2 Lighting Tips for Perfect Skin | Transcription
Those that have had children or worked with newborns know that their skin is far from perfect. It can be overly yellow and jaundiced. It can have baby markings, dry skin, baby acne and so forth. How do you achieve that perfect newborn skin that you see in professional newborn photography? There are two primary techniques to achieving perfect newborn skin. The first technique is in regards to the lighting techniques used. When it comes to lighting, the smaller the light source in relation to the subject, the more defined the detail and the shadows will become the harder the light. This is why the sun creates such a harsh type of light and shadow. While the sun is physically a massive object, in relation to us it’s actually a tiny little pinpoint light source in the sky.
It’s a very powerful light source but it’s a very small light source in relation to us. Therefore it creates a very hard, high contrast light type which really reveals details instead of concealing them. It’s very not flattering. On the flipside, the larger the light source in relation to the subject, the more soft the detail and shadows will become. When we are using something like a window as our primary light source, the size of the window in relation to our subject is absolutely huge. Thus, the light is very soft, it’s low in contrast and this type of light is going to soften the details on the skin. It’s going to create very subtle shadows and it’s absolutely perfect for newborn photography or portraiture in general.
Oftentimes photographers will mimic the look of window light by using studio strobes with large light modifiers such as a soft box or parabolic umbrella or so forth. The safety of using flash lighting with newborns is something that is hotly debated. Some people feel like it’s too powerful for the baby’s sensitive eyes. Some people feel like as long as the modifiers used are large and the light settings are low, it’s not going to have any effect. Really that’s something that we get to completely avoid since we’re going to get all of our wonderful soft light simply by using natural window light. It’s also going to be much, much easier.
Now moving onto second technique in creating perfect skin in our newborn photos, is in the post-production side of things. Through our creative raw processing techniques in Lightroom, through brush and layering techniques and Photoshop, we can take these already soft and wonderfully lit newborn portraits another step forward.