Home is where the art is
You should find it fairly quick to set up a studio in your front room – controlling the light is the key
01 Fix the umbrella
Flashguns are a small light source, so the light is hard and unflattering. Fixed in front of your Speedlight, a white umbrella transforms the harsh light into a bank of soft, diffused illumination. Attach your flash to a tripod using the thread in its stand, then rig an umbrella in front of it.
03 Get connected
If your flashgun is compatible, you can control it wirelessly with your camera’s pop-up flash. If not, use a sync lead or remote trigger. Go to Menu>Flash Control for Built-In Flash>Commander Mode. Set Built-in to -- and pick a power for Group A. Set the flash to Remote mode, Group A.
05 Shoot at eye level
Portraits taken at eye level create a connection between viewer and subject, so when taking photos of children, get down to their level. It might mean you need to crawl around on the floor, but it results in much better portraits than shots taken from an adult’s point of view.
02 Set up the living room
You’ll need a plain wall to shoot against. White or cream is best, but other colours can work too. Clear enough room so that you can shoot from at least a couple of metres away; if you’re too close then you’ll have to use a wide-angle lens, which will result in distortion.
04 Quality counts
When using flash, the high light levels mean that you should almost always set your ISO to 100. Use Manual mode, and set your shutter speed to about 1/200 sec. Set the aperture to f/11 and take a test shot. Adjust the aperture or flash power as needed to get the correct exposure.
06 Try a wide aperture
Shoot a selection of poses, then try some close-ups. The great thing about flash is that it lets you control depth of field. A high flash power and narrow aperture gives more depth of field, while a low flash power and wide aperture makes it shallower, which is ideal for close-ups.