Baby Photography: Tips for Lighting

If you are engaging in baby photography in some capacity, you will want to learn how to make the most out of your lighting options. Simply shining a bright light on a baby is probably not the best idea, both from the standpoint of image composition and for the temperament of your subject. By following the tips listed below, you should be well on your way to composing quality baby photography.

Soft Lighting Is Best

The light you use to illuminate your subjects should serve as a complement to the person you are photographing. Never is this more true than when shooting baby photography. With their soft skin, babies will look best under soft lighting conditions, as opposed to harsh, direct lighting. If you are using natural light, this will mean shooting in the early morning hours, in the hours before dusk in the evening, or in areas of your home or studio that are not exposed to direct lighting.

Low Light Tricks

If you are shooting in an environment when lighting conditions are dim, you will need to adjust your camera to a longer shutter speed. When you do this, however, you run the risk of producing blurry photographs if you are not careful. Since you cannot simply tell a baby to stay still and expect it to work, one way to minimize blurriness is to try and take your photographs when your baby is asleep. This will allow you to take ample time to set up and frame your shot properly and will minimize the movement of your subject.

Indirect Light

If you will be using a flash to create lighting effects for your baby photography, be aware that you should try to avoid aiming the flash directly at the baby you are photographing as much as possible. Direct flashes may temporarily impair the vision of your subject and/or startle him. This can easily result in a cranky baby, which is the last thing you want when you are attempting to take quality photographs. Instead of pointing a flash directly at your subject, which can also produce the type of harsh lighting that we warned against earlier, use a bounce flash aimed at the ceiling or wall next to you to bounce light off of and diffuse the intensity of the flash you are using.

Other Flash Options

If you do not have an external flashgun that can be angled towards the ceiling, you have other options to explore before simply aiming a flash directly at your subject. You can try diffusing the flash with a piece of tissue paper, which will produce the type of soft light that you will want. Additionally, you can adjust the ISO settings on your camera to make it more sensitive to the ambient lighting in your shooting location.

Digitally Edit

Shooting in natural or low-light conditions can often create coloration effects that you did not intend when taking photos. Sometimes your photos will have a yellowish hue that occurs in natural lighting conditions, for instance. To compensate for this, use a digital imaging software program to adjust the color on your photos to your liking.


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