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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Kids & Family Talk 
Thread started 08 Jan 2015 (Thursday) 08:38
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Newborn Photographers, need some insight

 
AlanU
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Jan 11, 2015 11:12 |  #16

I'd highly suggest looking at hundreds of baby photographer's websites and youtube.

You will need to find your style and the type of look you want. There is alot of baby photog's using brightly lit window light shooting in a studio or a living room etc. Then there's shooters that use primarily strobes shooting small apertures (f/8 to f/11) with heavy emphasis on props and cute outfits.

What you will find its baby photogs put alot of money in props, props, props and most importantly props. There will be alot baby girl photos with the us of subtle headbands to "in your face massive/loud" head bands. This is where some people dig this look or hate it.

Skills must be developed in handling the babies. This is probably 1 of the tough obstacles. Every single baby will sleep differently. Some may be forever light sleepers and some heavy sleepers after a bottle.

Be prepared to spend alot of money on props. This is where photog's must constantly change the backdrops, props, outfits to stay fresh when displaying a porfolio.

As you know we can only pose a human body in so many ways. This is where critical eyes requires alot of props to identify "something different" from session to session. Adults are different because big people, smaller people cannot always be posed identical from couple to couple. Babies on the otherhand can virtually be posed in an identical manner. This is where once hammer down the skills in posing the props and backdrop is your variables in changing the scene.

You are entering a niche field. Try to go to mini courses.

If you like the strobe look then that is something to consider. I fall more along the lines of softer shadows and use constant lighting or window light. Since newborn photography is basically woman dominated I've kinda dropped that type of shoot. I'll do family photos but kicked back on babies due to $$$$ investments in keeping up with the joneses in heavy prop usage.

http://www.amazon.ca …ht+Day+Light+CF​L+Bulbs%2C (external link)

there are other version with more lightbulbs. The more expensive version is made by Wescott spiderlite. The one I've listed will give you a taste of that type of light made overseas in China. They work well but not high quality like the wescott. Using constant lighting will be a tad harder on the camera because you maybe required to shoot in the higher iso region.

Using this type of light you can have "whatyouseeiswhatyouge​t" or "wysiwyg". Softer light but as long as the baby stays in one position you just snap away not to worry much about exposure because it will be consistent.

Please do more research before pulling the trigger on gear.


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Aki78
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Jan 11, 2015 11:42 |  #17

As others have said you'll need to practice a lot. Professional newborn photographers are focused on just that as there is that much to cover. While someone can learn the basics including having the necessary gear, handling the babies and getting the workflow done is not for an amateur.

And please don't take this personal by all means; I just don't want you to get discouraged only to realize after spending so much time and money to find out it's more work than what you actually make or enjoy. I've dipped my feet in the newborn area but I've never had an experience where there was so much involved not to mention the unexpected things that always happen with the babies.

With that said, practice will not hurt at all for your newborn :) One reason why you may want to consider artificial lighting is weather. If for any reason the first week of your newborn the weather is foul and you don't have adequate lighting then you're stuck bumping ISO or not having enough light. Even using a cheap $50 Yongnuo flash shot through white umbrella and a reflector on the other side can mimic all types of lighting. For less than $150 you can have such setup. To this day I use Yongnuo flash in my arsenal. Lighting alone is just a whole world of research but if we're talking JUST newborn photography it's not all that bad in selecting a decent setup. Again, it all depends on how much you spend, what you need, what you'll utilize the lighting for etc.

As far as the lens go, think long term if you enjoy photography. It is nice to have a prime lens. But what if you change your interest in areas of photography? A nice zoom lens would always be handy in that sense. Say Tamron 17-50 f2.8 is wide enough for landscapes but can also zoom in closer for portraits. 50mm f1.8 is a good starter prime lens but once you start shooting with other lens you'll quickly realize there's more potential. Since a newborn is tiny it may also wouldn't hurt to have 85mm f1.8 lens either if you can spare a room. Try it out with a doll. See others example and mimic a setup and lighting.

Props is another if you do ever get into this business, you're constantly looking for props. Buying and even making your own if you're crafty. I've built a moon prop for one shoot. Spent $100 just on a baby bean bag. Trip to JoAnn's and purchasing all sorts of fabrics. That's just the basics and if you want to get creative and stand out from the crowd, you really want different props not very many carry or that are custom.

But all this if I knew about newborn photography I would've loved to done so with my daughters. I just didn't know enough to have the right setup. You'll have plenty of time to learn & practice until then :)




  
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AlanU
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Jan 11, 2015 12:54 |  #18

Newborn photography is just as tight in competition as other photog fields.

Practice like mad. Most importantly you should see what is out there on the internet because this is a reference to what "clients" use.

The raw truth is every parent loves and adores their newborn. You have a tough job to make every single situation to improve terrible skin, blemishes etc. Baby acne is going to be another obstacle.

I'd suggest using natural light or available light for practice. If you want the ann Geddes look you'll need to hammer the newborn with strobes and primarily shoot small apertures.

Buying lighting gear is very costly. Research will be your best friend......


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Locon15
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Jan 11, 2015 17:49 as a reply to  @ AlanU's post |  #19

What is done about baby acne? I assumed that was handled in final edits.




  
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AlanU
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Jan 11, 2015 17:51 |  #20

Locon15 wrote in post #17377715 (external link)
What is done about baby acne? I assumed that was handled in final edits.

Patching using photoshop. That's your best friend :)


5Dmkiv |5Dmkiii | 24LmkII | 85 mkII L | | 16-35L mkII | 24-70 f/2.8L mkii| 70-200 f/2.8 ISL mkII| 600EX-RT x2 | 580 EX II x2 | Einstein's
Fuji - gone
Sony 2 x A7iii w/ Sigma MC-11 adapter | GM16-35 f/2.8 | Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 | GM70-200 f/2.8 |Sigma Art 24 f/1.4 | Sigma ART 35 f/1.2 | FE85 f/1.8 | Sigma ART 105 f/1.4 | Godox V860iiS & V1S

  
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Locon15
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Jan 12, 2015 07:23 as a reply to  @ AlanU's post |  #21

Good to know.

I am still learning LR right now and then once I have that down I will be moving onto learning PS.




  
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AlanU
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Post edited over 4 years ago by AlanU.
     
Jan 12, 2015 11:57 |  #22

LR is extremely easy to navigate. Take a look at the tutorials online.

As for your photography you must take extreme care in angles and lighting. IMO if you buy constant lighting this will help you alot in concentrating on composition rather than lighting. The light is constant so this will help keeping things consistent. If you do not execute flash/strobe work properly it can look horrible and cannot be recovered easily. Constant lights will be more pleasing with less contrasty shadows.

IMAGE: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7519/15986722847_9bb30f2a6f_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/qmG8​Jx  (external link) IMG_0645_PSa (external link) by Alan Uyeno (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7540/16153801086_790b2d214c_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/qBss​gQ  (external link) IMG_2850pp (external link) by Alan Uyeno (external link), on Flickr

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IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/qDR3​Pg  (external link) IMG_5815 (external link) by Alan Uyeno (external link), on Flickr


The last one is strobe work. This is the look I wanted to create. I give 2 options during a session which is probably not ideal for me. Mind you I do not concentrate my photography on this type of work. I have 3 daughters and care for them since day one. I just would rather do run/gun photography, portraits and family sessions.

All I will say is keep things fresh in posing. Newborn work can be extremely tough because of the potential of "looking the same" as everyone else. If you look through the net you will know exactly what i am talking about. I admire some newborn photogs due to their efforts in keeping things a tad different from the rest. As far as business is concerned if you have a signature 'look" people will buy it and thats what counts.

You must determine with your "inner style" what kind of photos you want to do :)

5Dmkiv |5Dmkiii | 24LmkII | 85 mkII L | | 16-35L mkII | 24-70 f/2.8L mkii| 70-200 f/2.8 ISL mkII| 600EX-RT x2 | 580 EX II x2 | Einstein's
Fuji - gone
Sony 2 x A7iii w/ Sigma MC-11 adapter | GM16-35 f/2.8 | Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 | GM70-200 f/2.8 |Sigma Art 24 f/1.4 | Sigma ART 35 f/1.2 | FE85 f/1.8 | Sigma ART 105 f/1.4 | Godox V860iiS & V1S

  
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Locon15
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Jan 12, 2015 16:01 as a reply to  @ AlanU's post |  #23

Thank you so much. That is a really good point I hadn't thought of. Do you have some recommendations on constant lighting? And are they easy to fold up and store? I did look at some, they are rather large and I couldn't tell how easily I could store them. I am not working with a ton of space right now so that is a big concern.

I was planning on getting a speed light, for now, to play around with. Is that a waste? Would it be best to just apply the money towards constant lighting?

I understand what you mean about the newborn photographers all being the same. I have been giving that some thought and have been choosing items as far as back drops etc. on what I like. What I think my style is and not what I see on the internet. Hopefully that will help and I will be somewhat different.




  
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ksbal
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Jan 12, 2015 17:14 |  #24

If you are starting from the ground up - then practice on anything and everything. A good speedlight is never a waste, and learning how to use it properly can save your butt when conditions or other gear lets you down.

Good quality constant light sources are very expensive, and anything you see by cowboy studio and others that is on the cheap is probably not going to get you where you want to go (I speak from experience and a $149 constant light kit that has long been dismantled) If you want constant light, then learning about natural light along with flash is the way to start.

For me, it is an organic process, I had to practice my butt off to learn how to tell each piece of equipment what I wanted it to do and when - learn composition, learn to see light, learn editing, learn exposure - white balance etc.. etc... currently I'm now diving into photoshop, different colorspaces the whole printing end of things. Lots and lots of skills to master, the more you know, the more you need to learn.


Godox/Flashpoint r2 system, plus some canon stuff.

  
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Savethemoment
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Jan 12, 2015 17:20 |  #25

ksbal wrote in post #17379455 (external link)
For me, it is an organic process, I had to practice my butt off to learn how to tell each piece of equipment what I wanted it to do and when - learn composition, learn to see light, learn editing, learn exposure - white balance etc.. etc... currently I'm now diving into photoshop, different colorspaces the whole printing end of things. Lots and lots of skills to master, the more you know, the more you need to learn.

I think this is a spot on description of what's involved in learning photography generally, or any particular genre of it.

In my experience, photographing babies is much more difficult than one might expect!


Always learning
Always looking for the good light

  
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Locon15
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Jan 12, 2015 17:59 as a reply to  @ ksbal's post |  #26

Ok, I'm getting so much different recommendations here. Speed light. Simple umbrella set up to start. Constant lighting. I'm confused where I should start now.

This is where I stand in my progress. I made the switch to manual about two months ago. I practice on my children mostly and we are stuck in the house the majority of time thanks to winter.

I have WB down. I understnad exposure and am gettin much better at proper exposure. I understand aperture but need a lot more experience with it. It's been a bit limited due to lighting. If I go above 5.8 I have to really raise my ISO and then I do not like the results. I understand ISO. And I'm pretty good in lightroom. I use it often, have an editing style I suppose and am just going to finish reading the scott kelby book for it before moving onto photoshop.

Where I am stuck right now is lighting. Now that I have made some progress I can see what is wrong with my lighting but don't really know how to fix it.

First of all, I'm never shooting during the golden hour. Why? Because I'm sleeping in the morning opportunity, as are my little ones and by evening it's dinner and bath time. So my lighting during the day is boring. It's flat. It takes all the vibrance out of my subject. It's cool looking and I can't seem to add any warmth to it.

So what is next? So many different suggestions on where to start with lighting has me more confused then before posting here.

Perhaps starting with the speedlight is a good place for me to begin. Followed by getting the trigger and shoot through umbrella with stand as the first commenter suggested?




  
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AlanU
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Post edited over 4 years ago by AlanU.
     
Jan 12, 2015 18:55 |  #27

I think you must find yourself. You will get a lot of recommendations depending on the "type" of preference the photographer has in lighting.

If you like natural gradation's of shadows natural light is the light for you. If you like that "flash/strobe" look then use strobes in your studio environment.

What I do find is that constant CFL lighting is somewhat in between the two types of lighting. Also this type of lighting is exactly what you will document with your camera. For single subject matter this is something to consider for baby/small children. This is where you DO NOT need to rely on the type of day your shooting in because it's CFL bulbs. The cowboystudio product is inexpensive but will be something to use for an introductory learning tool. If you want to spend the bucks I mentioned the wescott spiderlite that is definitely high quality but massively more expensive than the cowboystudio stuff. For my limited use the cheap cowboy lights actually "works" but if I was real serious I'd buy more higher quality gear.

Ksbal, is not far from the truth. However my discussion is based on newborn photography/maybe small children. This world of photography uses every aspect from strobe, natural and constant lighting. I think there's probably a tad more swaying towards natural light for newborns. For studio environments this is where you must learn the light and the intensity of light would remain more of a constant using strobe or constant light. Natural can shift due to clouds, time and which way your window faces. For Newborn photography I dont know or think its a common workflow to shoot natural light with speedlite on camera or used as key/fill light. Seems it's usually "all natural" or the other type of lighting is the dominant source.

Ask yourself...do you like the "flash look"??? "natural light"???

Here's a photo using constant lighting from my 9 socket setup (I do not use this frequently because I put less emphasis on that world of newborn photography). As you can see its more "organic" compared to the cleaner look of the photo below.......

http://www.inspironpho​to.com …&cPath=6_7&prod​ucts_id=51 (external link)

IMAGE: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8599/16267711425_75b320f184_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/qMwg​Rc  (external link) IMG_7019 (external link) by Alan Uyeno (external link), on Flickr

A tad more organic than strobe flash work. I will use my strobes for white vinly work usually but otherwise I may just use CFL. I do prefer outdoor natural light outdoor shoots with fill flash.

I would say learning how to bounce flash for general photography is imperative. I'd at least start with a canon 430exii. TBH I dont have that much experience with 3rd party external hot shoe flashes besides canon.

Here's a photo using 3 Einstein strobes shot with white vinyl background. For this type of session I did the family with strobes. This is the look I wanted. Again it all depends on the look your after.

IMAGE: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7472/16160649976_da806ed8ae_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/qC4y​d9  (external link) IMG_3274pp (external link) by Alan Uyeno (external link), on Flickr

Just remember that you must have a very solid ground before diving into newborn photography. It throws more curveballs than shooting family sessions. 2nd camera and lenses are also essential for "business sakes".

5Dmkiv |5Dmkiii | 24LmkII | 85 mkII L | | 16-35L mkII | 24-70 f/2.8L mkii| 70-200 f/2.8 ISL mkII| 600EX-RT x2 | 580 EX II x2 | Einstein's
Fuji - gone
Sony 2 x A7iii w/ Sigma MC-11 adapter | GM16-35 f/2.8 | Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 | GM70-200 f/2.8 |Sigma Art 24 f/1.4 | Sigma ART 35 f/1.2 | FE85 f/1.8 | Sigma ART 105 f/1.4 | Godox V860iiS & V1S

  
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Locon15
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Jan 12, 2015 19:07 as a reply to  @ AlanU's post |  #28

Thank you for explaining that.

I prefer natural light, but like you say, you can't always rely on that. In the future I plan on setting up a studio, indoors. So I will need lighting for that.

I think based on all this information, I will start with the speedlight. I was looking at the yongnuo but I will compare with canons version as well.

Any tips on how to determine which speedlight will be faster? I did read some reviews on the yongnuo that suggested it can sometimes take a while in between and that concerns me. I don't want to miss an opportunity while I wait for the flash to be ready.




  
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ksbal
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Post edited over 4 years ago by ksbal. (2 edits in all)
     
Jan 15, 2015 17:25 |  #29

Interesting.. I tend to bounce my flash off white ceilings/walls when working inside with 8ft ceilings. Babies/toddlers can be 'flat lit' and it's a dandy looking photo, and to be honest, they move so much and can't be directed, so a rather flat lighting set up is probably the way to go. If you want to have flash look like window light, have a really big soft box/umbrella that isn't right up tight to them, and then have a bounce flash adding to the fill and adjust them to taste.

Done properly, flash can look exactly like ambient/natural light. it does take skill and experience and the right equipment, but it can be done. It doesn't have to be that expensive, either.

If you want fast recycle time, then the only way to go is strobe - an inexpensive strobe will be much faster than even an expensive flash... 4 AA batteries can only do so much, I think there is a flash from YN that has a lithium battery, but you have to watch your self or you can overheat and shut them down- true for any flash worth the money.

Flashes are portable, and you can get one pretty darn cheap, I have one with ettl and hss that only cost $70 off amazon, but you have trade offs, (QC isn't great, and 1 in 10 are duds) I think a good ettl YN flash is in the $170 range, and a canon is $200 used (430exII) and more for new.

But when you figure a 400w Alien Bee is in the $220 range, then that may be the direction you want to head instead, particularly if you are going to be inside most of the time.
http://www.paulcbuff.c​om/b400.php (external link)

I don't know that we can come up with the correct answer for you, only show you some options and do your homework and figure out what will work for your situation. Lots of ways to put a kit together that will work just fine.

You might want to check out some of the stickies in the Small Flash and Studio Lighting section - I think there are several covering what you want to start out with.


Godox/Flashpoint r2 system, plus some canon stuff.

  
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Locon15
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Jan 15, 2015 17:33 as a reply to  @ ksbal's post |  #30

I was about to buy this speed light just now, since I have received recommendations on this one but the reviews really don't seem that great to me!

After reading the first page of reviews I am having a hard time pulling the trigger.

http://www.amazon.com …/B00DA8459G/ref​=pd_cp_p_3 (external link)




  
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