Newborn sessions done in a client's home can seem a little tricky when it comes to lighting, due to the fact that we can't control where the light comes in, change the size of the home, or the direction in which the windows face. Simply put, we must work with what we've got. As a natural light lifestyle photographer, I don't use flashes or reflectors with my subjects, I only use the natural light that is available to me. Because of this, I need to understand how the natural lighting works for me, to enhance my subjects and create beautiful images without artificial enhancements.
Today, I'd like to show you how I use the lighting in a client's home in my newborn sessions.
1. SHOOT MID-MORNING TO EARLY AFTERNOON WHEN INDOOR LIGHTING IS BEST
3 to 4 hours after sunrise, the lighting indoors is even and creates a warm glow on your subjects. Even if it is gloomy outside, I still recommend shooting between 10am-2pm and cranking up your ISO when needed. There will be less shadows on your subjects and will allow for smooth even skin tone in your images. Newborns are typically less fussy in the morning as well.
2. USE AT LEAST ONE LARGE WINDOW THAT LETS IN THE MOST AMOUNT OF LIGHT
The size of the home should not affect whether or not you can produce beautiful in-home images for your client. One good window that lets in a decent amount of light, will work perfectly for capturing beautiful family images. In the images below, I had two windows I used-one in the living room, and one in the master bedroom. The living room had 2 other windows, so the lighting in there was much brighter naturally than the bedroom was with only one window. I had to increase my ISO significantly when we moved into the bedroom, but both locations in the home brought in beautiful lighting and allowed for the gallery to still look consistent.
3. USE BACKLIGHT, DIRECT LIGHT, OR SIDE LIGHT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Backlighting is where you place the light behind your subject. This creates a warm glow around their face. It's important to make sure your shutter speed is up and ISO is down, so that your camera doesn't let in too much light, as it's already faced directly towards the light.
Direct light is where you place your subjects in a position where the light is directly facing them. In these shots below, my clients are facing towards the window, allowing the light to shine directly on their faces. Their entire face is being illuminated and skin tone is even and soft.
Side lighting is where the light is coming onto my subjects from one side, and I am capturing them straight on. In these pictures below, the light is hitting my subjects from their left side. I'm shooting down on them or at a straight-on angle with the lighting to my right. You can see that the right side of them is fairly lit up, while the left is shadowed. I love the way the light hits and lights up their faces in this angle.
4. WORK YOUR ANGLES
Often when you are in a tight space, it can feel like you can't get a good shot of your subjects, but I love coming in close and getting detailed shots, especially of baby. Newborn sessions are all about snuggling together as a family, so small spaces work perfectly if that's all you've got to work with! Shooting from various angles provides creativity within the gallery and allows me to capture sweet interactions between the family members.
If you're a new mama looking to capture some sweet memories in the first few weeks' of your newborn's life, I would love to chat more about capturing your growing family!