Light Bath

portrait photo of baby by paul ottaviano

My home photography studio, while on the small side, has the benefit of tremendous window light. During the day, even if overcast, it fills a white room with enough continuous natural light that your standard main and fill artificial lights are not always needed.

In the case of the above photo, her parents did not have specific requests and just wanted good portraits of their baby girl. I thought that lighting for her needed to be soft and shadows soft as well, if really noticeable at all. What I wanted was an all-around soft continuous light, both natural and artificial. This way, I could shoot at wide apertures and fast shutter speeds but still avoid, in my opinion, a flat image. Her skin would look soft, but image sharpness would be retained.

I decided to use 90 degree window light in overcast conditions, a soft main light with an umbrella at 45 degrees, a soft fill light with umbrella in the standard position next to me, and a silver reflector functioning as a 45 degree rear accent light. What I wanted was a “bath of light” that both softened her skin, but also avoided too much shadow while a hint of it remained. There would be texture and smoothness. If you look at the catchlights in her eyes, you can see the multiple light sources.

I think it works.

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