Do you think its best to photograph with studio or natural light for newborn photography?
In my humble opinion?
Both! Both of them are super useful skills to have. I think, if you can, it’s great to become familiar with photographing a newborn in natural light and in studio light.
The trick is getting studio light to look like natural light. The setup I have does a pretty fantastic job of replicating natural light. More on my setup further down the post.
For this session here, did I use studio light or natural light?
Both! Of course.
The photos in this blog post are from a recent newborn mini session I did at my studio in Salem, Oregon.
All of the images photographed on the white drop are natural light and the images on the gray drop are studio light.
Could you tell the difference? Hopefully not, or at least…hopefully not by much!
I love natural light. I think I will always find it a bit superior to studio light. It is soft and beautiful, but sometimes it can be frustratingly inconsistent.
Gray overcast days in the winter are my favorite days to photograph with natual light. Bright blue hot mornings in the summer are my least favorite. Time to pull out the studio light!
What about those days in the winter when it’s SO dark and stormy outside there isn’t enough natural light to work with? Time to pull out the studio light.
Need to move the session through super fast? Have a set up ready to go at the studio light, and one ready to go at the window.
You need both so you can be agile and versatile, adapting to any lighting situation you might be faced with. You need both so you can deliver a newborn session to your client filled with softly and beautifully lit newborn portraits no matter what the natural light is doing that day. You should aim to move smoothly between the two.
I certainly have a preference to photograph with natural light but I’m so thankful I know how to move over to the studio light if I feel like it will result in a better image than the current natural light situation.
For studio lighting, I have an Einstein 640 light mounted onto a column stand with a black cover 84″ PLM and a white diffusion cover. I’ve linked to the products here to get my exact setup:
In the main room that I photograph in, I have both a west facing and a south-facing window. I typically use my large west facing window when I’m using natural light. Sometimes I use the south facing.
So let’s hear it in the comments section…would you have known this session was photographed with both studio and natural light if I hadn’t told you? If yes, what tipped you off? Talk to you soon!
with updates from katie
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