Whether you’re new to manual photography or a seasoned pro, a lack of light is something we all have to deal with, more regularly than we’d like to think about!
This month our featured session is a lifestyle newborn series, where Lauren Kennedy, graduate of our Enthusiast Photography Course, was faced with a very light challenged home. But rather than curl into the fetal position in a corner and rock, she embraced the situation as a learning opportunity.
The resulting images are a credit to her skills and her determination to create art regardless of the conditions. Lauren talks about the session and how she approached it, and offers some tips for anyone interested in lifestyle newborn photography.
“When my daughter Evie was born, it awoke the budding photographer within me as I now had a muse.
Before I had my son Harry 18 months later, my husband bought me my first DSLR and the following January (2015) I enrolled in the Click Love Grow Enthusiast Photography Course which was exactly what I needed to understand my camera. Doing the course was the kick start to being able to use my camera properly and the beginning of producing the work I strived toward.
I am at a stage now where I am really happy with the way I photograph children and newborns, but I’m working on really getting those special connections in my family photography, and hope to ultimately branch into weddings and couples.
I loved this session for it’s moody light. When photographing in home I am always looking for the “best” natural light, but sometimes it is great when you are forced into a situation where there isn’t a lot and you have to work with what you have.
Luckily for me, although this house had barely any natural light other than one set of French doors (all other windows were narrow and high), it had been recently renovated beautifully so I didn’t need to worry too much about what else was around or could be seen. The fact that the rest of the house was dark also helps to really focus and draw the viewers attention to my subject.
What’s more, it didn’t hurt that this was a super attractive couple and a gorgeous little bub!
Trying to keep my view narrow due to the lack of available light was challenging and forced me to think more about different angles, specifically high and low. In these images there was an open kitchen to one side of the French doors I was using and an open laundry to the other side.
I am always looking for new perspectives to try and there is nothing like being forced into a corner to produce them.
Baby Elke was very aware for most of the session. I’ve had a lot of wakeful babies lately, a sleeping one would be nice for a change! If she had been sleepier I may have had more options for capturing her on her own, however this is what I love about lifestyle sessions – no two are the same, and I don’t have to wait for a baby to fall asleep.
I have a canon 5D Mark iii and most of this session was shot with my Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4. As this session was so dark my ISO ranged from 640 right up to 2000 when in the bedroom, with the majority shot at around 1000 ISO.
They are grainier than I like to provide but I have definitely come to embrace the grain and make it work for me in my editing style. My aperture was usually around f/2 to f/2.8 and shutter speed 250 which is quite low for a client session but as there were no older kids it was a safe gamble I took. Normally I would like my shutter to be 320 or more (unless I am going for smooth movement) but I was very conscious of grain.
My tips for photographing a newborn in a lifestyle manner is firstly don’t get flustered, there is always something to capture. If you get flustered the baby and parents will all feel it and then become on edge as well. Even if the baby is unsettled there are plenty of tender moments to capture of the parents calming her.
My general advice for anyone learning photography is to just keep shooting, whether it is your kids, pets, landscapes, daily life, client work, just practice. The more I shoot the closer I get to finding my style (as much as you can anyway as it is an ever evolving process).
Also, never be afraid to try something new, it is the only way to learn, and there is ALWAYS something to learn whether it be a technical camera setting, posing, or creating connections to capture.”.
If you’re ready to learn the skills it takes to capture photos like this, you can read all about our photography courses over here.