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  • Writer's pictureMadhu Niranjan

How to use the right light for child photography

Child photography is one of the most special yet daunting tasks for any photographer. These little ones have no idea about anything around them. Therefore getting one good picture with a beautiful background, good lighting and the perfect pose is not at all a piece of cake for anyone.

If we specifically speak about using the correct light for child photography then it goes without saying that lighting is the most important aspect of a photography session. Not just child photography but all.

Natural lighting

If we talk about child photography, natural sunlight is your way to go. Sunlight has a way of getting the nest pictures. So to take your child near any window and you have the power of the sun whenever and wherever. Try not to move your child to any area with too much direct sunlight. This may create harsh shadows on your camera lens thus ruining the photo.

On camera Flash? A big no

Using direct flash is a no-no. It can cause pale shadows around your subject and cause red eyes. What may come as a great photo may now come only as an average. Yes, you can use direct flash in times of fill on or special effects.

On camera flash can also be good for you if you are clicking pictures in direct sunlight. This will help in decreasing the shadows that fall in the child's face. If you happen to know anything about bounced flash, then we recommend you to go with this. This flash will help in diffusing the extra light and help in creating subtle effects.

Softbox and reflectors

What we would recommend you to bring with you are softboxes and reflectors. They come in various shapes and sizes. You can carry one with you which suits your requirements the best. A box helps you in creating a subtle effect on your photo.

Indoor Baby photography

Now if we talk about indoor baby photography, we should avoid using a flash whenever possible. This is not only about how the photo would end up looking but the little creatures do not like flashy lights in their eyes. They might end up looking teary-eyed with uncomfortable expressions.

If it is possible, use a window or a place where there is natural light for better photos. Do not sit in direct sunlight as it may seem too harsh for the photos.

Nothing ruins a great looking photo than red-eye. Fortunately most of the cameras today are advanced and have the red-eye reduction feature that will solve your problem for indoor baby photography. If and when there is no other way of avoiding the flash then make sure that you use your camera and light at a good angle.

Professional lighting

If you want to give your child professional photo studio lighting then we suggest you take these tips. Professional photographers have a lot of equipment with them. You don't have to buy any of these if you are trying to mimic this at home.

  • Use halogen or work desk lights as your source. They work the best when it comes to inexpensive equipment.

  • Whenever you place a lighting source, place it on both sides to minimize the harsh shadows.

  • Have one light in the background also. Placing one light in the background will give your child an illuminating look. Make sure that the background light is lower than the front lights or it may cast shadows.

Location matters

Of course, your child is the most important facet of photography but choosing a good location is equally important. The background you choose for your baby photography also helps the results to be as you want.

  • Choose locations according to their texture, details and colour.

  • Choose a background that gives your photo a lot more detail

  • Outdoors are great when it comes to baby photography.

  • Of course, choosing an indoor location would be if the child is a newborn. You can add details like matching the colour of your location with the child's clothes to add a story to the photography.

Choose a suitable lens

Lights and poses only work when the lens and focal length are great. So the question here is, "What should be the focal length for child photography? "

There's no single great answer to this question. It all depends on the type of photo you want to capture. If you want to capture a wide shot, a 35mm focal length is perfect.

If you want to capture a close up shot, an 85mm lens is perfect.

Make sure your space is neutral

Make sure that the space you choose for your photography is neutral. The colours on the location should not be too vivid as they may cast an undesirable effect on the object.

Also, pay great attention to the clothes and accessories you wear. Neutral colours work best for the child and the parents if you decide to be in the frame with him or her.

Perfect angle? Work for it

If you want to get the perfect shot, being a photographer you would have to work on your poses as well. Do not be afraid to step forward, crawl or bend to get the best angle.

As a photographer, you must be ready to pose at different angles to find the best angle so that you can take care of the lighting or reflectors to avoid harsh shadows on the subject.

These are some of the best ways to use the right kind of lighting for your child photography. Of course, practice makes everything perfect. You may not get the best of photos in the starting but once you keep going, you get better and better.


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