This is our first how to for our new blog, first up is this photo of beautiful 10 week old baby boy Billy.
For this shoot I knew I wanted to go for a nice shallow depth of field which meant shooting at low aperture, for this one I shot at f2.8 with a shutter speed of 1/250 of a second which is my cameras maximum sync speed and an iso of 100 again the minimum.
For babies you generally want really nice soft light which means making the light source as large (think surface area not power) as possible.
Light 1 (Main Light / Key Light)
For my key light I chose to use a smallish soft box in nice and close rather then a large soft box because I knew I would be moving the light a fair bit depending on where the baby was looking at, at this age there isn’t much point getting the squeaky toys out so it is easier to move the set up then risk getting the bub being upset for no reason. The downside of having the light so close was that it was putting out too much light to keep my f2.8 so I had a few options, I could move the light further away which would decrease the power but make it a harder light source, I could stop down my lens (letting less light through the lens), use neutral density filters on the lens which would let less light in as well as let me keep my DOF but that means more things between my lens and sensor or the final option which I chose being to put another defuser in front of the the main light. For this I used a Lastolite tri grip 2 stop defuser in front of the soft box held up with a super clamp on a light stand.
Light 2 (Fill Light)
For this I used a second small easy to move soft box pushed back until there was just enough light to soften the shadows.
Light 3 (Back Light)
This 3rd light was an optional light in the set up which I didn’t end up using. The idea of it was to allow me to “blow out” the background if I wanted to create a solid white.
Props & Staging
I use a very solid pine coffee table with my different covers hidden just to the side so I can change them around quickly and easily as well as rolls of seamless paper for the background. When looking for surfaces or covers I look for various textures and colours, this is of course all personal preference but for this shoot I ended up using a loose weave off white blanket folded over a couple of times.
This set up is very quick and versatile and makes it very easy to make adjustments and fine tuning during photos which is why I went for it over a more elaborate set up.