Most parents will want to capture the youth of their new-born baby or their young child, so baby/child photography is a very popular style of photography. When capturing these precious moments, you need to make sure that you are creating a high-quality and professional result. In this blog, we will take a look at what is required for this style of photography and offer some equipment suggestions that would be suitable for this.
Firstly, most parents will ask the same question, “Will the flash of the light hurt my child’s eyes?”. And having looked into this, we can say that flash lighting doesn’t cause any long-term damage to the eyes. Most flash lighting offer a colour temperature of 5500-5600K, which is similar to the light outside during everyday life. And as the lighting isn’t directly focused onto the subject’s eyes and the fact that the flash time is extremely short, the light isn’t able to cause long-term damage. We would suggest only subjecting babies and young children to small doses however, just to protect them from any side-effects from the continuous flashing. Photography equipment is still improving and getting better with each new release, so over time we will have more detailed and in-depth knowledge, and find ways to ease the flash in the eyes of younger subjects. Now, let’s take a look at what to do to capture the best shots.
Setting up the shot
As adults, we are better able to understand what is happening when we are having our picture taken and we know how to behave. With young children and babies, this is something new to them and they will be more difficult to control and keep in place during the shoot. When shooting with young children or babies, you must try and keep their attention focused. One way of doing this is to simply talk and communicate with them, to make sure that their attention is focused on you and the camera. Another option is to use an item to distract them and have this focus their attention, this will create a more natural look and style to the photography and will help to keep the subject calm and happy.
It also needs to be known that babies and young children very rarely stay still, and their body movements and facial expressions change in the blink of an eye. Therefore, for this style of photography, it is recommended to set a high shutter speed and enable any available continuous shooting mode, to make sure you can capture every possible movement and expression from your subject.
The best filming angles
For this style of photography, there are a few different angles to choose from to capture different styles. Firstly, you can position yourself slightly below the baby and have them placed on a platform of some sort. This angle is ideal for capturing the subjects face as it helps to proportional enlarge the facial features and better focus the portraits attention. Secondly, you can position yourself above the subject, which well help to create the effect of a smaller subject whilst emphasising the shape of the body and head, making this style ideal for capturing full body shots. Finally, you can shoot face-on and in-level with the subject. This is the easiest and safest option to choose from, and is the best choice for close-up photography.
Now, we shall have a look at what is your best option for different styles of baby/child photography. When it comes to babies, many parents will still worry about the effect of the flash lighting on their child, but will still want to have the best possible photo. In this case, it is possible to use a continuous lighting. This way you can still achieve a high-quality lighting, whilst being able to better adjust it to prevent upsetting the baby and being too strong for the baby.
One option we have available that would be suitable for this would be our LED100D MKIII. This light is a 100W Daylight balanced LED light, that offers brightness of up to 11,000 lux @1m (With Standard Reflector) which is the equivalent brightness of a 1K tungsten lamp, whilst only using approximately 10% of the energy. The LED100D MKIII is a mains powered light, but it is possible to use this with a V-Mount battery in order to take this onto location and to different shoots. It can have its power dimmed from 100% maximum down to 10% minimum, which is ideal for better suiting the power from your light to a new-born baby. As it offers a CRI and TLCI of 97+, this means that you can achieve an incredibly accurate colour representation in your subject and help to make your final shot more vibrant. The LED100D MKIII features a new and improved built-in cooling fan, which emits less than 18dB of noise during use, helping to reduce any unwanted disruptions during your shoot and help prevent upsetting the young subject.
In addition to the LED100D MKIII, we would recommend using our LENNO256S LED Panel for baby/child photography. The LENNO256W is a slim-profiled 40W Daylight-balanced LED Panel that offers a flicker-free lighting, perfect for having to shoot at a high shutter speed without the fear of introducing flicker. The LENNO256S Panel is flexible in design, meaning that it can be adjust and angle it many ways that normal lighting isn’t able to, great for making sure every aspect of the shoot is lit up. The Lightweight and flexible design means that it is ideal for shooting on location or when travelling to different locations, and the fact it can be powered by either mains power or Sony NP-F Series batteries further helps this point. The LENNO256S Panel features a smart-passive cooling system, which helps to dissipate heat in the unit without the need for cooling fans, making this panel noise-free. The user-friendly control panel is very easy to use and allows you to see the settings clearly, ideal if you find yourself on a shoot with an impatient baby who doesn’t want to sit still.
When it comes to young children over the age of one, you should now be able to use flash lighting safely without worrying the parents. The benefit of flash lighting is that it will create an overall better picture quality compared to using a continuous light source, whilst also being easier to produce a soft light. This helps to accurately represent the colours of the subject and better accentuate the skin tones in the subject.
One lighting option for this would be the STORM600 High-Speed Flash. The STORM600 uses Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) technology in order to achieve extremely short flash durations and ultra-fast recycle times, ideal for helping to capture the small and subtle movement caused by your young subject. As this light offers an adjustable 8-Stop Power Range from 1/1 full power to 1/128 power output, this can be adjusted and lowered to better suit the requirements of the subject. Each unit features a user-friendly interface, with a large LCD display screen, letting you see the settings quickly and easily to help adjust these to keep up with a restless child. The STORM600 features a built-in 2.4GHz receiver, making it compatible with the entire range of PiXAPRO Triggers, making it possible to adjust the settings for your light directly from the camera rather than the unit itself.
Another option you could use is our GIO1 Round Head Speedlite. This Speedlite offers an impressive power output of 76Ws and uses a Lithium-ion battery rather than standard AA batteries, allowing for up to 480 full powered shots without the worry of potential slowdown as the power diminishes. As this Speedlite offers a round-head compared to a rectangular head, it helps to create a smoother and more natural looking light fall-off, perfect for shooting portrait photography. The GIO1 features a 9-Stop power range, between 1/1 and 1/256 power output, allowing you to adjust this to better suit the subject and to prevent upsetting the subject with the over-powered flash. The lightweight and portable size of the GIO1 makes it the perfect piece of equipment for moving around and adjusting to match the motion and unsettled nature of a young child, letting you capture the best shots with losing necessary lighting.
Now that we have looked at the lighting options, we need to add some modifiers to these. Even if you adjust the light output down, it is still possible that the light being produced will be too harsh and hard for a baby or young child, so using a modifier will better soften the light and make it more comfortable for the subjects.
One of the most common modifiers available is a Softbox, and we have our 120cm Umbrella Softbox which would be ideal for this. The 120cm Umbrella Softbox attaches directly to the front of your lighting unit, and helps to reduce the spread and light intensity whilst helping to soften the light being produce. The octagonal shape of the Softbox helps to create a natural looking light with a gentle light fall-off, whilst also helping to reduce any sharp and unwanted shadows. Featuring an opening mechanism similar to an umbrella, this Softbox is incredibly simple to set-up and can be done in a matter of seconds, perfect for adjusting a busy shoot quickly and without issue. Each Softbox comes with two layers of diffusion to help soften the light and to give you more control on the lighting being produced, and the addition of the honeycomb grid creates a narrower spread of light by restricting the beam without the light spilling onto the background. This particular Softbox features an interchangeable Speedring fitting, allowing you to change the fitting to work with your lighting, making it compatible with a wide range of lighting brands. When not in used, this Softbox can be folded down and stored in the included carry bag, ideal for travelling between different locations or for storage when not in use.
Another modifier that would be suitable would be our 60cm 5-in-1 reflector. Due to the five different available colours, this reflector offers a wide range of different options to alter and modify the lighting from reducing contrast to warming skin tone to softening your light. The five different colours available with this reflector are Black, White, Silver, Gold, Translucent and each have their own use and offer their own modification to your lighting. When not in use, the collapsible reflector folds down to approximately 1/3rd of its size and can be stored in the included carry bag, perfect for use on location or simply for storing when not required.
When it comes to picking the best background for baby and child photography, the main rule is the simpler the background, the better. A simple background helps to bring the attention more to the subject and create a cleaner end product. Most parents want the photo to be incredibly cute and gentle, so light and soft colours would be the best choice for this style of photography.
For a suitable background, we would recommend our Black/White collapsible background. The white background can help to create a soft and gentle style for your baby/child photography, helping to accentuate the skin tones of the subject and draw attention to the subject. Featuring an extremely durable double-riveted frame and being made from the highest quality muslin cotton, this background is able to handle excessive use over an extended period of time, perfect when shooting adventurous young children. When not in use, this collapsible background can be folded down to approximately 1/3rd of its full size and fit neatly into the included carry bag, providing a practical and easy method for transporting between different locations and storing when not in use.
When it comes to shooting babies and young children, you need to be careful with your set-up and equipment to make the shoot as un-stressful and easy as possible. Having gone through this in this blog, hopefully you now have the knowledge to achieve high-quality and professional photography with ease.