Skip to content

Shoot: Miller Family & Their New Plus One

July 1, 2011

Shoot: Miller Family & Their New Plus One

Had quite some time with the Miller family and their newborn baby the other day! It was my very first newborn shoot, so prior I was excited and a bit frightened at the same time. But hey, how bad could it be right? The baby’s only couple weeks old, so it’ll be deep asleep the entire time and he’s so small I’ll even be able to use my small maneuverable softbox to get nice soft lighting on the little guy without having to lug out the big guns. Well…only the latter turned to be true. The baby was wide awake and he didn’t particularly take to the bright flashes!!

I was a bit thrown off guard, but the newly founded parent duo did fantastic job calming him down each time, and we were able to create some great images!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The Style:

When discussing the session with the new parents a few days in advanced, they expressed that they wanted to create very fundamental black and white images that focused only on the subjects. No props, effects, nor babies dressed in sunflower costumes. Just the parents and the baby. The request suited me just fine, because I didn’t have any repertoire of props to pull anything elaborate, and this style was more similar to the type of photography I’ve been doing.

The challenge however, was that they lived out of town and I would have to do the shoot in their homes. I wasn’t about to have them drive all the distance with their newborn baby, so I had to devise a portable and effective lighting scheme that could fit within the confines of their living room.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Light Spill:

The biggest challenge to creating a full body shot with a black background is “light spill”. You could try lighting your subjects with your flash and umbrella, but you’ll find that all your light will somehow bounce it’s way over to your background, casting unwanted light.

I immediately tossed the umbrella idea (I rarely use umbrellas anymore unless I’m shooting outdoor) and looked to my softbox. I had a large softbox from Paul C. Buff, and in conjunction with a grid I was able to substantially reduce the light spill by narrowing the beam of light and focusing it only on the subjects.

So what happens when you narrow the beam of light, put it right next to you and light your subject? Well, the light beam is narrowed, but you have the background right in it’s path behind the subjects and the purpose of the grid is essentially mitigated. The light was instead directed from the side, cutting across the frame. The subjects were turned slightly towards the light so their faces were lit evenly.

That however wasn’t enough to prevent the light from spilling onto the background. So I decided to create a barrier that will shut all light onto the background, with just a small slit just wide enough for the subjects. In this case I used two segments of black shower curtains. As you can see in the diagram, the light from the flash never reaches the patch of black that is directly behind the subject in the line of sight of the camera. Hence the pitch black background is achieved!

The close-up shots on the other hand were very easy to achieve pitch black background. I placed my flash with a Lumiquest LTP very close, boomed above the subject and let the inverse relations characteristic of light work it’s magic!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Overall:

Although I had to toss out a lot of ideas that I had (Assuming a sleeping baby), I was pretty happy with some of the shots that I was able to get.

I wasn’t sure how sensitive baby’s eyes are to flashes, but I was trying to work with the lowest power settings possible. I was at ~ISO400 to compensate majority of the time, but since I was working B&W I figured it would be alright (EOS7D is pretty good at ISO400 anyways).

Oh, and he liked to stick his tongue out a lot ; )

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: