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Photography Question 
Catherine Panebianco

Portrait in front of christmas tree

I am taking a portrait of a husband and wife and their dog in front of their Christmas tree during the daytime. I'm wondering what the best lighting set-up is for this? I'm assuming they'll want the tree lights on but there will be outdoor light coming in the windows. I have a Nikon D80 and a Speedlight SB-600. I'm looking for suggestions on how to light the scene so it looks most natural for the people and dog but still see the tree lit up. Thanks!!

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12/16/2008 5:11:54 PM

Hi Catherine,

A couple questions first: aren't there any curtains/drapes/blinds you can draw closed to shut out the daylight? Which way are those windows facing? Is there a white ceiling? Not too high? What time of day do you plan the shoot?

Have fun!

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12/16/2008 5:38:38 PM

Catherine Panebianco   I haven't been in their house in awhile but I'm prettysure there is something I could shut in terms of the windows like drapes. If they have the tree in the living room I think the windows would be to my back as photograher. I'm photographing them at 1 p.m. and I believe there is a white ceiling. Thanks!

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12/17/2008 5:08:10 AM

OK, draw those drapes, shoot from tripod (in RAW!) at ISO 100, bounce the SB600 via the ceiling, set aperture priority F/5.6, and use a slow shutter speed bracket at e.g. 1/30th, 1/15th, 1/10th, 1/5th to record the Xmas tree lights.

Unfortunately, since you don't seem to have a fill flash, your image will probably show some 'raccoon eyes'. But with that one flash gun you have a choice between, on the one hand, soft (bounced) light and raccoon eyes by bouncing, or, on the other hand harsh light, and hard and black shadows from direct flash light.

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12/17/2008 6:03:55 AM

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