So you just received your new Christening gown for her or that perfect Christening outfit for him and before the ceremony you’re looking to capture some great pictures to remember how amazing they look!
What’s the first thing you need to do to make sure your getting the best shot? It’s not something you might first think of, but it is something you should be thinking about even before your gown arrives:
location – where am I going to take my pictures to get the best shot?
Most people would think to simply choose a nice spot in the house and go from there, while this is the first step, it does take a little planning and forethought which will lead to a much better image.
There are two options available to you – indoors and outdoors. Shooting outdoors is great and we will talk a bit more about that in a later post, but what if it’s cold, raining or just plain terrible outside? Time to make the best out of your situation, meaning shooting inside. Let’s take a look at what we can do to get those gorgeous indoor portraits your after.
Windows are your best friends!
The first thing you want to do is “seek the light”, in other words find the spot in your house that has the best light coming in, maybe it’s a large picture window or french doors. You will use this as your main source of lighting by positioning your baby either to the side of the light source or directly in front of it. You want to keep in mind what is behind your subject as well, so when deciding what side to shoot from, make sure you look behind as well to find the least distracting background possible and remove any clutter you can see looking through your camera, this is most important with side lighting because when you back light, the light will actually help serve as your background. Keep these tips in mind when shooting:
- Don’t over think it. Use your eyes to see how the light is falling, one of the advantages of this method is it’s “what you see is what you get”.
- Turn your flash off!
- Clean up the clutter and simplify your background.
- If you have any other lights on nearby, turn them off so you don’t get a mixture of lighting, let the natural light be the main star here.
- Experiment with positioning your baby, angle them differently to get the most flattering light, watch how the shadows change, try adjusting the distance from the window.
- Try to get the catch lights in their eyes, these are the little reflections of the light source that show in their eyes, this makes a huge difference. You can achieve this by having them look towards the window rather then away from it.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment, in this age of digital photography, the worst that can happen is you have to delete some images.
Bonus (advance) tips for those with DSLR’s:
- Shoot with the lowest ISO you can, but keep shutter speed in mind, so don’t be afraid to bump up your ISO to get the shot.
- Make sure your shutter speed is at least at 1/160th
- Try to shoot with the widest aperture you can – 2.8, 1.8 or if your lucky enough 1.4 – 1.2
- Watch your white balance.
Side Lighting vs Back Lighting
When you place your subject next to the light source (light coming from the side) you will have a nice broad even light. It helps to get your subject as close to the light as possible, don’t be afraid to move some furniture around or simply choose a nice chair and put it right next to the window or door. It also helps to angle your subject slightly towards the light to get a more even look. If you find the light is too harsh, meaning the difference between light and dark are extreme, you can always find a sheer table cloth or bed sheet (not too thick or heavy) and hang it in front of your window or door to help diffuse the light which will make the light coming in softer and more even. Remember to experiment!
This is when you put your baby in front of the window and their back is to the light. This creates a more dramatic look but can be difficult to shoot mainly because your camera is going to want to get the best shot and will try to compensate for all that light and your baby will most likely be very dark. Tricking, or forcing the camera to expose for your subjects face will vary depending on the capabilities of your camera, if you have a point and shoot type camera, you will have to experiment with the settings to try to get it to expose for the face and not the window. If you have a more advanced camera you will want to meter for the face – there are a couple of ways to do this:
- Use spot metering on just the face
- Get close with the camera in program mode and fill the whole frame with their face, see what the shutter speed and aperture settings are. Back up to frame how you want, put the camera in manual mode and use the settings you just noted.
Here are a couple of great photos sent in by one of our customers of her two daughters wearing the Clementine dress & bloomers. She used a great window in her house to back light her girls and you can see how great the pictures came out!
Hopefully these tips and techniques get you excited to try experimenting and shooting! I will be covering outdoor shots in another post, so keep an eye out for that.
If you have any comments or questions for me about anything covered here, feel free to comment below!