O.K, so what do you do when you don’t have ideal lighting situations and its raining outside? You improvise of course! When I take pictures of newborn babies, I almost always shoot the session in the comfort of the client’s home. As long as they have windows and adequate light, then no problem getting the necessary natural lit shots that I like to get before moving on to the studio lighting set I like to do. Recently, I was on location shooting for a wonderful family, but I had very little light to work with. First, it was raining out and very overcast (in a dark nasty way). Second, the windows I did have to work with were facing away from the daylight and direction of the sun (even if behind the clouds). The result of this? Very little light in the room making it a real challenge to pull off the shots that I like and my clients hire me to get! There just was not enough ambient light – unless…..
But not to worry! Here is where your professional instincts kick in and you start to pull out all the stops. For starters, one can easily mimic natural light if you have the right equipment. My solution? Using a large 28-inch softbox and off-camera lighting to mimic the size and softness of window light. In the first series of shots of Mr. Cole in his blanket, I did not have enough window light to pull off the shot, so I copied the look of natural light using my flash and softbox. With the second series of shots, I had the parents hold Cole in their arms in a rocking chair. The problem again was that the overall room was too dark. I could set my camera to get a fairly good exposure by the window on their right side, but there was too much detail lost in the shadows on the left side. Solution? I had one of the parents point a small video light into a translucent reflector providing just a little fill light to the left side of the face. This was just enough light to provide detail, but not disturb sleeping Cole. And in the final shots, I had mom hold Cole right up to the window to squeeze as much light as I could onto their faces, while dad held a reflector right behind them. It was a challenge, but the end result was the images looked the same as if it were sunny outside. I just had to raise the ambient levels in the room, and/or mimic window lighting
These measures are unusual, but happen with location photography. The biggest challenge is the fact that you never really know what set of circumstances you will be presented with, but you must be prepared for anything! There is never an excuse for not getting the shot, even when its raining!
So here is goes. I loved this shoot and these images really pop! Mother-Baby shots are always so much fun and these are some of my favorite of all time. Enjoy!