Infants Photography with simple lighting setup

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by pensacolaphoto, Sep 11, 2003.

  1. Hi,
    I would really appreciate your suggestions for a successful photo
    shoot of two 4 month old babies who cannot sit up yet. The mother of
    the babies only wants small reprints, so I figured there is no need
    to use MF cameras and instead I want to use my Canon T90 camera with
    two TTL flashes and a reflector. Could you give me some tips on how
    to set up a simple portrait in the babies' home. A sketch or
    description of the lighting setup is needed. I seem to get some
    shadows when trying out infant portraits. Unlike most portraits for
    adults and children who are standing up or sitting for portraits, I
    will have two babies who can't do either. Thanks ....
  2. I can't give you much info on lighting set-up as I use natural light, fill-in or reflector with infant shots...BUT as far as positioning goes, ask the parents if they have a "boppy" (most new parents do.) It is a crescent-shaped firm pillow used for supporting the infant while feeding. I cover it with a sheet or favorite (neutral) blanket and support the baby that way. If you position the baby semi-sitting, watch for slouching. A 4 month old probably has pretty good head control and is almost sitting on their own. You can also prop them on their chest on the boppy for an alternative. Experiment with different perspectives. I like to photograph babies lying on the floor (cushioned) while I am at a high vantage point. I think the boppy technique would work with twins, depending on their size. A few shots with them scrunched close together could be quite cute. good luck.
  3. Hi Dena,
    Thanks for your advices. I have a Boppy and I will place a white muslin sheet over it. As for natural lighting, it is my favorite method, but when you do shoots in someone's home, you may not have total control over location, windows, or the weather. I will hope for sunshine, but I must be prepared for possible bad weather, and then use artificial light.

  4. [​IMG]<
    Four months is tough - you'll have a hard time stopping them from toppling sideways out of the frame or onto each other. My twins were a bit older when this was taken, but it shows the technique.
    Prop them up at a 45 angle to avoid that goggle-eyed jowley look you get when they're lying down. If they're older you can get them to sit up, but restrict their sideways movement with cushions or bolsters.
    Provide a broad wrap-around light: this was taken with a big window on the viewer's left, and my wife with a bedsheet on the right. Simplify the background by covering all the props with a low-texture cloth or blanket. I had help from the low DOF of 6x6 too.
    Finally, take lots of frames and be prepared to pounce if a cute expression or interaction turns up - cuteness is worth almost any amount of camera shake or poor light. Also, if this is a non-commercial favour edit ruthlessly before showing them to the mother - otherwise she'll want 10x8s of every single shot.
    Here's how not to do it :)
  5. I asked a similar question a while back and got some useful tips. Please visit

    FYI, I'm right there with you with two small boys at home. I have yet to achieve the type of portraits I'm looking for, mostly because of lack of time and effort, but some day...
  6. or let's make that easier
  7. Hello, Thanks for the very useful suggestions and also Patrick's earlier discussion. I will do my best not to get over-exited and stay "cool" during the photo session. I am rather new to baby photography, but have a lot of experience with nature photography. If lucky, the mother of the twins will live in a house with large windows from which a lot light will enter the house, and the twins will be happy and relaxed .... :) I am still debating whether I should use a medium format camera since the mother only wants reprints up to 8x10. I love the photos from my Rolleflex TLR, but I know that with babies it may be better to use 35mm cameras for mobility.
  8. Raid,

    "I am still debating whether I should use a medium format camera since the mother only wants reprints up to 8x10. I love the photos from my Rolleflex TLR, but I know that with babies it may be better to use 35mm cameras for mobility."

    4 month olds are usually not very mobile... They will get more mobile as they get older and you will need some way of keeping them in the shot and keeping them happy - an older sibling is good for this. I don't have a good example scanned of the former but here are 'my three sons'.


    Jim Seaman
  9. Our little Jacob is 12 weeks old. I shot these last Friday. Jake is his most "happy" in the morning, so we thought we'd give it a "practice" try. I don't have any fancy lighting equipment, though I'd love 2 550EX's and a Photoflex setup. Anyway, I shot the Black-and-white one with my Canon Elan IIe & 50mm 1.8. I have the Canon 380EX flash with a softbox mounted on it. Please pardon the specky photo. This is a negative scan, but the processor scratched the negatives. The print I made in the darkroom looks much better - I dodged the background quite a bit, making it much lighter. I only have a film scanner, so I can't scan the print. Anyway, I'd like to know your suggestions on how to make this better. I know the shadow of his chin is distracting - what would you suggest to fix this?
  10. Here's another - I belive somebody posted a note on "how not to shoot a baby photo" that looked a lot like this. I have this plan to construct some sort of contraption that would surround him with reflectors (homemade using this white plastic sheeting I have) but I just haven't got around to it yet. Maybe that's insane and I shouldn't proceed...who knows. He's laying in the middle of the dining room floor, right next to the patio window...all natural lighting. I did use a reflector a bit, but I'm still learning how to use it effectively. I'd love to know how I should improve this, too. No, I'm not trying to be a pro here - I just want some nice photos to send to grandparents, etc...
  11. Kristopher
    I saw your B/W photo on another forum and if I remember correctly you received some good input and ideas. I agree with one poster who thought the pose was a bit cliche. I guess I've never quite understood the appeal of a blanket on a baby's head, maybe it's just me...
    Anyway, in response to your second photo, I've attached one of my versions of the baby on the floor (or "how NOT to do it") and I honestly think it works. I like the lighting on your color photo, keep working with that as a starting point. Perhaps just play around with more original poses. BTW, grandparents are going to LOVE every photo you send them. Good luck with your cute kid!

    okay, never mind, I can't find my reduced size photo on my hard drive at this moment -lame-o take a look at my portfolio, the pics are under Single Photos folder. sorry for the goose chase.
  12. I am pleased to inform you that the photo session went really well with the twins, and their mother was very happy about the results. Thanks for all your tips here.

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