Lighting suggestions for newborn photography

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by alex_ethridge, Jan 5, 2018.

  1. alex_ethridge

    alex_ethridge TPF Noob!

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    Hey there!

    Hope everyone is having a wonderful Friday! I need some serious help with my lighting choices. I just can't seem to find the perfect lighting that will give me consistent portraits. I realize that that angle I choose to illuminate from determines my highlights and shadows but I am looking for that soft, feathered lighting that all the newborn photographers have been successful with. I think I may be interested in the big, round, 80inch Rotolux soft umbrella light? I just want to give soft lighting to the baby and not have such harsh shadows or lighting. I'm currently using a 30-something inch light box that is diffused somewhat. Any and all suggestions would be very helpful and appreciated!! :)


     
  2. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    That's huge and will be tough to work with in some locations. I've had great luck with diffused 52" bounce umbrellas -- already large for a tiny newborn.

    Do you have examples of current work, that will help immensely.
     
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  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Unless you're working exclusively in a studio, an 80" modifier will be VERY tough to use. Remember that the quality of light is as much a factor of the distance between the subject and the modifier as the size of the modifier. Bring your 30" in closer; say 2-3' and lower the output proportionally.
     
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  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    No,no,no,no. I have a 72-inch, 16-rib, parabolic, deep-dish Westcott umbrella. OMG...what a royal,regal PITA the thing is. Wayyyyyyyy too big and cumbersome in 90% of locations I've shot over the past four years. It will be literally impossible to properly use an 80-inch modifier in many homes.

    I get pretty nice, soft light from 40 to 43-inch umbrellas. Umbrellas are sometimes measured across the open face's width, while other manufacturers measure the entire length of the curved back side, so a "40-inch" and a "43-inch" umbrella could be pretty close to the same size.

    Look at the Lastolite Umbrella Box, or the Photek Softlighter II as good examples of excellent soft light umbrella boxes that are easy to work with. You can buy either one of those, of look on-line for Made in China look-alikes; Steve Kaeser Enterprises sells pairs of these for $29.95.
     
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  5. alex_ethridge

    alex_ethridge TPF Noob!

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    That makes a lot of sense. I will try that! Thank you SO much! :)
     
  6. alex_ethridge

    alex_ethridge TPF Noob!

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    Gosh, I never thought of that. That may be why I can never find anything by that size online when trying to purchase one. They are listed the way you said. Thank you SO much. This was extremely helpful! You are awesome!! I did some research and I think I will go with the one you suggested.
     
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  7. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I glanced at some of your photos and along with working on figuring out your indoor lighting you might benefit from continuing to learn and practice getting proper exposures on a consistent basis. Some photos from last summer where you'd commented about portfolio building look like some exposures may have been off. It might be good to practice by just getting out and taking pictures, not necessarily with subjects, so when you have subjects you'll be able to get consistent proper exposures.

    I'd also suggest you consider what props you're using to make sure they're large enough to hold a baby with enough room to allow movement. Those baskets often used tend to sometimes be too small for some babies and you don't want a baby hanging part way over the edge or in too tight to allow for any movement. I have a lot of years of experience in Early Intervention and I've seen props often used that are not what would be recommended for babies.

    Also using buckets etc. should be with a baby old enough to support weight on the legs, not with younger babies who can't yet do that. Actually those are not something we'd ever use with a baby, so it doesn't seem like a good choice for a picture. Make sure if you're using props that they're consistent with what's recommended to parents by health care professionals, not just props somebody 'out there' is trying to sell.
     
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  8. ronlane

    ronlane What's next? Supporting Member

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    For a baby, something like a 38 inch Octabox would be a large soft light source if put close to the subject. Something like this Parapop.

    I would also think that have a really good C Stand with boom would be something very useful for shooting babies. Just make sure that you get some sandbags to help balance the weight of the light and octabox. Wouldn't want that set-up falling on the baby now, safety first. (What I'm saying is don't skimp on the stand and boom if you are going to hang it close or over a baby.)
     
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  9. alex_ethridge

    alex_ethridge TPF Noob!

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    I just posted a new album called, "Miscellaneous 2017", with some highlights from my first year of photography...if you'd like to browse some of my work. Please note that it was my "first" year as you may find several mistakes in my lighting and other common photographic errors. :)
     
  10. alex_ethridge

    alex_ethridge TPF Noob!

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    Wow, thank you!! I definitely will take all of those pointers into consideration and try to apply those in my next shoot. It is so vital that I spend more time with my camera and learn my settings. Again, your criticism was very constructive and I appreciate that so much! :) I posted a new misc. album with some highlights from 2017 as my first year of photography to give you a better a idea of my poor lighting mistakes.
     
  11. alex_ethridge

    alex_ethridge TPF Noob!

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    Hey there! Oh yes, safety first, always! I don't buy cheap photography equipment for I look at it as an investment. I also have sand bags because you can never be too careful. I would absolutely hate for something to fall on one of my baby clients. Thank you for your suggestion. I will look into that! :)
     
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  12. alex_ethridge

    alex_ethridge TPF Noob!

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    I will take note of that. Thank you SO much for your help!! :)
     

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