will be since you have a moving youngster and low ambient light. You will probably need to jack-up your ISO and use a wide aperture in this situation.
Pros of bounce:
- Not much extra equipment to mess with other than the flash
- Not as unwieldy as a diffuser/fong dome/whatever although the Demb you mention is probably one of the least unwieldy in that regard.
- Can give you some nice diffuse, yet directional light that is possible better than lighting the whole room with diffuse light.
- You can add a filter to the flash to balance to your most-common indoor lighting type (incandescent, flourescent, etc.).
- Easy to set-up. Maybe no real set-up at all other than positioning the flash head if you already have the flash attached. Don't underestimate this point in particular. If you make it too complicated, you will miss spur-of-the-moment shots and you may even find it impacts you willingness to go to the trouble.
- You're at home so probably no 20-foot ceilings that might make your flash power problematic.
Cons of bounce:
- You obviously don't have as much control as with off-camera flash (but setting up off-camera flash for a moving target is not going to be easy anyway).
- You may get some color casts if bouncing off things that aren't white/neutral grey but hey, you are in sort of a compromise situation anyway. If it was me, I would prioritize for "moment" #1, decent lighting/tonality #2, and then somewhere after that worry about color casts from the bounce. You can always try to do some color correction in post if you're up for that or go with black and white.
Anyway, I hope that gives you some ideas. Have fun.