Critique please - Newborn photos

runnergirl

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Hello, I posted a few weeks back about wanting advice about newborn photography. I want to take some nice photos of my nephew for my sister (who is due in a couple weeks!) as a gift. I am very much a beginner and have a Sony alpha-200. I also have an external flash but did not use it for these photos because the natural light was pretty bright. My friend let me take a few pics of her new baby as a mini practice session and I thought I would look for input.

First I will say what my own critique is. I set the camera to aperture priority and set it to F/5 because I wanted the background to blur a little. I think I did not do a great job of focusing. Also I would not put such bright colors near the baby's face in the future because I think it draws away from the subject. I like the second photo more than the first photo because I think the skin tone looks warmer...I did find that minute to minute the light quality changed because of clouds passing by, etc, so I am not sure yet how to control for that (maybe for my sister I will hang a white sheet in the window). I will have much more time with my sister's baby because I will be visiting for 5 days, whereas with this baby I was only visiting my friend for an hour or two. I would have liked to get some photos of her sleeping but she was just too awake at the time. :) I would appreciate any input anyone has for how to do a better job because this was a practice session for me. Thanks!


$DSC00773.jpg
F/5, 1/25, ISO 400

$DSC00787_2.JPG
F/5.6, 1/13, ISO 400
 

Phil_G

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Can you put your F-stop lower than 5? I always like to check out other photogs sites to get ideas on posses and such. to much pink in the pictures for my taste.
 

MTVision

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runnergirl said:
Hello, I posted a few weeks back about wanting advice about newborn photography. I want to take some nice photos of my nephew for my sister (who is due in a couple weeks!) as a gift. I am very much a beginner and have a Sony alpha-200. I also have an external flash but did not use it for these photos because the natural light was pretty bright. My friend let me take a few pics of her new baby as a mini practice session and I thought I would look for input.

First I will say what my own critique is. I set the camera to aperture priority and set it to F/5 because I wanted the background to blur a little. I think I did not do a great job of focusing. Also I would not put such bright colors near the baby's face in the future because I think it draws away from the subject. I like the second photo more than the first photo because I think the skin tone looks warmer...I did find that minute to minute the light quality changed because of clouds passing by, etc, so I am not sure yet how to control for that (maybe for my sister I will hang a white sheet in the window). I will have much more time with my sister's baby because I will be visiting for 5 days, whereas with this baby I was only visiting my friend for an hour or two. I would have liked to get some photos of her sleeping but she was just too awake at the time. :) I would appreciate any input anyone has for how to do a better job because this was a practice session for me. Thanks!

<img src="http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=8067"/>
F/5, 1/25, ISO 400

<img src="http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=8068"/>
F/5.6, 1/13, ISO 400

I'm on my phone so I can only see a small thumbnail.

Did you use a tripod for these shots? 1/13 is too slow for a handheld shot and is really to slow IMO for a living thing. You should've used the flash. The natural light may have looked bright to you but it obviously wasn't to the camera of you had your ISO set to 400 and couldn't get a faster shutter speed.

Do you have anyway to get your flash off the camera? I find that always works better. And natural light does change constantly but by using supplemental light you can control the lighting better.

The shutter speed could be a reason you had focusing issues.

Have you looked at other newborn pictures?you can some great ideas/inspiration from them. A lot of the newborn pictures with crazy poses (head in hands/hanging from things) are all composites.


Edit: also when shooting babies/children try not to shoot down on them. Get right down on their level. The colors in the 1st picture are completely different then the 2nd. Not sure if you edited these but watch that.
 
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runnergirl

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Thanks. Yeah I have a tripod and external flash and should definitely use them. It seemed bright at the time, but the little session did teach me to check and see what my camera is doing and reassess if I need more light.

And I definitely noticed the color difference...which was due to the changing light. The most important thing I was missing was time... I only had about 20 minutes with her before the baby got upset and I think my friend was exhausted. I have checked out lots of other newborn photos but didn't really have time to try other poses. I unfortunately can't set the fstop lower but hopefully with better light I can get better focus. I'm having trouble learning how to bounce the flash...it's tricky!
 

MTVision

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runnergirl said:
Thanks. Yeah I have a tripod and external flash and should definitely use them. It seemed bright at the time, but the little session did teach me to check and see what my camera is doing and reassess if I need more light.

And I definitely noticed the color difference...which was due to the changing light. The most important thing I was missing was time... I only had about 20 minutes with her before the baby got upset and I think my friend was exhausted. I have checked out lots of other newborn photos but didn't really have time to try other poses. I unfortunately can't set the fstop lower but hopefully with better light I can get better focus. I'm having trouble learning how to bounce the flash...it's tricky!

Can the flash head twist around? Like can you point it at a wall behind you??
 

ClintBalsam

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The images are certainly not bad.

Technical critiques:

There's a white balance issue and the photos are in desperate need of some post processing. Also it's true that 1/13th and 1/20th are FAR too slow if you're not using a flash. Especially hand held, I'd say keep it about 1/100th sec.
 

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