Born again

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

1 Blan­kets and props

We want a con­tem­po­rary look for our baby pho­tos, and a big part of this is pick­ing the right colours and tex­tures for the back­drop. We used soft blan­kets, wraps and hats from babyprops.co.uk. A wrap or a hat can be a great way to add a splash of colour and tex­ture to your shots.

3 Di­rect the light

Win­dow light is ideal for new­born pho­tog­ra­phy – it’s soft and flat­ter­ing. Light di­rec­tion is vi­tal with any type of por­trai­ture, as it’s light that forms high­lights, and shad­ows that give depth to a sub­ject’s fea­tures. A sideon po­si­tion will cre­ate bits of high­light and shadow.

5 Stock cam­era set­tings

Here’s a good stock set­ting for win­dow-lit por­traits. Set Man­ual mode with a shut­ter speed of 1/200 sec and Auto ISO. The ISO will adapt as best it can to give a cor­rect ex­po­sure. Set the aper­ture to a wide set­ting of about f/3.5. Any­thing wider might be too shal­low.

2 Check the set­tings

Time is usu­ally lim­ited – ba­bies need feed­ing, par­ents are tired and there’s al­ways the threat of a nappy change. So it pays to get your setup sorted be­fore bring­ing the baby in. Use a toy that’s roughly the same size to check your light­ing, back­drop and cam­era set­tings are spot-on.

4 Bounce with a re­flec­tor

A sim­ple re­flec­tor is use­ful when shoot­ing with nat­u­ral light from a win­dow. Held op­po­site the win­dow, the re­flec­tor lets us bounce light back into shad­ows, which evens out con­trast for soft light­ing. If your re­flec­tor has dif­fer­ent coloured sur­faces, white or sil­ver are best here.

6 Good lens choices

A lens with a wide max­i­mum aper­ture is cru­cial if you’re look­ing for that shal­low-fo­cus and soft-back­drop look. Prime lenses are a good choice for this: they usu­ally of­fer wide aper­tures and ex­cel­lent op­tics. We used a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and a 105mm f/2.8 macro in this in­stance.

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