One Year Old Photos Combining Natural Light and a Single Strobe

Updated: Apr 13, 2018

Combining natural light with fill flash is a great way to produce well lit images. During this shoot I used natural light in my home along with a 40 inch umbrella softbox and 70-200 zoom to create warm, well lit photos.


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When photographing kids who crawl and walk, the best game plan is often to stand back and let them do their thing while using a zoom lens. During this session, I used my Sigma 70-200 2.8 a lot so I could step back and not distract my subject. I gave her parents instructions on where to lure her, and we let her hang out and have fun.


After first arriving, Reagan was engaged and somewhat posable. Her parents set her on a fancy chair and I took photos while she laughed at her parents being silly. I used the Yongnuo YN-E3-RT to control my Canon 600EX-RT in an umbrella softbox to her left. Natural light from the windows behind her helped light the seen and add some warmth.


GEAR: Canon 6D, Canon 50mm 1.8, Canon 600EX-RT, Yongnuo YN-E3-RT, PBL 40in Umbrella Softbox, Manfrotto 1004BAC Light Stand

SETTINGS: 1/100 sec at f/2.2, ISO 400


Next we moved to a large sliding glass door window in my home. The tree design on the shades made a great background. We placed a textured blanket on the floor under Reagan. The natural light from the window created wonderful even light and the umbrella softbox added fill and glow to her face and outfit.

GEAR: Canon 6D, Sigma 70-200 2.8, Canon 600EX-RT, Yongnuo YN-E3-RT, PBL 40in Umbrella Softbox, Manfrotto 1004BAC Light Stand

SETTINGS: 1/100 sec at f/2.8, ISO 400



For the next photo, I used the same setup but added a mirror to the mix. Reagan loved holding the mirror and looking at her reflection as well as her mom who helped hold the mirror. I stepped back and captured her expressions.

GEAR: Canon 6D, Sigma 70-200 2.8, Canon 600EX-RT, Yongnuo YN-E3-RT, PBL 40in Umbrella Softbox, Manfrotto 1004BAC Light Stand

SETTINGS: 1/180 sec at f/2.8, ISO 400


For this photo, Reagan was just standing at our coffee table. The room has dark red walls and my entertainment center has sparkle LED lights on it. Natural light from the windows and the still connected 600EX-RT to my right were enough light to light up Reagan's face while leaving the background dark with the exception of the sparkle LED lights. I don't expect anyone to purposely setup an umbrella like this - I wanted to include this photo to illustrate that we were having a casual time, I wasn't obsessing over equipment, and i resulted in great shots between posed ones.


GEAR: Canon 6D, Sigma 70-200 2.8

SETTINGS: 1/180 sec at f/2.8, ISO 400


Like the photo above, this photos was a result of me continuing to photograph as Reagan explored my living room. Here she is standing in font of the glass doors and turned around to look at me. My flash was still connected and may have flashed but the natural light from the window provided the majority of the light in this photo.


GEAR: Canon 6D, Sigma 70-200 2.8

SETTINGS: 1/180 sec at f/2.8, ISO 400



Finally, we wanted some photos with a sign celebrating Reagan's first year. This photo has natural light from the sun in the back right combined with the umbrella softbox filling in shadows from the left. The sun was filtered through trees, so you won't notice too much harsh light.

GEAR: Canon 6D, Sigma 70-200 2.8, Canon 600EX-RT, Yongnuo YN-E3-RT, PBL Umbrella Softbox, Manfrotto 1004BAC Light Stand

SETTINGS: 1/1000 sec at f/3.2, ISO 400


This shoot made me thankful that my wife and I keep our home clean and furnish it with photo photogenic decor like the sheer drapes on the doors and twinkle lights on the entertainment center. When buying and decorating a home, I recommend keeping these things in mind if possible. Your home will be the scene for many of your family's photos for years to come.


I hope these photo examples help with your own photography! I'm happy to answer questions in the comments below!


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