I’ve been photographing newborn babies since 2012 and always using natural light. I used natural light for several reasons. First, it is free. Other than simple light diffusers like a sheer panel for the window and sometimes a reflector, there is nothing more to buy. No expensive lights and triggers, soft boxes and stands. Secondly, I didn’t know HOW to use studio light. It seemed like a daunting thing to learn and when done wrong, photos can look pretty awful. So, instead of learning it, I decided that I liked the look of “natural” light better. It was well, “natural”. Finally, since I photographed my newborns on-location, I had less to pack along.
As I continued on my photography journey and became more experienced, studied, and confident, I was yearning to learn new things. I studied film photography (what fun), film-making (not to be confused with the former, this is making artful “family movies”,) and studio light. I learned that when done properly, studio light simulated natural light. After all, light is light, right?
Natural light newborn photography can be quite challenging sometimes. You cannot control the weather and somedays the light is better than others. Every home had varying qualities of light. Some homes have terrific natural light while others, not so much. You have to make the best out of whatever situation you find and sometimes that meant shooting with really high ISOs. For those reading who are not photographers, the higher the ISO, the more the grain (textured, speckled quality you see in photos when enlarged).
To ensure consistency from session to session and the very best quality of photos at every session, I decided to take the plunge into studio light for my posed newborn work. I purchased an AB400 and Westcott 50/50 soft box (industry standards). I bought some nifty triggers. I set up my home-studio and took some test shots with a creepy doll.
Most importantly, I reached out to my friend Tori Gansen Photography who is a phenomenal newborn studio photographer in Ft. Myers, FL. She was really helpful in reviewing my test shots and giving me critique for light and baby placement.
I was now ready for a real baby. Even though I am a seasoned newborn photographer, I didn’t think it was ethical to charge for my first time using studio light. I thought it would be a great opportunity for a local mom to get beautiful newborn photos for free and for me to get some practice. I put out a model call and it was answered by a cute little family with a beautiful new baby girl.
After lots of study and my friend Tori’s awesome tips, it went off without a hitch. Here are some of my favorites from my first studio session.
Carrie Howland Photography is located in Huntersville, NC and serves the greater Charlotte, NC area. Carrie offers both in-home and studio sessions. In-home sessions may be lifestyle, or posed (with studio light) or a combination (most popular). Studio sessions take place in Huntersville, NC.